History lesson time! Pyrrhus led a Greek kingdom named Epirus in the early 3rd century BC and was widely held as one of the greatest military minds of the Hellenistic Era. Only Alexander the Great (his ancestor) was placed ahead of him by Hannibal of Carthage. In the days of Rome's infancy, they were still attempting to control the Italian peninsula and were fighting with Greek colonies there. These Greek colonies turned to Pyrrhus for aid and he answered, sensing a chance to expand his own kingdom at the expense of the still vulnerable Rome. Pyrrhus invaded southern Italy (Tarentum) and fought the Romans twice, winning both battles. However, his victories were so costly in terms of manpower lost that he was quoted by Plutarch as saying:
If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.
So despite his forces winning the battles, they had lost the war and thus the term 'Pyrrhic Victory' was born. It is a case where the initial victory is so costly that defeat is all but assured in the long run and I fear that may be the case for the Bruins if Ward is lost to injury. With Boston's blueline already thinned by injuries to Hunwick and Ference the loss of Ward's steadying veteran presence and 19 minutes of ice time could prove devastating. He would be replaced by an AHL call-up (likely Johnny Boychuk) with minimal experience, thus increasing the already heavy workload on Chara, Wideman and Stuart. Not a good thing to say the least.
Or will his loss and the lack of punishment to Walker provide the spark Boston so desperately needed and propel them to a series victory? These Bruins have shown they thrive upon the physical game and play their best when they have been angered. Evidence of this can be found in the 5-1 domination of Dallas early this season (Ott was trying to end careers) and the destruction of Montreal after the closing fireworks to Game 1. So did this spark and the absurd punishment (apparently a punch hard enough to break the orbital bone is not considered a "reckless and forceful blow to the head" but Lucic's bump was) provide enough of a boost to the Bruins to overcome the potential absence or diminished role of Aaron Ward?
Who knows... it is anyones guess at this point in the series. Personally I am on the fence but I like to imagine Carolina players and fans muttering Admiral Yamamoto's (alleged) response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor...
I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.