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Charlie McAvoy: Healthy return to Bruins 'a win in and of itself'

Charlie McAvoy: Healthy return to Bruins 'a win in and of itself'

TAMPA, FL – The Bruins lost their third regulation game in a row with Thursday night’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they did get a win in the healthy return of second-year D-man Charlie McAvoy to the lineup.

After missing the last 20 games with concussion symptoms, McAvoy determined that now was the time to jump back in while feeling healthy and getting through a long off-day practice in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon. There was clearly a little rust early on the 20-year-old defenseman stepped on a puck in the D-zone and hit in the ice in a first-period sequence that eventually led to a goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he had a few turnovers that probably won’t happen once he fully has his legs under him.

“I thought Charlie was good. I thought he was rusty handling the puck at times, but I fully expected that,” said Bruce Cassidy. “It’s perfectly normal. I was just happy that he had conviction in his game and that he wanted to be a difference-maker. That’s all I was concerned about. I just wondered how his assertiveness was going to be, and I thought it was very good.”

But when it was all said and done, McAvoy played a whopping 21:02 of ice time after not playing a game since Oct. 18 and looked better, stronger and more confidence as the game rolled on. More importantly, the puck-moving defenseman also felt good physically and mentally and was able to banish any doubts or feelings of hesitation from his game.

It would have been better for McAvoy to return in a win, but his level of play against a top quality opponent like Tampa Bay gives plenty of reason for optimism.

"What a win in and of itself to be back out there. We're a family and I missed these guys a heck of a lot while I was out,” said McAvoy. “It was an unfortunate loss, but an encouraging effort at the end. Nobody ever said die and nobody quit, so there’s something we can take from that.

“To get back to playing I had to be a in a clear state of mind and confident in where I am health-wise, and I was. When I’m playing my best I’m trying to make offense out of defense and at the same time playing responsible. The first period was tough trying to shake some rust off, but the second and third I thought I came together and started playing my brand of hockey.”

The positive is that McAvoy will just keep getting better and more effective for the Bruins provided he can stay healthy and that in turn will make the undermanned B’s a better group offensively, defensively and on special teams. 

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Bruins extend qualifying offers to RFAs Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, others

Bruins extend qualifying offers to RFAs Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, others

The deadline to extend qualifying offers to restricted free agents was Tuesday, and the Boston Bruins took care of business with several players.

The Bruins announced they extended qualifying offers to defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, as well as forwards Danton Heinen, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Ryan Fitzgerald and Peter Cehlarik. The Bruins didn't extend a QO to forward Gemel Smith, who was picked up by Boston off of waivers in December.

The ideal outcome would be to workout long-term deals with a few of these players before next season, especially McAvoy, who projects to be the team's No. 1 defenseman for many years.

If these players reject their qualifying offer, they will remain an RFA and their rights will be retained by Boston. RFAs can begin agreeing to sign offer sheets with rival teams on July 1, which is when free agency begins.

In addition to these RFAs, the Bruins must also consider re-signing unrestricted free agent forwards Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari.

The Bruins have $12,003,334 in salary cap space as of Wednesday, per Cap Friendly.

Click here for the top 25 NHL free agents this summer>>>

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Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk reflects on Stanley Cup run with heartfelt Instagram post

Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk reflects on Stanley Cup run with heartfelt Instagram post

The pain of coming up short in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final likely will stick with the 2019 Bruins forever.

The B's admitted as much immediately following their crushing defeat vs. the Blues. But as demoralizing of a loss it was, this is a team that looks to learn from it and come back even stronger next season.

Take it from defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who reflected on the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in an Instagram post on Tuesday. The 25-year-old Charlestown native assured fans that the team will continue to "face adversity head-on."

Read his message below:

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Every time I laced up my skates or rollerbladed over to go play street hockey in Charlestown, I envisioned these very moments. Game 7, Stanley Cup Finals, for the hometown team... We came up one game short, and it hurts probably as bad as you could imagine (and then some). However, I truly believe that accomplishing anything meaningful in life requires you to overcome the obstacles presented your way. This team always faces adversity head on, and we will continue to do so. Focused. Relentless. Together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to EVERYONE (family, friends, fans) who have supported through the good times & the bad. Your words of encouragement push us more than you know. It certainly does not go unnoticed, especially from a kid who grew up a mile away. It’s been an unforgettable year, memories that will last a lifetime. Looking forward to many more!

A post shared by Matthew Grzelcyk (@matt.grzelcyk) on

Every time I laced up my skates or rollerbladed over to go play street hockey in Charlestown, I envisioned these very moments. Game 7, Stanley Cup Finals, for the hometown team... We came up one game short, and it hurts probably as bad as you could imagine (and then some). However, I truly believe that accomplishing anything meaningful in life requires you to overcome the obstacles presented your way. This team always faces adversity head on, and we will continue to do so. Focused. Relentless. Together.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to EVERYONE (family, friends, fans) who have supported through the good times & the bad. Your words of encouragement push us more than you know. It certainly does not go unnoticed, especially from a kid who grew up a mile away. It’s been an unforgettable year, memories that will last a lifetime. Looking forward to many more!

Grzelcyk was forced to miss most of the Stanley Cup Final after suffering an injury in Game 2, so it had to hurt even worse being physically unable to help his team. Even so, it's clear he's maintaining a remarkably positive attitude through the difficult circumstances.

Highlights from the B's 2019-20 schedule >>

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