Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been suspended four games for his hit to the head of Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson 9:28 into the third period of the Bruins 3-2 overtime win on Monday night.
Click here for the official statement and video from the NHL Department of Player Safety.
McAvoy has only been suspended once in his career. That came due to a late hit he laid on then-Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson during the Bruins’ six-game series win over Columbus in the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On Monday night, Charlie McAvoy tied the game against the Panthers at two 7:20 into the the third period. Just over two minutes later, he delivered an unnecessary and predatory headshot to the head of Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. That senseless act earned McAvoy a match penalty and ejection from the game when his team needed him most, as they then had to kill off a five-minute major thanks to him.
Charlie McAvoy has been given a 5-minute match penalty for this hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson. pic.twitter.com/el8lOEY8M3
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 31, 2023
An NHL source told Boston Hockey Now on Tuesday morning that he expected McAvoy to get ‘2-4 games’ for the hit.
“I mean, that one is pretty cut and dry: textbook headshot and predatory,” the source opined. “I mean, look at that crazed look in his eyes. That tells me it was premeditated.”
It turns out that source was on target, and now the Bruins will need to begin a tough four-game stretch without their best defenseman, who was just starting to ramp up with two goals and three assists in his last three games. The Boston Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday before heading out on a two-game road trip that brings them to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Saturday night and then south to Dallas to play the Stars on Monday. They then come back to host the New York Islanders on Thursday before heading to Montreal for their first game against the Canadiens on Nov. 11.