Charlie McAvoy still is adjusting to life as a professional hockey player.
The Boston Bruins defenseman has missed his team’s last four games with a foot injury, which cropped up shortly after he returned from a lengthy concussion-related absence. While it would be unfair to label the 21-year-old as “injury prone” there’s no denying the talented blueliner has had trouble staying on the ice.
But it appears McAvoy has trouble even getting to the ice, as well. In a recent lighthearted interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty, Bruins winger Brad Marchand joked about McAvoy having tardiness issues.
“The kid always seems to find himself in trouble being late for everything,” Marchand said. ” … I’ve never seen anybody more late for planes, buses or meetings than that kid.”
Marchand’s comments understandably raised a few eyebrows, and left many wondering just how problematic McAvoy’s lateness is.
Then, in a piece published Monday by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, McAvoy admitted to being late on two specific occassions. And Bruins president Cam Neely, who previously minimized McAvoy’s tardiness during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz,” confirmed McAvoy’s admission, while saying lateness is “frowned upon” and the Bruins’ locker room “handled it.” Neely did say the situation is not a “major issue,” though.
With all of this negative attention surrounding his youngest player, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy defended McAvoy on Monday.
Here’s what Cassidy had to say, via Boston Sports Journal’s Conor Ryan:
In Dupont’s piece, McAvoy identified Marchand as the player who called him out on his behavior.
“We really addressed it there, the habits that I need to have,” McAvoy said. “As a younger guy on the team and someone who’s growing. He’s really looking out for my future. How I carry myself now will set the standard for how I am for the rest of my career.
“And for that I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Marchand himself downplayed McAvoy’s issues while speaking to Haggerty on Monday.
“Chucky is a great kid and an awesome teammate,” Marchand said. “He’s a very good person, very good teammate and very good kid, and he’s going to be a great hockey player for this team for a long time. But everybody goes through things where you’re coming in as a new guy, and you have to learn the way and the ropes. Things like that happen.
“ … It’s not an issue in the room, and it wasn’t really necessary for Kevin Paul DuPont to make it an issue. Chucky is a great teammate and great player for this team, and it’s a non-issue for this room.”
At the end of the day, it’s clear McAvoy has at least some growing up to do. But that’s hardly something he should be condemned for, as he still would be in college right now had he not jumped to the pros after his sophomore season.
What matters most is making sure McAvoy is healthy for the stretch run, as the Boston University product is pivotal toward Boston’s chances of playing deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement./USA TODAY Sports Images