Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins on 'pins and needles' over McAvoy's health after late hit by Toronto's Hyman

Erin Walsh
December 08, 2018 - 11:11 pm

The Bruins and the Maple Leafs combined for 45 hits, 98 penalty minutes and three fights in the Bruins' 6-3 win at TD Garden on Saturday.

The most-damaging hit came with 10:07 left in the third period when Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy made a pass behind the Boston net and then got nailed late by Toronto forward Zach Hyman. McAvoy was attended to by trainer Don Del Negro, and then he left the game. He returned to the bench in the closing minutes and went on to the ice when he was announced as the game's Third Star.

This was just the second game back after 20-year-old defenseman suffered the first concussion of his career in October missed 20 games.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy wasn't pleased about the hit.

“I thought it was late, I thought it was unnecessary,” said Cassidy. “If the league takes a look at it, I guess I don’t know if they will or not. Usually they do on those if there’s a major [penalty> involved. ... But again it’s one of those things, you’re at a point of the game and there hasn’t been a lot of body checking from their team, all of a sudden there’s a late, blind, unsuspecting one, it just annoys you.”

Hyman was given a game misconduct and the NHL Department of Player Safety was reportedly reviewing the hit.

Cassidy wondered if McAvoy was a target because he was coming back from a concussion.

“Especially it was Charlie who’s just coming back, so you wonder: are they targeting him or not? You don’t know that. I’d like to think it was just a guy playing hard and got there late and didn’t pull up, but our guys responded well.”

Will McAvoy be able to play against Ottawa on Sunday?

“That was the league-mandated protocol, he got through it,” Cassidy said. “So I suppose until tomorrow comes and he wakes up we’re all going to be a little bit on pins and needles, but he was cleared to come back.”

The Bruins played the final 10:07 against Toronto with four defensemen because Matt Grzelcyk fought Hyman in retaliation for the hit and was assess a game misconduct. Boston was able to survive with two points but they can't afford to be without McAvoy for another extended period.

Related: What Bruce Cassidy thinks of the Bruins’ need for an ‘enforcer’