Charlie McAvoy "dissapointed" to miss Game 1
When the Bruins and Hurricanes kick off their Eastern Conference Finals series in Boston Thursday night, the Bruins will be without defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
The Bruins playoff leader in ice time per game has been suspended one game by the Department of Player Safety for his illegal hit to the head of Blue Jackets’ forward Josh Anderson.
McAvoy was given a two-minute minor for the hit to the head. Thankfully, Anderson was not injured on the play.
“I tried to finish my check in a legal manner,” McAvoy said. “I was penalized two minutes and I served it. I just came back and tried to be an impactful player. Fortunately enough it was in a winning effort and happy we’re going on to the next round.”
The Bruins were indeed fortunate enough to walk out of Columbus with a victory in Game 6, allowing them to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. Had the Bruins lost Game 6, they would have been at a severe disadvantage playing a Game 7 without the services of McAvoy.
McAvoy leads all Bruins defensemen in goals against per 60 minutes, being on the ice for 1.32 goals per 60 minutes. Only Danton Heinen (0.7) and David Pastrnak (1.22) have been on the ice for less.
“I’m disappointed that I won’t be playing in Game 1. I’d love to be out there. But I have complete faith in this team to go out and play our game in Game 1. I respect the process and I respect their decision. It was tough. I was just trying to make a hockey play and it was unfortunate that it happened that way,” McAvoy said Wednesday.
“I have to serve it. I’m looking forward to using this extra time to put myself in the best position to go for Game 2. It’s an opportunity for me to rest some bumps and bruises, and mentally reset to get ready. Once Game 2 comes around, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be ready to go.”
With McAvoy out for Game 1, the Bruins will look to their defensive depth to fill the void left by McAvoy. With both Steven Kampfer and John Moore available, it appears Kampfer will reenter the lineup in Game 1.
We have not seen John Moore since Game 7 against Toronto. The veteran defenseman was labeled as day-to-day for the entire Blue Jackets series with an upper-body injury. Moore has been cleared for contact and has been skating the last few days.
“Yeah. John’s available,” general manager Don Sweeney said Tuesday while holding his pre-series press conference. “He’s just dealing with stuff that makes it hard, but he’s available.”
The Bruins are still without defenseman Kevan Miller, but Sweeney would not rule Miller out for the entire series.
Kampfer skated alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the Bruins third defensive pairing at practice on Wednesday. After practice, Cassidy said the team would not be making any lineup decisions until Thursday morning.
Kampfer has appeared in one playoff game this season, logging 11:06 of ice time with 51 seconds of that coming on the penalty kill. Kampfer also took McAvoy’s spot on the Bruins’ second power play unit.
With McAvoy out for Thursday, the Bruins top pair looked a bit different as Zdeno Chara skated with Connor Clifton. Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo remained as the Bruins second pairing.
“Certainly if Kampfer goes in, it’s three righties, three lefties,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Who goes up with (Chara) that might be our next thought. We like Krug and Carlo. Depending on how they set their lines, Z and Carlo could be a good matchup on certain lines. I think you’re gonna see some different combinations depending on the circumstances.”