Ryan: A stark reminder of brutal reality of pro hockey – and the ‘humanity’ that unites those on the ice

(Getty Images)

It looked like one of the many hits that one sees over the grueling course of a hockey game. 

As David Backes collided with an Ottawa Senators skater near the Bruins blue line, the play continued. Dylan DeMelo corralled the puck that Backes had lofted into Ottawa’s zone and spun on a dime. 

The Sens defenseman was looking for an outlet to feed the biscuit back up into the neutral zone, but a whistle stopped him dead in his tracks.

The on-ice official’s blaring signal halted play — and signaled a cascade of silence that swept over TD Garden in one large swoop on Saturday night. 

What was a raucous barn just two minutes earlier after David Pastrnak lit the lamp felt more like a Sunday service — with hushed whispers from the crowd serving as faint echos that someone carried in the massive building. 

"It's a pretty lively building and I think you could see that everyone was shook up out there,” Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki said. 

Backes immediately waved for help — with both Bruins and Senators skaters quickly joining him. Backes dropped to his knee, looking for some sort of response from the other party in his on-ice collision. 

Scott Sabourin, a 27-year-old winger playing in just his 11th career game up in the NHL, was not moving.