Rested and relaxed McAvoy makes his return to Bruins

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Rested and relaxed McAvoy makes his return to Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – A few days shy of two weeks, 20-year-old rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy is going to return to the Bruins lineup tonight after undergoing a procedure to fix an abnormal heart rhythm. 

McAvoy was fully medically cleared by doctors on Wednesday and has skated the past three days with the team while not technically skating in a full team practice ahead of tonight’s return against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

The quick recovery certainly speaks to McAvoy's youth and high conditioning levels and also to a heart procedure that went perfectly for a young athlete who isn't expected to have any more related issues with it.   

In a silver lining kind of way, McAvoy is looking at it as the kind of midseason breather that most NHL players aren’t afforded in the grind of the regular season. For McAvoy, who didn’t even total 50 games last season between Boston University, the World juniors, Providence and Boston, it might just be the kind of thing that allows him to sidestep the rookie wall that seemed to be waiting for him in the second half.

“It was somewhat of a quick two weeks. It’s always a little hard when you’re on couch rest there and sitting around, so it does tend to feel a little longer than it is. But in the grand scheme when you’re back on the ice and ready to go within two weeks of the procedure, that was our goal and it was attainable. Everything was going to have to line up for it to happen, and it did,” said McAvoy. “I don’t anticipate being too far behind. In all honesty at this point 40 games in [to the season], to get a week-and-a-half to rest and relax is pretty beneficial. As far as the muscles, the bumps and the bruises and even the mindset, having a week away from the rink would be pretty beneficial if you asked just about anybody.

“So, I’ve had that rest and I’ve come back working hard, and this is the next step getting into game situations and getting back out there. I’m going to do the best I can to help keep the team going and trending in the right direction. They were playing really good without me, so I’ve got to make sure I come back in and I’m a positive part of the lineup.”

Either way, the expectation is that McAvoy will be exactly what he was prior to the procedure, which is the best rookie defenseman in the NHL and a workhorse who's averaged right around 23 minutes of ice time per game. The Bruins will need him too with rugged veteran Kevan Miller out for the game with the Leafs and still day-to-day with an upper-body injury that’s kept him off the ice the past two days.

Noel Acciari (lower body) will also miss Saturday night’s game and will be replaced by AHL call-up Austin Czarnik. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings with Tuukka Rask getting the start in goal:










For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

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For the Bruins, watching Olympic hockey "stings a bit"

TORONTO – It’s no secret that NHL players weren’t happy about being barred from participating in the Winter Olympics wrapping up in South Korea this week. 

Instead the NHL continued their regular season with business as usual while skipping the Olympics for the first time since 1998, and college hockey players, minor league players and players already playing overseas in Europe were utilized to comprise the teams for the US, Canada and others participating in the Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament. 


The lack of NHL participation has made for a wide open tournament at this month’s Olympics, and led to the major upset of Canada actually losing to Germany on Friday in a match to play for the gold medal game this weekend. That was bad news for former Bruins forward Chris Kelly as the captain of Team Canada at the tail end of his hockey career, but great news for fellow former B’s forward Marco Sturm as the head coach of Team Germany. 

Naturally one couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of players like Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, who certainly would have both been on Team Canada, watching Hockey Canada fall short of the gold medal game. 

“Obviously you cheer for your country and that’s what we were all doing. I got up early to catch a little of the game,” said Bergeron. “It’s too bad. I thought Germany played a really good game, and there’s a part of me that’s very happy for Marco [Sturm] since he’s a friend of mine. We played together for a long time.

“It was tough. You wanted to be out there and you wanted to be able to compete. It’s too bad that we didn’t have a say in it. That’s probably the biggest thing for me. That’s my biggest disappointment that we had no say in being a part of it. It was different. The last two Olympics I was in it, and now being able to watch it on TV it’s actually been a lot of fun to be able to watch different events at any time of the day.”


While Bergeron has his two gold medals from each of the past two Olympic Games to go along with his memories, Marchand might have missed his one chance to be a part of Team Canada at the Olympics during the peak of his hockey career. Coming off last season’s stunning performance from Team Canada at the World Cup, Marchand would have been close to an automatic for the Olympic roster, but instead it’s an experience he may have simply missed the boat on given that he’ll be 33 years old the next time around. 

“Obviously you get over it, but it was more about it being an opportunity lost, I think,” said Marchand. “It was a potential opportunity lost, but it allows other guys to have opportunities. I couldn’t be any happier that a guy like Chris Kelly gets to be there. It’s a huge opportunity. A lost opportunity for us is a huge opportunity for other guys…but it would have been nice to be there and be a part of it. It’s the biggest stage in the world.  

“The biggest reason it stings is that I never thought I would even be potentially be looked at for a team like that. With how things have played out the last couple of years, I might have been able to crack that [Olympic] lineup. So I think it stings a little more for that reason…to have the rug pulled out from under you for no reason. It does sting a bit, but that’s how it goes.”

That stinging feeling from the league pulling out of the Olympics will no doubt be revisited the next time the NHL and NHLPA go to the bargaining table for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. But that’s a different story for a different day as the first Winter Olympics without NHL players in 20 years finally goes into the books this weekend.


DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

TORONTO – Jake DeBrusk has heard about the trade rumors. Heck, the 21-year-old has actually been traded before in his hockey career as he was dealt in junior hockey from Swift Current to the Red Deer Rebels in his final season. It’s a little different, however, when DeBrusk hears his name involved in trade rumors with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and reports indicate that DeBrusk is a name that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton wants included in any deal. 


It makes perfect sense with DeBrusk off to a strong start to his NHL career with 11 goals and 29 points in 54 games while playing a top-6 role next to David Krejci, and just scratching the surface of how good he can be with the Bruins. Brandon Carlo has likewise been mentioned prominently as well as a young NHL player being sought after in trade talks. 

But the bottom line for all the Bruins youngsters is that they don’t want to go anywhere, and are doing their best to block everything out while preparing to go out and do their best. 

“I got traded in junior, so I know a little bit about it…but it’s a little different when it’s the magnitude of the NHL,” said DeBrusk. “We’re just focusing on getting wins, and doing everything I can do to help the team win. At the same you’re keeping an eye out and looking [at the rumors] secretly. But it is what it is. You can’t control it. You can only control your play, and do anything I can to help the team win now. You can only take it day by day. 

“I love being with these guys and we’re a pretty tight group. So whatever happens is going to happen, but at the same time whoever is on the ice we’ll go to battle with them.”


Clearly DeBrusk wants to stick with the team that selected him 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the Bruins would do well to keep a talented, likable and bright youngster that could be a meaningful member of the organization for a long, long time. But he’s also drawing whatever positive that he can out of the situation, and the biggest one is that other NHL teams are clearly taking notice of what he’s done this season as a rookie. 

Being the primary name mentioned in a deal for a player like the captain of the New York Rangers means you must be doing a lot of things right. 

“When you’re a rookie with your name being thrown around and the other guy has some pretty high stature in the league, it’s a compliment. But I don’t look too much into it,” said DeBrusk. “I love being a Bruin. I just want to continue to get better, continue to improve and I’ve got lots of room to grow. I’m just taking it shift-by-shift.”

That’s a smart kid with a good answer as he focuses on his game on the ice, and learns on the job to navigate through his first NHL experience that’s now included being at the heart of a juicy trade rumor for the Black and Gold.