Bruins

Late, high hit knocks Charlie McAvoy out of Bruins win over Leafs

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Late, high hit knocks Charlie McAvoy out of Bruins win over Leafs

BOSTON – In just his second game back from a concussion that cost him 20 games out of the lineup, Charlie McAvoy was once again pulled from play by a concussion spotter after taking a late, dirty hit in the third period of Boston’s 6-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. McAvoy was putting the finishing touches on a night when he’d racked up a plus-4 rating in over 18 minutes of ice time when he was clobbered up high by Zach Hyman seconds after he’d released a pass behind the Boston net.

McAvoy went down after the blindside hit from Hyman and headed down the runway to the Bruins dressing room, and never returned to the game.

Matt Grzelcyk dropped the gloves and brawled with Hyman while sticking up for his longtime teammate, and both players were ejected from the game with misconducts.

The 20-year-old McAvoy did come back to the Bruins bench at the end of the third period, and was on the ice to congratulate the win with the rest of his Bruins teammates.

So it would appear he’s feeling okay in the immediate aftermath of the hit, but the jury will probably be out on his availability for Sunday’s game in Ottawa until McAvoy wakes up on Sunday morning feeling clear-headed.

“He came back. That was the league-mandated protocol. He went and got through it. I suppose, until [Sunday] comes and he wakes up, we’re all going to be a little bit on pins and needles. But he was cleared to come back,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll wake up and determine how he’s feeling. I think we were going to do that after the Tampa game anyway to make sure everything’s good. Hopefully he wakes up feeling great and knows well ‘Hey, I’m kind of back to myself.’ That would be best case scenario for us.”

What about the hit itself?

The hope would be that the NHL Department of Player Safety looks intently into a late, high hit that came from McAvoy’s blind side, and particularly in the case of a recently concussed player in a game that was a 6-1 score in the third period. As Cassidy said, “it annoyed him.” Was it simply a byproduct of some physical play on the ice, or was this a case of a Leafs player trying to take out one of their rival team’s best players in garbage time.

“I thought it was late. I thought it was unnecessary. If the league takes a look at it – I don’t know if they will or not, usually they do if there’s a major involved. It’s one of those things where you’re at a point in the game, hasn’t been a lot of body checking from the other team and all of a sudden there’s a late unsuspecting one, and it annoys you,” said Cassidy. “Especially when it’s Charlie [McAvoy], who had just came back [from a concussion]. So you’re wondering are they targeting him or not? You don’t know that.

“I’d like to think it was just a guy playing hard and got there late and didn’t pull up, but our guys responded well. I thought [Chris] Wagner delivered a good check to [Morgan] Rielly, open ice. He was clean with his shoulder. They want to play hard to the final whistle then we’ll certainly go right along with them.”

So the good news is that McAvoy appears to be okay despite the violent, unexpected nature of the hit, but the Bruins will be waiting to see how that plays out for his availability against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. 

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins make first training camp cuts at 'difficult camp' for young hopefuls

Bruins make first training camp cuts at 'difficult camp' for young hopefuls

BRIGHTON, Mass. — The Bruins made their first cuts of NHL training camp over the weekend with their preseason schedule halfway over, and Providence Bruins camp for their AHL farm club set to begin on Monday. Young D-men Axel Andersson and Wiley Sherman were sent down to Providence this weekend, and Samuel Asselin, Chris Breen, Alexey Solovyev, Brendan Woods and Cooper Zech were all assigned to the P-Bruins as well.

The moves still leave the Bruins with a few young faces in NHL training camp as more veterans will be inserted into the lineup for the three home preseason games beginning tonight at TD Garden against the Philadelphia Flyers. But Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been quick to point out that there aren’t many open spots for young hopefuls this time around for the Black and Gold coming off last year’s Stanley Cup Final run, and taking into account all of the different players with NHL contracts in this season’s camp.

“This year is a more difficult camp to find a spot in the lineup. We just have more returning players. It doesn’t mean you can’t beat a guy out, but it’s more difficult than maybe last year where we created some competition at different spots hoping that a young guy would take over. This year [there are fewer openings] just because of the trade for Coyle and the growth of [Karson] Kuhlman. There’s competition for that right wing spot with [David] Krejci, but we like what Kuhlman did.

“It makes it tougher for those young guys trying to crack the lineup. So what you’re trying to do is identify yourself as a depth player that can be the first call-up in certain situations. That’s about the best you can do with the hand you’re dealt.”

Take for example, young center Jack Studnicka, considered by most to be Boston’s top young prospect entering his first season as a pro. Studnicka has been solid in camp and did his best to bulk up a bit in his first real shot at an NHL job, but it’s also pretty apparent the 21-year-old is going to be best served by some development time in the AHL where he can keep getting bigger and stronger.

“It’s going to be tough in the middle for Jack. We’d have to move pieces around, which we said we would do [if he was ready]. But I don’t think he’s there yet and that’s fine. With Jack there is great hockey instincts and great will, but I just think he hasn’t grown into his body yet strength-wise. It is what it is,” said Cassidy. “But we like how he’s playing. Is he ready to unseat anybody? I wouldn’t say so yet.”

With the numbers beginning to get pared down, here’s the expected lineup for tonight’s first preseason game at TD Garden this fall. Conspicuously absent from Monday night’s starter-filled Bruins lineup is Patrice Bergeron, who should make his only preseason appearance in Saturday’s finale at TD Garden vs. the Blackhawks just a few days before the start of the regular season:

Marchand-Coyle-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Ritchie
Heinen-Frederic-Wagner
Lauko-Kuraly-Backes

Chara-Clifton
Vaakanainen-Petrovic
Zboril-Didier

Rask Vladar

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Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

Bruins' Jake DeBrusk 'more aware of what to expect' as RFA after watching McAvoy, Carlo

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Jake DeBrusk will be one of 10 potential free agents for the Bruins when this upcoming hockey season comes to a close, and further complicating things, the 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent. DeBrusk is coming off a career-high 27 goals scored during the regular season and a fairly disappointing postseason when he managed just four goals and 11 points in 24 playoff games.

Of course, the hindsight breakdown of DeBrusk’s postseason also includes that he may have been playing through a bit of a fog after absorbing a Nazem Kadri cross-check to the face in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Still, after averaging 21 goals and 42 points in his first two NHL seasons, DeBrusk will be looking at a substantial raise next summer provided he can put together another season with those kinds of numbers. So the Bruins left winger was watching things fairly closely with Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy this summer knowing that it will be his turn a year from now when he’s a part of another talented restricted free agent class.

“Obviously that’s going to be my situation [as an RFA]. Hopefully not [as a holdout], but maybe, possibly next year just looking around the league you see different things with guys dragging it out,” said DeBrusk, who will be joined by Brett Ritchie and Matt Grzelcyk as next summer’s restricted free agents for the Bruins. “It’s one of those where you ask questions on the business side of it. Things change and different stuff happens with talks, but at the same time I mostly just try to stay out of it. I try to stay dialed in to get ready for training camp and the season. I guess when that time comes, though, I’ll be more aware of what to expect.”

Certainly guys like Carlo and McAvoy will be more than happy to pass on whatever pearls of wisdom they derived from their RFA situations with the Bruins this summer.

“I’d say just to remain calm and don’t be shocked by different things with the back and forth, and how long [the entire] process might take. For me I didn’t expect it to be that long. I was excited when the season was over to sign back real fast, but it took a little bit more time than anticipated,” said Carlo. “You just try to be as patient as you can, but it’s really hard to be patient in that scenario with your first larger deal off your entry level. [At the end of the day] you’ve done everything you can do up to that point, so just stay calm [in negotiations].”

One would expect that DeBrusk saw a couple of guys from his draft class, Brock Boeser (3 years, $17.625 million) and Travis Konecny (six years, $33 million), both top $5 million per season on second contracts they signed less than a week ago, and knows that kind of payday awaits him as well. Boeser is in a bit of a different class given his upside and production, but DeBrusk and Konecny are pretty comparable players provided DeBrusk surpasses 20 goals and 40 points this season.

B's focused on improving 5-on-5 this season>>>>>

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