Bruins

Brad Marchand: Charlie McAvoy's lateness was "learning the way and learning the ropes"

Brad Marchand: Charlie McAvoy's lateness was "learning the way and learning the ropes"

BRIGHTON, Mass – It all started with a few jokes from Brad Marchand during “The Pick Up” with NBCSportsBoston.com about Charlie McAvoy getting coal in his stocking for Christmas after being late to a few things for the Bruins.

“The kid always seems to find himself in trouble being late for everything,” said a joking Marchand on “The Pick Up” when asked who he’d give coal in their stocking for Christmas. “I’d get him a clock, or a watch. He is late for everything. I’ve never seen anybody more late for planes, buses or meetings than that kid.”

But as with many jokes, there was certainly a kernel of truth to it all.

Then a report from the Boston Globe on Monday morning narrowed it down to a pair of incidents where McAvoy was tardy – one for a special teams meeting and one for being late to a bus after a game on the road – this season, and that it was Marchand himself that discussed the situation with the 21-year-old defenseman. All involved with the Bruins have indicated that it wasn’t a big deal or a real behavioral issue with McAvoy like it might have been when Tyler Seguin was benched for a game in 2011 for missing a team meeting in Winnipeg.

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But it’s also pretty clear that McAvoy still has some growing up to do at a time when he could have still been a senior at Boston University, and that the tough conversation with Marchand was one that was necessary. Marchand discussed it with NBCSportsBoston.com on Monday after practice, and said it was something that veterans did for him countless times when he was a younger player.

“Chucky is a great kid and an awesome teammate. He’s a very good person, very good teammate and very good kid, and he’s going to be a great hockey player for this team for a long time. But everybody goes through things where you’re coming in as a new guy, and you have to learn the way and the ropes,” said Marchand to NBCSportsBoston.com. “Things like that happen. It was documented that it happened to [Seguin] his first couple of years here, and it definitely happened to me my first couple of years here. When you’re a kid and you get that responsibility and you go from living with billets or your family to living by yourself, sometimes something might happen when you’re late here or there.

“It came about [on the “Pick Up”] because we were just joking around in the car about Santa Claus. It’s not an issue in the room, and it wasn’t really necessary for [Globe reporter] Kevin Paul DuPont to make it an issue. Chucky is a great teammate and great player for this team, and it’s a non-issue for this room. It was just something that sometimes you need to learn along the way. It’s not like we’re worried about Chucky in any kind of way, or anything like that.”

What it comes down to in Marchand’s estimation is a college kid learning how to be a pro. It started last season as a rookie when Bruce Cassidy did have to talk to McAvoy about upping his urgency level at practice and getting on the ice earlier for the quick-paced practices. Cassidy also said after practice that it hasn't been an issue for McAvoy being late to mandatory team meetings, and the coaching staff "has no beef" with his attendance. 

This season it amounts to not making his teammates wait for him in a couple of instances, and instead probably needing to be early for everything – team-mandated or not – as one of the younger guys on the team.

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“It’s a lot easier for the guys that have kids. We’re up at 7 [a.m.] and it’s again something that you learn along the way,” said Marchand to NBCSportsBoston.com. “These are things you don’t know about to be a pro and how to do things the right way. But those are things you’re going to learn along the way. A lot of these things we’re told a time or two, you get from there and you build it into your routine and everything.

“It’s not a big deal. By no means do we have any issues with Chuckie. He’s a great teammate and a great kid. He’s very young and he’s got a lot of responsibility thrust upon him because of the player he is and how good he is. Sometimes it’s hard, but he’s coping well with it, doing well with it and he’s going to be a great player.”

So who were the guys that Marchand heard it from when he was a youngster back in 2010-11 and needed to be called out to get in line with being a pro’s pro at the NHL level?

“It was a little different with me. We had so many [veteran] guys. It was pretty hard on the young guys, but it was great because we learned pretty quickly,” said Marchand to NBCSportsBoston.com. “[Greg] Campbell and Shawn Thornton were my [early] linemates, so they talked to me a lot. A lot of times they didn’t make it on easy on me. They were very hard on me, especially Thortie. And then there were guys like Bergeron, Chara and [Mark Recchi] and [Andrew] Ference, so it wouldn’t take long for somebody to say something you stepped out of line.

“I had to be talked to quite a bit when I was coming up, and then as I got older I started hanging with Chris Kelly a lot. He kind of saved me. He used to talk to me a lot on the car rides to the rink, and he’d kind of fill me in during the car ride rather than me getting yelled at in the rink on how to act. Then you’d go from there. I still have lots to learn.”

Certainly those players of Bruins’ past have contributed heavily to what Marchand is passing along now with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and the rest of the proven veteran leadership group in the room. Now it’s up to McAvoy to receive the message and learn just as Marchand did so many years ago, and by all accounts the young D-man is doing just that. 

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Flyers

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Flyers

Talking points from the B's loss to the Flyers. . .

GOLD STAR: Sean Couturier scored three of the four goals for the Flyers, and was right in the middle of everything while playing a strong 200-foot game for Philly. The eventual game-winner was both a good, strong wrist shot from the left face-off circle off the rush, and it was also an incredibly soft goal allowed by Jaroslav Halak. Couturier finished with the hat trick and a plus-1 rating in 22:18 of ice time, five shots on net and 13-of-23 face-off wins in an impressive all-around game for the Flyers. The Flyers' best players were the game’s best players on Wednesday night and it was as simple as that, and Couturier was the best of the best.

BLACK EYE: It looks like the spaced out appearances and the natural ebb and flow to the season have caught up to Jaroslav Halak, who struggled with four goals allowed on 18 shots in Wednesday night’s loss. Halak has now allowed four goals in three of his last four games and is sporting an .861 save percentage over that time span. He's really come crashing back down to Earth after his great start to the season for the Bruins and tonight’s loss to the Flyers was another example. The final goal allowed to Couturier on a wrist shot from the face-off circle was the backbreaker that made it a two-goal game. Halak had a couple of pretty good saves mixed in, but he looked like he was fighting the puck for most of the night while picking up his third loss in his last four starts.  

TURNING POINT: The Bruins looked like they kicked back and relaxed after taking an early 2-0 lead in the first period. They got lax on defense, their power play lacked urgency when they had a couple of chances to do damage with it, and as a team they barely reacted when Jori Lehtera clobbered Ryan Donato from behind at the end of the second period. It’s a couple of times now this season that the B’s looked like they stopped playing after taking an early lead, so that’s something they’re going to need to work on for the future. Considering the opponent and the circumstances of the game, this loss to the Flyers was one of the worst ones in a while for the B’s.

HONORABLE MENTION: A great start for Peter Cehlarik scoring in the first period of his first game with the Bruins this season. It was a pretty perfect setup from Jake DeBrusk cross-ice to Cehlarik, who buried the shot into the vacant portion of the net with Flyers goaltender Carter Hart going side-to-side with the moving puck. Cehlarik also had a boarding penalty on his first shift of the game, but at least he’s trying to get involved physically. Cehlarik couldn’t get off another shot on net through the rest of the two periods and had a giveaway to go along with a takeaway and a blocked shot. Cehlarik then added a second goal around the front of the net in the late moments of the third period. He certainly did his job with the two goals and wasn’t a liability at all for the Bruins, so Cehlarik certainly merits a longer look on the David Krejci line after his debut.

BY THE NUMBERS: 121 – the number of goals scored by David Pastrnak prior to his 23rd birthday after tonight’s first period power play strike, which ranks as the most goals scored in franchise history by a player 22 years old or younger.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Makes us wonder why we didn't call him up a long time ago." – Bruce Cassidy to reporters about Peter Cehlarik’s two-goal performance in his first game since getting called up to the Bruins. 

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Highlights from the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Flyers

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Highlights from the Bruins' 4-3 loss to the Flyers

FINAL SCORE: Flyers 4, Bruins 3

BRUINS RECORD: 26-16-5

FROM JOE HAGGERTY:

1. I know JFK is a young player just figuring it out, but you really shouldn't need somebody to tell you to have the back of your linemate when he gets drilled from behind into the boards. He was literally right next to the play & didn't do anything besides put his arm around him for about a half-second. The play was Jori Lehtera drilling Ryan Donato from behind into the side boards and dasher while bloodying him. Donato left the ice and went back to the dressing room for repairs and Lehtera was slapped with a five minute major for boarding, and once again the Bruins didn’t do much of anything to an opponent taking liberty with them.

2. The Bruins also coughed up a one-goal lead in that second period by giving up a pair of goals. The more egregious of the two was a power play goal where Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner got caught deep in the offensive zone after going on a two-man shorthanded rush that got knocked away into the corner. The Flyers quickly transitioned the other way and the play ended with a Sean Couturier goal right in front. Perhaps a little more conservative PK work from the fourth line duo of Kuraly and Wagner might be called for the next time around.

3. A great start for Peter Cehlarik scoring in the first period of his first game with the Bruins this season. It was a pretty perfect setup from Jake DeBrusk cross-ice to Cehlarik, who buried the shot into the vacant portion of the net with Flyers goaltender Carter Hart going side-to-side with the moving puck. Cehlarik also has a boarding penalty on his first shift of the game, but at least he’s trying to get involved physically as well. Cehlarik couldn’t get off another shot on net through the rest of the two periods and had a giveaway to go along with a takeaway and a blocked shot. He certainly did his job with the first-period goal and wasn’t a liability at all for the Bruins, so Cehlarik certainly merits a longer look on the David Krejci line after his debut. 

4. It looks like the spaced out appearances and the natural ebb and flow to the season have caught up to Jaroslav Halak, who struggled with four goals allowed on 18 shots in Wednesday night’s loss. Halak has now allowed four goals in three of his last four games and is sporting a .861 save percentage over that time span. He's really come crashing back down to Earth after his great start to the season for the Bruins and tonight’s loss to the Flyers was another example. The final goal allowed to Sean Couturier on a wrist shot from the face-off circle was the backbreaker that made it a two-goal game. 

BOX SCORE.

HIGHLIGHTS

KRUG TO PASTA

CEHLARIK'S 2ND CAREER GOAL

FLYERS GET ON THE BOARD

TIED GAME

FLYERS STEAL THE LEAD

LEHTARA GETS 5 MINUTES FOR BOARDING DONATO

FLYERS TACK ON THEIR FOURTH

CEHLARIK SCORES HIS SECOND OF THE GAME

UP NEXT

THURSDAY: vs Blues, 7:00 p.m. (NESN)

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