Brad Marchand on talk with Charlie McAvoy: 'It’s not a big deal'

Matt Kalman
January 07, 2019 - 3:11 pm

If Charlie McAvoy has a tardiness issue, it’s news to coach Bruce Cassidy.

“It kind of surprised me this morning because Charlie, at like team functions, I don’t know if he’s ever been late to our stuff. I asked Zee [captain Zdeno Chara] that, he said maybe … sometimes they have organized workouts on the road, if we have a day off. So maybe he came in late for one of those once. I don’t know,” Cassidy said after practice Monday.

“But I don’t know of Charlie ever being late on my watch here. The only beef I ever had with him was starting practice a little quicker. I thought he, like a lot of young guys that are used to practicing for an hour and a half, say ‘hey, we’re out here 35 minutes, let’s go right away.’ I talked to him once or twice about it last year, not even this year. So I’m not sure where that comes from, I don’t see it, I just feel that a lot of the younger guys need to learn a little bit about that, ‘hey, it’s better to be early then if it’s an 11 o’clock meeting showing up at 10:59.’”

The reason the subject was raised with Cassidy was a joke Brad Marchand made in an interview with a local sports television station a couple weeks ago became sports-radio fodder. The matter then became the subject of an extensive Boston Globe news story that revealed McAvoy was late at least twice and had to be spoken to by the Bruins leadership group, including Brad Marchand.

But Marchand told on Monday that a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

“Again, Chuck’s a good player and a good teammate and a good kid,” Marchand said. “There’s no issue there. Everyone slips. It goes back to my first couple years, I know I got in a lot of trouble for some things. Segs [Tyler Seguin] missed a game because he was late for a meeting. That stuff happens to young guys. Michael Ryder, he wouldn’t even set an alarm and he’d show up late every other day. Things happen at times, it’s not a big deal, we’ll just pay attention to it and manage things in the room. But again there’s much bigger things that we need to worry about.”

Judging by his comments in the Globe, McAvoy has learned his lesson about punctuality and understands the importance of being early rather than just on time. Cam Neely said in the Globe story that McAvoy hasn’t come close to being disciplined by the team in the manner Seguin was in December 2011, when he was scratched after missing a team breakfast.

The bigger story here might be that on a Bruins team loaded with leaders, Marchand, who even at 30 gives off a bit of an air of a big, silly kid on and off the ice, felt empowered to step up.

Marchand has worn an alternate captain’s ‘A’ a handful of times despite his sometimes-questionable behavior (licking faces, anyone?). But that McAvoy singled out Marchand’s words as the ones that resonated with him proves that in the Bruins’ dressing room Marchand is emerging as a voice of reason along with the likes of Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and David Krejci.

“With our group we feel very comfortable talking to anybody at any time about anything,” Marchand said. “And again, it’s not a big deal, so it’s very easy for me to have a conversation with him or with anyone. We just want to tighten things up a little bit around the room, around the rink. So I feel like I’m in a position to do that. Bergy, Backs, Zee and Krech deal with all the big things and I can deal with some of the little ones.”

If Marchand is talking to younger players and setting a positive example off the ice, that will only benefit his game and the Bruins. And, who’s still just 21, could find a worse person to listen to.

“If somebody’s late, someone slips out of line, things are dealt with a certain way,” Marchand said. “And that’ll happen within the room but, yeah, we all understand the situation and if this was a serious issue then we would have a much bigger conversation. But Chuck’s a good kid, he’s going to learn from it and move on and be the player for this organization that we need him to be.”

Related: Kalman: Why it’s doubtful we’ll see Zdeno Chara matching up against second lines the rest of this season