After a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night, the Boston Bruins and their fans were preparing for even worse news on Friday.
In addition to losing the game, Bruins superstar defenseman Charlie McAvoy left the game early in the third period following a collision with Buffalo Sabres forward J.J. Peterka. Bruins’ head coach, Jim Montgomery, did not have a postgame status on his best defenseman except that he had an upper-body injury. From the looks of the injury and the immediate aftermath, though, it appeared as if McAvoy may have suffered a concussion and, if so, that the Bruins could be missing him for their game with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
The more I watch this, I agree with Scott. Sneaky elbow by Peterka. https://t.co/KSguYAUD22
— MurphysLaw74 (Jimmy Murphy) (@MurphysLaw74) December 8, 2023
Things didn’t look any more promising when McAvoy wasn’t on the ice for practice on Friday, but Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery calmed the masses with some positive news in his post-practice presser.
“Day to day,” the Bruins bench boss said of his best defenseman’s status. “We’re hopeful for [Saturday]. I do want to rule out it’s nothing with the head. It’s the upper body. Nothing with the head.”
#NHLBruins updates per Coach Montgomery:
▪️Charlie McAvoy is day-to-day: "We're hopeful for tomorrow. I do want to rule out it's nothing with the head. It's the upper body."
▪️Jeremy Swayman was back at practice and is likely to dress on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/p0r3abHViP
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 8, 2023
The Boston Bruins were already missing veteran defenseman Derek Forbort, a mainstay defensive and shutdown presence on their third pairing, after they placed him on long-term injury reserve and recalled rookie puck-moving defenseman Mason Lohrei before the loss to the Sabres. That’s why the McAvoy news on Friday was huge for a team that is feeling the after-effects of a vicious flu bug that ripped through the dressing room this past week and sidelined goalie Jeremy Swayman on Thursday night.
Note: After recalling goalie Brandon Bussi to replace Swayman and back up starting goalie Linus Ullmark on Thursday night, the Bruins returned him to the Providence Bruins on Friday afternoon. That indicates that Swayman will at least be available to back up his hug partner, Ullmark, on Saturday.