McAvoy added to Team USA roster, wants to make ‘big impact’ with Bruins next season

McAvoy added to Team USA roster, wants to make ‘big impact’ with Bruins next season

Since he wasn’t eligible to return to the AHL and join the playoff run for the Providence Bruins, 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy will instead don the Red, White and Blue and play for Team USA in next month’s World Championships in Germany and France.

It will be the fourth time that the Bruins defenseman has represented his country in a world championship event, but the first time that McAvoy will be skating for the men’s national team after crossing over into the pro ranks this spring. 


The B’s 2016 first-round pick just finished a six-game stint in the playoffs with the Black and Gold where he totaled three assists and a minus-2 rating in while averaging a whopping 26:12 of ice time. McAvoy made all of those comparisons to Drew Doughty seem appropriate, rather than far-fetched, in his playoff performance while logging huge minutes, moving the puck, defending well enough and flashing the physical skills to be a do-it-all No. 1 NHL defenseman in the near future.

It’s fair to say he was just scratching the surface of what he can do while getting dropped into a trial-by-fire debut in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but some experience at the world championships will be another nice step toward getting him ready for full-time NHL duty next season.

“I’ve played in a couple of different jerseys this year, and I just feel so very fortunate to have been able to put on every single one of them. Each experience had its own lesson to help me grow and improve as a hockey player,” said McAvoy, who has played for Boston University, Team USA in the World Juniors, the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins and now Team USA in the world championships within this calendar year. “I have a quiet confidence about myself, but before you experience something like the [Stanley Cup playoffs] you don’t know how you’re going to fare. It was a credit to my teammates and a guy like Zdeno Chara that me in a position to succeed every time I was out on the ice.

“I still think there’s a lot I can learn, and I lot I can grow into. I’ve had just a small sample size of experience, but I feel like I can have a big impact on this [Bruins] team. It’s something I’ll have to work on all offseason to put myself in the best position to come in and have immediate success, but it’s something I’m committed to.”

McAvoy said at Tuesday’s break-up day that he was ineligible to return to Providence in the AHL playoffs once Boston was eliminated last weekend, and it looks like Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari will be the only Bruins players hopping on board for the P-Bruins playoff run.

In an added bonus, McAvoy might even be able to convince fellow Bruins prospect and Notre Dame forward Anders Bjork to sign with the Black and Gold as he’ll also be on the Team USA roster looking to medal in the world championships. 

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

TAMPA BAY – It certainly might not be the shape they envisioned themselves being in when these late season games arrived against the President’s Trophy favorites in Tampa Bay, but the Bruins are bracing for a showdown with the high-powered Lightning either way. 

The Bruins stand just four points behind the Bolts with one game in hand, and mathematically they absolutely have a shot of catching and surpassing the Lightning for the NHL’s top spot with three games remaining against them in the season’s final month. But realistically it’s got to be considered a long shot at this point with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk all out for Saturday night’s meeting with Tampa, and Bergeron and McAvoy expected to potentially miss all three of their divisional scraps. 

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers and at the end of a week-long, four-game road trip, the Bruins know they’re going to need to tighten things up against a Lightning team they can’t match firepower with in their weakened state. 

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of just playing the game in front of us, and not getting too far ahead, too high or too low. We’ve got the best team in the National Hockey League, arguably, at home and rested [in front of us],” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We look forward to the challenge. They’re a high-scoring team, so we talked about that with our goaltenders and our ‘D’ today. We better be ‘on’ because they’ll be coming. Our forwards are going to have to help out in that area and make sure we’re reloading well, and keep getting pucks at the net. 

“We didn’t finish [against Florida] but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or lack of pucks at the net. That part of our game is trending pretty well offensively. I think you’re going to have score to a certain extent against this team because you’re not going to shut them down completely. That’s our game plan for whoever is going to be in the lineup. They’ve got to be ready for it because that’s how it works, and that’s how it’s worked all year long for us. We need the guys in there to do their part and do it well.”

Certainly the Bruins could still do some offensive damage with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak still intact on their top line, and David Krejci and Rick Nash also still developing their chemistry on the second line. Torey Krug also came through feeling healthy at practice on Friday after soaking up 26 plus minutes of ice time in the loss to Florida, so they’ll also have some puck-moving and offensive pop on the back end as well.

But it may come down to the Chara-less defense and Tuukka Rask to step up and go into shutdown mode against the Lightning if they’re looking to really push up on the Lightning, and make this a horse race for the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Not to mention, it would be a psychological swing for both teams if the Bruins could take down a rested, relatively healthy Tampa Bay hockey club with their undermanned, injury-ravaged bunch. 

That in and of itself should be plenty of motivation for a Bruins team that’s got their sights and set on bigger and better things this spring with the Lightning expected to be one of the big obstacles standing in their way.


Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while jacked and pumped about that Infinity War trailer. Wow. 


*Credit here for something outside the box and clear hockey satire while looking far into the NHL’s crystal ball where the new expansion team is called the Seattle Slippery Seals, and Brad Marchand is the head of the NHLPA. That is quite a twist at the end of the movie right there. 


*The Hockey Central crew debates whether they would want John Tavares or Tyler Seguin as a player to build their team around. Seguin is having a solid year (with the end of his contract coming into view), but I’m going with Tavares all day long. I think he’s more of a competitor and a reliable player along with an equitable level of talent, and that counts for quite a bit in team-building. 


*It’s good to see the PHWA decide to make public the ballots of all NHL Awards starting at the end of this season. It’s something I voted in favor of and already did annually as I think transparency is something we always ask for from those we cover, so it should never be something we shy away from. 


*The Flyers have hit the skids again after pushing themselves into playoff view. This has been such a streak team over the last couple of years. 


*Pro Hockey Talk says that the Montreal Canadiens need to take a long look into the mirror before they move on from this season. I couldn’t agree more. 


*For something completely different: I feel badly for my kids that Toys R us is liquidating as a company, and the stores will be closing. It’s getting to the point where there will be no more brick and mortar toy stores for kids to visit, and that’s something from my youth experience that they’re going to miss out on. Frankly, it’s kind of sad.