As expected, there won’t be any supplemental discipline coming Charlie McAvoy’s way for a textbook, clean hip check thrown in Boston’s Game 4 win that turned the tide in a comeback win for the Black and Gold.
The NHL Department of Player Safety deemed the hip check a perfectly clean hit, and as such it wasn’t penalized on the ice and wouldn’t be subject to any discipline at all, per a league source. If anything, the NHL would point at the McAvoy hit as the exact kind of intense, physical and clean play that the league is looking for during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With the Bruins trailing by a 2-1 score in the third period after a Jake DeBrusk score, McAvoy tracked Jordan Staal at the Carolina blue line with a punishing hip check that was delivered perfectly and separated Staal from the puck. There was a bit of a follow-through at the very end of the hit consistent with throwing a check of that nature, but the force of the collision tossed Staal to the ice and forced him to exit the game.
The Bruins went on to score four unanswered goals in less than a seven-minute span and held on for a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes, and afterward pointed at the “good, hard clean hit” as a big momentum-changer in the final period.
McAvoy described his intentions behind the hit and the video replays back up the B’s defenseman leading with his hip and then finishing the check with an upward motion consistent with throwing that kind of hit.
"I started skating backwards, tried to kind of take a proper angle there. You want to make sure all your stuff is in, so you don’t deliver a dirty hit,” said McAvoy. “You never hope to injure someone. Just to take the puck from a man and I hope he’s doing okay.
"All I’m thinking is to try and separate a man from the puck and try get us possession back as quickly as possible, so we can play offense and try and tie the game up. That was really my only thought process. The game moves so fast and I just wanted to deliver a clean check and just do my job."
Shortly after delivering that devastating check, the Bruins tied up the game on a Connor Clifton goal and were well on their way to delivering a third period dagger to the Hurricanes that now has them up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The good news for the Hurricanes: Jordan Staal was on the ice and practicing with the Canes on Tuesday afternoon, so it seems that he was no worse for the wear after the hellacious collision.