Bruins Beat: Bruins: The Good and the Bad

Since most people like to hear the ‘good news’ first, we will begin with the upbeat announcement that the Boston Bruins have decided to keep 19-year-old Matt Poitras on their current roster. That was their decision at the culmination of the young man’s nine-game NHL tryout, during which time his future was in the balance of either playing in the NHL with the Bruins, or returning to Guelph, Ontario to rejoin his junior team, the Storm. Poitras looked good in training camp, good enough that he earned the nine-game tryout, and he certainly used the chance to impress, notching five points with 3 goals and 2 assists. When the puck is dropped, and the Bruins’ second-round pick (#54) in the NHL Draft, begins play in Thursday night’s game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, he will officially have begun the first year of his entry-level contract. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has praised Poitras from the beginning, showing his trust in the many ways he has used him in games, often pointing out his continued improvement on both ends of the ice, summing it up with “He earned it…we’re comfortable with him. There’s still no guarantees her the rest of the year. But we feel the way he’s progressed that for the time being he’s gonna be a Bruin. He’s helping us win hockey games.

From the other side of the ledger comes the ‘bad news’ from the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety, who announced that Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been suspended for four games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during NHL Game No. 130 in Boston on Monday, Oct. 30, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced. The incident occurred at 9:24 of the third period. McAvoy was assessed a match penalty. Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, McAvoy will forfeit $197,916.68. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. The Bruins are now 8-0-1 on the season, but the loss of McAvoy due to the suspension, and the injury to fellow blue liner Matt Grzelcyk (upper body), the locals are kind of thin on defense. McAvoy has been a top player for Boston, having already put up eight points to date, but it sounds like they may have to play a few without their top defenseman, just as he was heating up for them. The loss of the pair of defensemen once again opens the door for rookie Mason Lohrei, who was cut just before the start of the regular season, plus consideration for blue liners Jakub Zboril and Ian Mitchell.

The upcoming week’s schedule will include tonight’s (Thursday 7:30pm) with the Bruins hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs, before embarking on a brief two-game road trip that features a stop in Detroit (Saturday 7:00pm) – to face the Red Wings who currently lead the NHL with 40 goals scored, and a Monday 8:00pm meeting with the Dallas Stars. Followed by a return to TD Garden ice for a match with the New York Islanders on Thursday at 7:00pm. These four games will be contested against teams that have played at least 10 games, and they all have double digits in points to date. It will take a solid effort by the entire team, for Boston  to hold onto the top spot in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference, as both McAvoy and Grzelcyk will be out of the lineup for all four matches. The Bruins (8-0-1) and the Bruce Cassidy’s Vegas Golden Knights (9-0-1) remain as the only two NHL teams without a loss at press time (Wednesday).

Reminder to save the date… The Tradition: the Sports Museum’s 22nd Annual fundraising gala, will be held on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:00pm at TD Garden. The Tradition, will honor Dennis Eckersley (Baseball Legacy Award), Kevin Faulk (Football Legacy Award), Doc Rivers (Basketball Legacy Award), Briana Scurry (Soccer Legacy Award), Bob Sweeney (Hockey Legacy Award), and Dana White (Special Achievement Award). Presenters for each honoree and the program hosts will be announced in the coming weeks. Ticketed guests will be treated to a cocktail reception and a ‘talk-show’ style presentation. Tickets for this fundraiser will benefit The Sports Museum are on sale now at Tickets for The Tradition are $400.

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