They’ll have to wait a little over two more weeks to give it to him, but there’s an ovation waiting for Jarred Tinordi at TD Garden as soon as Bruins fans are allowed in the building.
Tinordi didn’t have to wait long to prove himself. He’s barely been in Boston enough time to recognize all of his teammates when they don’t have numbers on their jerseys. But after two games wearing black and gold, the second-generation NHL player clearly fits with the Bruins.
Late in the first period Friday, Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo was on the receiving end of a shoulder to the head hit from Tom Wilson, whose reputation for cheap shots and dirty hits is well earned.
Carlo is 6-foot-5. It’s hard to slam the head of a guy that tall to the boards unintentionally. Wilson appeared to lean up to get to Carlo’s head. Carlo had to be helped to his feet and was taken to the hospital. The Bruins won, 5-1.
Tinordi’s first practice with Boston was last Tuesday. He said one of his first impressions of the Bruins was how much the players were devoted to playing for each other. He wanted to be part of that. So early in the second period, Tinordi went looking for Wilson.
“You can’t have guys taking liberties with our players out there,” Tinordi said. “That’s the way I’ve always played. That’s the way a lot of guys on the team play. I thought it was a little bit of a cheap shot. Our guy goes down and we responded in a big way.”
The Bruins claimed Tinordi off waivers mostly because their defense has been decimated by injuries. Tinordi gave them a chance to insert a veteran instead of calling up an unproven rookie.
Lots of guys might have the heart to stick up for their teammate but aren’t in the weight class to take on the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Wilson. At 6-foot-6, 206-pounds, Tinordi is a heavyweight.
Tinordi showed a pretty good wheeling right hook that landed a few times and absorbed a couple of Wilson jabs that bloodied his mouth a bit. As the referees ended the bout and escorted both combatants to separate penalty boxes, the Bruins players stick-tapped approval to their new teammate. When Patrice Bergeron scored to put Boston up 3-0 with Tinordi serving his penalty, the captain skated by and pointed his stick approvingly to Tinordi in the box.
“From the second he got here he’s been a great teammate,” Brad Marchand said. “He’s tough and he’s willing to stick up for his teammates. He showed that tonight. That was the turning point in the game.”
Wilson faces discipline
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Saturday that Wilson has been asked to participate in a hearing via Zoom at a time still to be determined. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings have been held by phone, and ESPN said the offer for a face-to-face hearing indicated Wilson could be looking at a suspension of six or more games.
The Bruins had not updated Carlo’s condition as of Saturday morning.