NEW YORK CITY – Charlie McAvoy is always at his best in the big moments, so the sky is the limit for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers team he rooted for as a hockey-loving kid. The 19-year-old kid has played at MSG a couple of times before, as a youth hockey player and a couple of years ago as a freshman for Boston University, but it will be a whole different level against the Blueshirts with a countless number of friends, family and Rangers fans ready for a solid rivalry game.
McAvoy is counting on a few more Black and Gold converts in the MSG crowd based on the group he’s bringing to the game.
“It’s going to be really special. It’s a game that I’ve really been looking forward to. Anytime you get to come home and play in a building that you grew up going to games, it really means a lot. I’m excited for tonight,” said McAvoy. “I don’t know if I can put a number on how many [friend and family] are coming, but the support has been awesome. I’ve had a lot of texts from good family and friends, and it means a lot to me.
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“A lot of Rangers are going to be turning Bruins fans tonight, which I appreciate. I’m really, really excited.”
The big stage at MSG might be a bit of a concern for most rookies just a month into their NHL career, but McAvoy has already proven in his brief Bruins career that he’s not “most rookies” while playing to exceptionally high standards. In just a month’s time he’s become a big part of the top defenseman pairing with Zdeno Chara, he’s only the rookie in the entire NHL averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game and he’s also kicked in plenty of offense from the back end with a goal and eight points in 13 games this season.
Given all of that, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is actually interested to see what McAvoy will bring to the table against the Rangers team he adored growing up, and in front of his family and friends in a big event-type setting. More than being interested, he’s actually looking forward to it rather than concerned it might be too much for the first-year phenom.
“He’s from the area and it’s a rivalry game at Madison Square Garden. I’d imagine he’s going to be jacked to play, and get out there as long as he doesn’t too much ahead of himself in that regard,” said Cassidy. “I don’t think it really does with Charlie, but even if it does he’s able to reel it in quickly. So I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s got tonight.”
The idea of McAvoy having a little extra vs. the Rangers above and beyond the considerable level he’s already shown this season should have everybody excited to see what No. 73 is capable of in front of a national NBCSN audience at famed MSG.