Chris Kelly (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Boston’s Chris Kelly suffered a broken left femur that will keep him on the shelf for six to eight months. If the Bruins make the playoffs, Kelly could be back, but it’s unlikely he suits up for Boston again in 2015-16. Kelly, 34, will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
In Tuesday’s game, Kelly went down with a freak injury, which the Bruins said is a fractured left femur, an injury that will keep the left winger sidelined anywhere for six to eight months.
The injury happened less than two minutes into the game when Kelly fell after making a play to strip Dallas Stars right winger Colton Sceviour of the puck. While Kelly was falling to the ice, his left ankle bent awkwardly underneath the weight of his body and he immediately grabbed at his left knee:
As NESN commentator Jack Edwards points out, the expression on Kelly’s face tells the whole story. Kelly is wincing in pain as soon as he goes down, and it’s Dallas’ Vernon Fiddler who motions to the Boston bench to get the Bruins’ training staff on the ice to take a look at Kelly. Even the Stars staff hops over the boards to lend a hand.
Kelly remained on the ice for five minutes before being helped off the ice by the Bruins’ training staff. Kelly made his way to the dressing room with their help, and the Bruins announced that he was taken to hospital and will have surgery Wednesday.
“We will miss him, that’s for sure,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara told media post-game. “He’s such a valuable player and such a great guy to have in the locker room…These things don’t happen very often, obviously, in hockey and when they do it’s – you saw he was in huge pain and it’s tough to see your friend and your teammate on the ice.”
Likely the only chance Kelly has at returning this season is if the Bruins have a deep post-season run, but even a return at that point is questionable at best.
The 34-year-old Kelly had two goals in 11 games this season and was a big part of the Bruins’ penalty kill, where he averaged 2:23 per game this season. One of Kelly’s two goals came shorthanded.
What impact this has on Kelly going forward is to be seen, too. An alternate captain with the Bruins since 2011-12, he is in the final year of a four-year, $12-million deal with Boston. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and hasn’t eclipsed the 10-goal mark since 2011-12.