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Nasty Boarding Hit Ends McAvoy’s Night For Boston Bruins

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Nobody would fault the Boston Bruins for holding their breath after watching No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy leave Wednesday night’s game in the third period after getting slammed head-first into the side boards during an awkward play.

Buffalo winger Zemgus Girgensons was bounced from Wednesday night’s 5-1 Bruins win over the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Arena with a boarding major and game misconduct after slamming McAvoy hard from behind into the side boards. McAvoy exited the game as well, and obviously there was big time concern given that the Bruins star defenseman has battled some concussion issues already in his NHL career.

The good news: Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated that McAvoy was okay following the game, and it appeared that a cut over his eye was the worst fallout from a dangerous-looking collision.

“He got some stitches, but he was up moving around. So he’s good. I don’t expect there will be much going on. He’ll have a gash over his eye, but hopefully there’s no other [issues],” said Cassidy of McAvoy, who finished with an assist in 18:38 of ice time against the Sabres. “You think [concussion when] the head goes into the boards like that, but right now that’s not the case. Let’s hope he wakes up healthy and feeling good, he’ll have some turkey tomorrow and be ready to go [on] Friday.”

“I know if it was our player hitting a guy like that then he was in a tough spot just finishing his check. At the end of the day, they’re trying to get those hits out, but I don’t think there was any malicious intent [from Girgensons].”

One would expect there isn’t going to be any supplemental discipline on the hit as McAvoy did turn slightly away from Girgensons to protect the puck before he was wiped out by the Buffalo forward.

The other takeaway from the scare with McAvoy is that it wasn’t nearly good enough in the response department teamwide for the Black and Gold. Granted Cassidy didn’t think it was an intentionally bad hit following the game, but the Bruins are playing with fire if they allow their franchise defenseman to start getting run by teams like the Sabres late in a one-sided game. They could certainly use another hardnosed player willing to drop the gloves to defend himself and his teammates just like McAvoy did last weekend in Philly when Flyers forward Joel Farabee went looking for trouble.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Rick W Murray

If Chuck goes down this team is done with the exception of first line nothing much else going on

William Mahoney

Cassidy had the best comments – its hockey!

Dan Jay

Sabres fan here and I have to say that I am glad McAvoy is okay… those hits are always scary. I also give Bruins fans credit for admitting it was a tough spot and McAvoy did turn at the last second as Girgensons was trying to finish the check. Girgensons is not a dirty player and his track record shows that. Unfortunately, with the speed of the game, there are going to be situations like this from time to time.

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