BOSTON - Charlie McAvoy took part in his first NHL practice on Monday, after signing a three-year entry-level contract with Boston.
McAvoy could make his NHL debut on Wednesday night in Ottawa, when the Bruins kick off the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Senators.
"Very excited to be here and get done with my first NHL practice," McAvoy smile to a large gathering of Boston reporters.
"I think I got some of the nerves out today in practice," said McAvoy, who will wear No. 73. "Being on the ice with so many guys that I've looked up to my whole life, it's just very special, I don't really have words for it, but all of those guys, there's so much I can pull, as far as information from those guys, on how to be a better player, how to be a better person, so right now I'm just trying to be a sponge."
The Bruins called upon McAvoy after Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo sustained injuries in the final two games of the regular seasons.
Krug is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and is unlikely to start the series, while Carlo (upper body) was ruled out for Game 1. It it not yet known whether they will travel with the team to Ottawa on Tuesday. Games 1 and 2 are set for Wednesday and Saturday.
"Clearly with Krug's injury and Carlo's injury, I think that we looked at continuing to add to the depth of our group and the skill set that Charlie has," said General Manager Don Sweeney. "We feel comfortable with several other players that have been in conversation, to come up and provide that [depth], but as I said, I think Charlie's ready to be able to handle that, and we'll see."
Sweeney did not confirm that McAvoy would be getting into the lineup.
"Well, we'll have to see [when he gets in], if that's the decision Butch decides to make," General Manager Don Sweeney said of McAvoy. "We feel comfortable, having seen him play recently, with his skill set, that he'd be able to handle it."
The 19-year-old defenseman spent two weeks with the Providence Bruins and suited up in four games as a P-Bruin following his two-year college career at Boston University.
"He played well," said Sweeney. "He supported well, playing with Tommy Cross for the most part. Charlie did what he does best in moving pucks and he stayed physical when he's supposed to."
"He's learning the structure and learning to play without the puck, which is an area that we wanted him to understand at the next level, that it will be much more difficult, so it's been a sharp learning curve, and even sharper if he gets in to play this coming Wednesday or Saturday or whenever that is," said Sweeney. "And we feel very good about his skill set and what he brings to the table. He's a kid that seeks out the bigger moments."
McAvoy used his time in Providence to take in every moment, and learn as much as he could.
"My feeling down there [in Providence] was a day at a time, so [I was] not necessarily holding my breath or waiting for anything to happen," said McAvoy. "I was just focusing on where I was, and at the time, that was in Providence, and I was trying to get better every day down there, and be with that group, 100 percent invested, and it was a good few weeks there, and now I'm here, and I'm ready for the next step."
Video: McAvoy speaks after first NHL practice with Bruins
McAvoy was mostly paired with John-Michael Liles during Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena. Cassidy did specify that the right-shot McAvoy would play on his right side if he suits up for Game 1, likely with a veteran like Liles or Zdeno Chara, or with Kevan Miller playing his off side.
"Clearly we're just getting to know Charlie," said Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "Had a good practice today. I saw him play in Providence. He's got four games under his belt down there, where he played well, played to his strengths - puck moving, defended well, wants the puck, good composure. How that translates to the National Hockey League Game 1 of the playoffs is to be determined."
"He's still new to us, so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but Charlie's a guy up to this point that has had no problem in the limelight in big games, so we'll hope that continues."
With McAvoy signing the entry-level deal now, it kicks in for the 2016-17 season and he will "burn" a year of the contract.
"It's obviously an area you have to be concerned about from a planning perspective," said Sweeney. "We make the best decisions daily for the organization, and long-term. Sometimes those collide."
"We feel he's able to come in and provide the depth and some of the attributes that he has and you look at your team and realize you're in the playoffs and you've got to have all hands on deck, and we thought that Charlie could come in and add to that group."
Marchand Back in Lineup
The Bruins will get Brad Marchand back in their lineup on Wednesday night after he served his two-game suspension.
"Happy to have Brad back," said Sweeney. "He's a big, big part of the team and why we're here and I'm sure he'll be excited and well rested."
Marchand is more than ready to jump back into postseason action with his teammates for the first time since May 2014.
"We're all really excited," said Marchand. "We play all year for this, and obviously missing the last couple of years makes it a little more special. I think everyone realizes how lucky you are to be in the playoffs every year. I mean, it's not a given, and you have to work very hard to get there. I'm really excited to be back. Ottawa, they're a great team. We had a few tough battles with them this year and they played really good, so it's going to be a good series."
Other Lineup Notes
Forward Noel Acciari (upper body) has been ruled out for Game 1. David Krejci was given a maintenance day on Monday.
With Acciari unavailable, Cassidy said he'll likely tinker with the lines (apart from Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes).
Goaltender Anton Khudobin was not on the ice for Monday's practice, as he was getting tests done after not feeling well on Saturday. The Bruins called up Zane McIntyre from Providence on Monday, and he took part in the skate.
"He's having some subsequent tests done today, so I'll probably have a little bit more knowledge and be able to update you tomorrow as we go forward," Sweeney said of Khudobin on Monday. "But I'm waiting to hear back on some of the tests. He just didn't feel very well during the game, so we're just making sure we do all of the steps necessary to make sure he's healthy."
Video: Bruins sign Charlie McAvoy ahead of Ottawa series