Only two remain on the Bruins’ injury list. One of those names is closer to returning after practicing for the first time since his latest ailment on Wednesday.
After skating on his own the past two days, Charlie McAvoy joined his teammates for the first time since Boston’s 5-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 23.
Aside from a blip at the beginning of practice — taking a puck to the groin — McAvoy had a relatively smooth day skating as an extra on D with Steven Kampfer. He’ll miss the Bruins’ tilt with the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Thursday night, but could return as early as Saturday in Toronto for their final matchup of the regular season with the Maple Leafs.
“It’s good to be back just skating with the guys and to put [the injury] behind me and continue to feel better every day,” McAvoy said following the on-ice session in Brighton.
McAvoy’s latest lower-body ailment isn’t the only thing he’s happy to leave behind. Now, he’s looking ahead toward joining a Bruins squad that’s won five in a row and eight of their last 10.
The former Boston University standout is also eager to leave that pre-Christmas performance in Carolina behind. Yet the injury didn’t occur during that tilt with the Hurricanes. McAvoy admitted that his latest foot ailment came during the Bruins’ 4-0 win in Montreal on Dec. 17.
McAvoy toughed it out for a few games but an infection put an abrupt end to his holiday.
“I blocked a shot against Montreal in the game we beat them,” McAvoy said. “It actually exploded like the skin inside my skate. So I got stitches in there and, you know, played through Christmas and I tried to work through it and then we were excited to take three days to let it heal.
“But unfortunately [Dec.] 24th, 25th, I started to notice signs of infection. So I got back to Boston and I got on [the healing process] right away with some antibiotics. The doctors made sure we got right on top of making sure we got right on top of it. Unfortunately, I had to cut time short with my family, but it was good to get on top of it.”
McAvoy didn’t have to look too far in getting some advice from teammates that went through a similar process. Both David Backes and David Pastrnak had similar infections that flared up after a lower-body injury.
“It’s a little frustrating,” Backes said about his process. “It’s something that you think is very minor, especially in the scope of hockey injuries. The risks involved of trying to play through it…keeps you on the sidelines longer than you’d like it to. And just the waiting game until you hear the doctors say ‘go for it’ then once you get the go ahead then you’re chomping at the bit and you get to jump right in full speed. Hopefully, he’ll be back in game action sooner rather than later.”
Sounds like a teammate that’s looking forward to McAvoy’s return, even with any minor issue of tardiness.
McAvoy addressed his story of arriving late to team functions as first reported by The Boston Globe. And, once again, he’s happy to put that story behind him.
“There’s definitely a learning opportunity in trying to be receptive to that. It wasn’t really a big thing that was going on. I think people figured that out after and they were surprised to even hear about such a thing,” McAvoy said.
“But we had a conversation amongst the young guys and the veterans. Like I said before we’re very fortunate enough to have them. Like I said before, you’re very fortunate enough to have guys like Zee [Zdeno Chara] and Marshy [Brad Marchand] — just real consummate pros who I at least idolize and want to be just like. So if I can learn their habits and I can learn things like that at a young age then I’ll be so much better off for it.”
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