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McAvoy finding his game after a bit of a ragged training camp

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McAvoy finding his game after a bit of a ragged training camp

It wasn’t an ideal start to the season for young defenseman Charlie McAvoy, but it looks like things are getting on track for him.

McAvoy suffered through illness while on the trip to China that kind of knocked him off kilter for the majority of training camp, and he started the season as a minus player in the opening night debacle in Washington. Even in the second game against the Sabres, McAvoy missed a handful of shifts after taking a shot off the foot that luckily didn’t sideline him for any longer than a portion of a period.

But the 20-year-old busted out in the home opening win over the Senators with a career-high three assists, and now has four helpers in three games along with a plus-2 rating while averaging 20:54 of ice time per game.

Those are exactly the kind of numbers the Bruins hope and expect to see from McAvoy as he keeps evolving in his second NHL season. For the player himself, McAvoy is finally entering his comfort zone after a preseason and training camp that felt anything but comfortable for a young player preparing for the season.

“Obviously, you set out to be perfect and you want to stick to the things that make you good. I think we did that [against Ottawa] in certain areas. Still you don’t want to give up a couple of the goals we gave up, the one that happened with four guys out there, just avoidable things like that,” said McAvoy. “At the end we score a goal and were playing well and there’s only a couple minutes left and then they got one again.

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“We just kind of straighten out a few things and we could be even better. It’s something to feel good about no question when you go against a team like that that has played well in their first two games, definitely showed they can score, you come up on the right side of that one. It definitely feels good.”

It was “really simple plays” and tipped point shots that made up McAvoy’s three-assist game against the Senators, and those are exactly the kind of simple, smart passes and playmaking that Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wants to see in McAvoy’s game.

“I thought Charlie was much better [against Buffalo]. He was off to a slow start, and some of that was that he didn’t feel great in China,” said Cassidy. “He didn’t get a lot of reps. I expect Charlie is going to be a very solid player every night and that he’s going to find his game quickly.

“He’s got a lot of price and he’s a good player, so it’s just a matter of keeping the focus on the task at hand and being ready to go when the puck drops. That’s the challenge for a lot of good, young players.”

McAvoy is going to play a ton of minutes in a workhorse role, and simply needs to make good, strong decisions when he’s on the ice, and those will lead to offense more often than not. That kind of game started flowing on Monday afternoon in the win over Ottawa, and there’s no reason to think it’s going to stop anytime soon.  

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Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

Is Bruce Cassidy over the Stanley Cup loss? 'Nope, not really'

The Boston Bruins went on the longest playoff run they possibly could have in 2019. But in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, they fell to the St. Louis Blues by a final score of 4-1. And that loss stung for a Bruins team that was widely expected to win the cup after a series of first-round upsets.

Now 10 weeks removed from the Stanley Cup loss, the Bruins faithful are still reeling from the defeat. That includes head coach Bruce Cassidy who confirmed that he isn't over losing the final.

"Nope, not really," Cassidy recently said, per Matt Porter of The Boston Globe. "Today I am. Tomorrow, depends if someone asks me a question that just happens to hit a nerve."

Cassidy would also go on to say that he might have a bit of difficulty seeing the Blues logo and having to watch them play, per Porter. 

"There might be a time on the road next year and we’re sitting there and I’m watching St. Louis play, because they’re playing Montreal and we play Montreal the next night, and I’ll be like, [expletive], you know? That’s the time you might start going backward."

Still, Cassidy is focusing his energy on preparing the Bruins for their season opener on Oct. 3 against the Dallas Stars. The Bruins are returning much of the same core that helped them win the Eastern Conference (minus Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari) so they are expected to be contenders in the East again.

Of course, they still have to figure out a way to agree to deals with restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo while staying under the salary cap, but once they do that, they should be in good position to make another run.

And safe to say, Cassidy and the Bruins will be looking to prove themselves after a disappointing finish last season.

Report: B's, Cassidy discussing extension>>>

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Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

Don Sweeney opens up about Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo contract talks

It's been a quiet offseason for the Bruins, but the elephant in the room has been the contract situations of defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

Bruins president Cam Neely said earlier this month negotiations were "still status quo" with the two restricted free agents. It's been radio silence from both sides since then, but on Thursday general manager Don Sweeney provided another update on how things are coming along in a conversation with Michael Tolvo of BostonBruins.com.

“Not as fast as everybody would like,” Sweeney admitted. “But that’s just the nature of the business and every negotiation has its own timeline. We’ll find a finish line at some point and time, Brandon and Charlie will be a part of our organization for a long time. We think really highly of them as players on and off the ice, we just have to find a common ground and we’re working to get there.”

While it's unclear what kinds of deals McAvoy and Carlo will receive, Bruins fans can at least take solace in Sweeney's confidence in the duo donning the Black and Gold for years to come.

As for a move the B's have made this summer, they did manage to lock up one of their RFA's, Danton Heinen. Both Noel Acciari (Florida Panthers) and Marcus Johannson (Buffalo Sabres) left in free agency.

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