The Boston Bruins have started the season great and were looking to improve their record to 8-0-1 with a win over the Florida Panthers. It would’ve helped them to finish the game with more than four defensemen, but during a tight and intense game, they lost two defensemen.
Matt Grzelcyk left the game to an upper-body injury, and in the third period, Charlie McAvoy had to leave as well, but for a completely different reason.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson stood in front of his own net when Charlie McAvoy collided with him with a blind-side hit in the head. The puck wasn’t anywhere near where the incident occurred, and there was no doubt that the contact was on Ekman-Larsson’s head.
McAvoy was ejected from the game, given a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head.
The hit happened with the game being tied 2-2 and with ten minutes left on the clock. The Bruins, down to only two defensemen after losing Grzelcyk and McAvoy, successfully killed off the five-minute penalty to force overtime, where Pavel Zacha decided the game.
McAvoy may earn himself a suspension for the hit, at least judging by the comments and reactions on social media, where fans were absolutely furious about the nasty and unnecessary hit to the head. But it wasn’t just fans that lashed out at Charlie McAvoy. One former Boston Bruins player did as well.
Aaron Ward retired in 2010 but played in the Boston Bruins from 2007 to 2009. He won three Stanley Cups, two with the Detroit Red Wings and one with the Carolina Hurricanes, and slammed McAvoy for his hit on X, formerly Twitter.
Ward said that he sees a neurologist every six months to get checked for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and feels hits as the one McAvoy laid could do severe damage to players’ well-being in the future.
”How are we still here? My era maybe we didn’t know better and/or didn’t know what we know now. Most of us who are finished with the game are scared shitless of CTE awaiting in the next decades. These guys can do better. Better than this,” he said about the hit.