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Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) collides with Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler (17) during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 4, 2011.

BEN NELMS/Reuters

The Stanley Cup playoffs have yet to begin and a concussion has already claimed one victim.

The Boston Bruins announced Wednesday morning that centre Nathan Horton will not play this postseason due to a serious head injury that's kept him out since mid-January.

Horton hadn't been having a great season in Boston, but he's obviously still a significant loss after being a big part of their Cup win a year ago. He had 17 points in 21 games during that run while playing more minutes than all but three other Bruins forwards.

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Horton also suffered a serious concussion in Game 3 of the Cup final a year ago on a late hit by Vancouver Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome, so the worry is he may have suffered too many blows to the head in a short period of time.

"We've made the determination to shut him down for the remainder of the playoffs," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told ESPN on Wednesday. "We felt that it wasn't in the long-term interest of Nathan to be having this specter hanging over him of trying to come back during this playoff season.

"He made one step forward and two steps back. We just made the determination upon consultation with our doctors, with Nathan, that it would be prudent to shut him down. He'll continue to rehab for next year."

The Bruins have already lost Marc Savard to concussions, as he continues to experience symptoms and is essentially retired at age 34.



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The good news from a hockey perspective is that Boston remains one of the deeper teams in the league, with the rise of Tyler Seguin helping offset some of what Horton gave them.

Their record since Horton went down, however, hasn't been great, at just 18-16-2. Boston opens its first round series on Thursday at home against the Washington Capitals, a team with injury issues of their own.

According to the Boston Globe, these will be the Bruins forward lines to start the playoffs:

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Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Rich Peverley Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Joe McDonald has more on Horton here.

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