BOSTON - Charlie McAvoy has had an eventful first half of the season. From kicking off his sophomore campaign 12-time zones away from the comfort of home to battling a variety of tough luck injuries, McAvoy's season has not exactly gone according to plan. The 21-year-old has missed the previous seven games after blocking a shot against the Canadiens, causing the area around his ankle to "explode" and requiring stitches. The injury later began to show signs of infection, extending his time out of the lineup.
Having skated with the team fully since Wednesday, McAvoy looks like a good bet to make his return against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
"It's trending that way," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy when asked if his young defenseman will play Saturday. "We'll officially announce tomorrow. Let's get through pregame skate."
Video: Cassidy addresses media after practice on Friday
After missing the past seven games, Cassidy expects there to be an adjustment period for McAvoy as he re-acclimates himself to the speed of the game.
"I think it's unfair to judge Charlie right away too quickly," said Cassidy. "Lets probably revisit this assuming we stay healthy, maybe into later next week when Charlie has played a few more games and see where we're at."
McAvoy's addition to the lineup would mark the first time in the 2018-19 the Bruins could have their full complement of defenseman healthy and available.
"Then the obvious question is who comes out," said Cassidy. "Until [McAvoy] declares himself in I don't want to go down that road. Today we practiced a certain way so you can probably draw your own conclusions, but he goes in the right side. It would probably come down to Griz [Matt Grzelcyk] or Moore on the left side. It would come out that way, balance it three lefts and three rights. We'll know more tomorrow but it's certainly looking like he'll get in."
At practice on Friday, Charlie skated on the left side next to Zdeno Chara. Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo formed the second pairing followed by Matt Grzelcyk and Kevan Miller. John Moore skated with Steven Kampfer as a fourth practice pairing.
When deciding between Grzelcyk and Moore, there are a number of things for Cassidy to consider, including special teams.
"They both contribute on each one," said Cassidy of Grzelcyk and Moore's power play and penalty kill efforts. "They are secondary. First group is obviously Torey [Krug] on the power play, first kill is obviously Zee [Zdeno Chara] and Carlo, Miller. They are secondary on both. Johnny, he has two power play goals for us in not a lot of time, so can't overlook that. Griz does play on the second unit. Charlie coming in. He's a second unit guy so we're getting one back. And Charlie can kill too. However the situation plays out, I think we have enough balance that our special teams should remain relatively strong."
Rick Nash announced on Friday his retirment from hockey due to "unresolved issues/symptoms from the concussion sustained last March". Nash finished his career for the Bruins after being acquired at the trade deadline, and was a part of the playoff team that defeated the Maple Leafs before falling to Tampa in the second round. His Bruins career was unfortunately shortened by a concussion. Nash notched three goals and three assists for six points in 11 regular season games, in addition to scoring another three goals in 12 playoff contests for the Bruins
Nash was third among active players in goals scored prior to retiring, notching 437 goals and 368 assists in 1,060 career games. A six-time All-Star, Nash played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the New York Rangers and the Bruins over his illustrious 15 seasons in the NHL.