BOSTON (CBS) — Charlie McAvoy was only assessed a two-minute minor penalty for his hit to the head of Josh Anderson on Monday night. But the Bruins’ defenseman may be facing some further punishment.
The NHL department of player safety announced on Tuesday morning that McAvoy will have a hearing for the hit. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, which should give the Bruins ample time to prepare if McAvoy will be forced to sit out a game or games to begin the upcoming Eastern Conference finals.
The hit came late in the second period, with the Bruins leading 1-0. Anderson carried the puck along the right wing into the Boston zone when McAvoy skated toward the boards and delivered a hit. The principal point of contact of McAvoy’s shoulder certainly appeared to have been the head of Anderson, who went down to the ice.
The minor penalty call became a bit of a debate point, though the NHL rulebook states that such an infraction only warrants a two-minute minor, unless the referee on the ice determines that the hit was delivered with a deliberate intent to injure.
Working in McAvoy’s favor for a lenient treatment is his clean history (zero suspensions or fine in his two-year NHL career) and the fact that Anderson returned to the game to play in the third period.
The NHL has issued three separate suspensions during this current postseason. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov was suspended for one game for boarding Markus Nutivaara, Toronto’s Nazem Kadri was issued a three-to-five-game suspension (that ended up being five games) for a cross-check to the head of Jake DeBrusk, and in what would be the most applicable case to McAvoy, San Jose’s Joe Thornton was suspended for one game for an illegal check to the head of Tomas Nosek.
McAvoy, 21, has averaged a team-leading 24:46 of ice time during this postseason, working in a top-pair role alongside captain Zdeno Chara. He has one goal and five assists from the blue line to go with a plus-8 rating in 13 games.