BOSTON - For the first time, Charlie McAvoy is experiencing the grind of an 82-game NHL season. The 19-year-old has been a cornerstone to the Bruins defense thus far, but now he is faced with an obstacle he has yet to experience.
"I've never had any knee problems, lower body things like that," said McAvoy. "[I've] played thousands of hockey games at whatever level and nothing like that. Just kind of felt a little confused as to what happened."
Since the play, McAvoy has had time to watch the replay and try to process what happened.
"I guess I hit a rut," said McAvoy. "I don't know if my leg was relaxed or whatever it may be. It happened and just accept it now and now we're on to rehab."
As the rest of the Bruins prepare for a grueling March schedule, McAvoy is setting his sights on his return.
"My goal is to get back as soon as I can," said McAvoy. "As fast as possible. That being said, not putting myself at risk to come back early to potentially hurt it again…We're working really hard here and we have a good game plan as to the necessary steps to get back.
"I'm confident that I'll be back. My ultimate goal would be to be back for regular season games to give myself an opportunity to get up to pace and try and find my game a bit before the playoffs. Whatever happens, there will be a reason behind it and just stay positive."
While the young defender is aiming for a regular season return, his experience in last year's postseason has given him confidence in his ability to step into a playoff series and contribute.
"I'd like to lean on that a lot," McAvoy said of what he takes from last year's first round playoff series with the Senators. "What an experience that was. It's something I've been looking forward to ever since after the all-star break here, the second half.
"It's the best time of the year. The energy level is going to be through the roof. It's really why I hope to get back during the regular season, to get ready for that. It's exciting. It's an exciting time of year, and these guys are playing great right now and keep it going."
Despite the injury, McAvoy will try and take any positives he can from the situation.
"This is the unfortunate circumstance that I've been dealt," said McAvoy. "I do get a chance to kind of lay low for a little bit. I have a couple days where I won't be able to do anything. Rest my mind, rest my body.
"This is an injury where I can do rehab and I can do conditioning. I can do conditioning whereas during the year it's hard to do that. There is, there's positives that come with it. Obviously, it's more of a negative I think. No one likes to be hurt. I'll definitely utilize this time to put myself in the best position."
Although McAvoy will not be on the ice with his teammates for the next few weeks, he is confident in the Bruins ability to win games.
"Obviously, I won't be part of it for a little bit," said McAvoy. "But I have complete faith in these guys to keep winning hockey games. We have a really deep team. I think we'll be in a good positon when [playoffs] come, and when it does come, I can't wait."