Charlie McAvoy got away with a proverbial slap on the wrist following his illegal check to Josh Anderson’s head in Game 6. He wasn’t as fortunate with Tuesday’s ruling from the Department of Player Safety.
McAvoy, for the first time in his career, earned supplemental discipline from the NHL Tuesday night. The 21-year-old defenseman will miss Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night at TD Garden after the league handed him a one-game ban for his hit on Anderson late in the second period.
The former Boston University standout only served a two-minute minor in Columbus. He was lucky he didn’t serve a cross-check or another similar penalty, which could’ve resulted in a game misconduct. But an illegal check doesn’t warrant a major or game misconduct according to Rule 48.1.
Anderson returned to the ice for the third period. The Bruins secured the 3-0 win with tallies from Marcus Johansson and David Backes in the final stanza.
So instead of sitting for a potential Game 7, McAvoy will sit for Game 1 for his head hit, albeit unintentional.
“It is important to note that while Anderson’s body and far shoulder do absorb some contact on this check,” the league said in its ruling, “The main point of contact on the hit is the head. McAvoy’s shoulder clearly makes direct and forceful contact with the head of Anderson, and Anderson’s head absorbs the brunt of the impact.
“It is also important to note that the head contact on this play is avoidable. While hits from the side are not illegal, they are difficult to execute legally. In this case, while we accept McAvoy’s case that he is not intentionally trying to hit Anderson in the head, he takes an angle of approach that cuts along the front of Anderson’s body rather than through the near shoulder and core.”
McAvoy will return for Game 2 against the Hurricanes — likely on Saturday or Sunday. The remaining Eastern Conference Finals schedule will be announced at a later date.
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