The injury that hampered Charlie Coyle for much of 2021 was hardly a new thing, from the sound of it.
The Boston Bruins center had to undergo offseason surgery to fix an avulsion fracture in his left kneecap and small tear of his patellar tendon, but returned to the ice in August. The expectation long had been he would be able to participate in training camp.
Coyle visibly was not right in a 2021 season that saw him score just six goals with 10 assists in 51 games. Even in stretches of the bumpy 2019-20 campaign, there were moments Coyle didn’t look like the sometimes-dominant version of himself that arrived in 2019 at the February trade deadline.
Turns out, the pain he was dealing with wasn’t solely a 2021 issue.
“I really didn’t know what it was for a while,” Coyle said Wednesday at the Bruins’ annual charity golf tournament. “It’s been two or three years. It just progressively had gotten worse over the last couple, and then we finally addressed it, found out what it was, so then we took care of it. Hopefully put that behind me and be good to go.
A fully healthy Coyle is an important thing to watch this season, especially since he’ll get first crack at claiming the second-line center role vacated by David Krejci.