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Avs Hopping Mad At McAvoy For ‘Dirty’ Lehkonen Hit

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Cale Makar

It didn’t make much of a ripple with Boston Bruins fans, but apparently the Colorado Avalanche fans and media are hopping made at B’s defenseman Charlie McAvoy headed into Wednesday night’s rematch between the B’s and Avalanche at Ball Arena.

It all spans back to last week’s decisive 5-1 win for the Boston Bruins at TD Garden when Artturi Lehkonen tried to jam at a loose puck in front of the Boston net and ended up on top of Linus Ullmark while taking whacks at the puck as it was covered up by the Bruins goaltender. McAvoy took rightful umbrage with the liberties taken with his goalie and hauled Lehkonen off Ullmark as both players fell backward while in the skirmish. Ullmark had just returned from injury to play in this Colorado game, and it’s understandable that his defensemen corps was going to be zealous in protecting him amidst a Vezina Trophy-level season.

No penalty was called on the play, nor should there have been in this humble hockey writer’s eyes.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater, though, called the play dirty as Lehkonen was injured during the sequence and demanded that the Avalanche need to respond and let McAvoy “know it wasn’t forgotten.”

To Dater’s credit, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar also thought McAvoy’s play was “dirty” when asked by the media so one would expect the Bruins defenseman will have his head on a swivel in Colorado.

The Avs bench boss claimed it was because of the takedown and because it was “after whistle” though replays show both players were already down on the ice when the whistles blew.

So that part of the Colorado account just isn’t even factual.

The whole thing actually wasn’t too far off from Dater also calling Taylor Hall dirty for this play on Nathan MacKinnon where careful replay views showed that the Avalanche center actually hit himself in the face with his own stick from the force of a punishing hit from the Boston Bruins winger that was far from dirty. Hall was given a minor penalty on the play, but only because the referees were obligated to give him two minutes after mistakenly calling it a five minute major because they were able to ascertain what actually happened.

The question becomes, though, whether the Avalanche have it in mind to get some form of retribution for last week’s activity with Lehkonen (day-to-day) perhaps out of the lineup for a banged-up Colorado team that’s mostly treading water this season.

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