BOSTON - It was announced today that Charlie McAvoy suffered a sprained left knee and will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks. While his minutes will be tough to replace, members of the Bruins expressed relief that the injury will not end the rookies season.
"Could have been worse obviously…" said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy after the team's optional pregame skate on Tuesday. "We have lots of depth and he will be back. I can't tell you exactly when…Hopefully he heals quick and keeps his conditioning up."
Video: Bruins tweak lineup with McAvoy sidelined
McAvoy conditioning is a concern going down the stretch run, but he will be pushed to maintain his edge by fellow teammate Patrice Bergeron, who is also recovering from an injury.
"Clearly, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] knows what to expect coming out of it," said Cassidy. "We'll get him to talk to Charlie about what to do between now and then so that you don't drop off. It's natural when you don't play this time of year. Especially when the intensity goes up. You're going to lose a little bit of your edge.
"He has to find a way to keep up with his conditioning and keep mentally sharp during this stretch of time…We will rely on Bergy in that area a little bit to keep him focused as best he can without actually being in the lineup."
Cassidy maintained that the team will try to take any positives they can from the situation, including the opportunity to play more of their defenseman.
"It allows other players to go into different roles and allow the player to have a bit of breather during the stretch run," said Cassidy. "That's the way we're looking at it. Hopefully he comes back healthy and ready to go."
With 19 games remaining, the team will look to have McAvoy back prior to the start of the playoffs.
"Assuming its on that timeline, he'll have a little bit of time to get ready before playoffs," said Cassidy. "Again, that's still a stretch away, I don't know how that will all play out…We'll see when Charlie comes back, how important are the games versus how important is it that he gets back in the lineup? How much time will he need? Those are questions that we will try to get back in front of and he's ready to answer."
While the goal is to have McAvoy back into the lineup before the playoffs, there is comfort in knowing he has experience jumping straight into the intensity of the playoffs.
"I think that does help him," said Cassidy about McAvoy's experience last season of being dropped into a playoff series. "It allows us a little comfort that if he doesn't get a lot of time before and if he is ready come playoff time, he has been through it."
With McAvoy out, Brandon Carlo will replace him on the first pairing alongside Zdeno Chara. The second pairing will see Nick Holden shift over to the right defense position and play next to Torey Krug. Matt Grzelcyk is back to full strength and will rejoin the lineup alongside Kevan Miller.
Fourth Line Shuffle
In addition to the changes on the back end, the Bruins will also make an adjustment to the fourth line prior to tonight's matchup with the Red Wings. After sitting out the team's most recent game against the Canadiens, Tommy Wingels will return to the Bruins lineup on the fourth line. Wingels will be replacing Noel Acciari on the right wing.
Cassidy reiterated that the decision was made in an effort to keep all the forwards involved.
"We have 13 healthy guys playing through bumps and bruises," said Cassidy. "We are going to try and use them all through this stretch. It's nothing against Noel. One of the reasons Tommy was acquired was to look at him in different spots. That's the line he'll go in tonight."
Wingels commented after skating on Tuesday that his goal is simply to fill his role.
"Just go out and play," said Wingels. "This is a good team here. A lot of things going well. Winning a lot. Jut go out there and fill my role and just help contribute to another win."
As Wingels prepares to suit up for the third time in a Bruins uniform, he took note of how motivated the team is as a whole.
"This is a group of highly skilled motivated, driven players," said Wingels. "From some of the older vets to some of the younger guys. Each guy has one mentality and that is to win. Whether a guy comes in and fills in for someone whose hurt, whether he plays more of an expanded role than he's used to - it's towards the ultimate goal of winning.
"You could feel that from the day I got here. It's guys who enjoy being around each other and enjoy coming to the rink. Winning goes a long way. When you win a lot, confidence soars through the roof, and injuries don't derail that. So, the confidence will get the job done."
Video: Wingels speaks about being back in the lineup
With a minor injury that sidelined him for the game against the Canadiens, Cassidy maintained that the B's will give their No. 1 goaltender more time to fully heal.
"Tuukka is out skating today," said Cassidy. "He's feeling better…we'll make a decision after the skate, talk to Tuukka and if he feels if he had to go in and he could do it, he would back up. Otherwise we would look at a goaltender from Providence."
Coming off a 28-save, one-goal-against performance against the Canadiens on Saturday, Anton Khudobin will make his second consecutive start tonight versus Detroit.
Brad Marchand - Riley Nash - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Rick Nash
Danton Heinen - David Backes - Brian Gionta
Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Tommy Wingels
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug - Nick Holden
Matt Grzelcyk - Kevan Miller