Boston Bruins: Untold story behind Charlie McAvoy’s tears

BOSTON - JUNE 12: Boston Bruins' Charlie McAvoy leaves the ice in tears following the Bruins' 4-1 loss. The Boston Bruins host the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden in Boston on June 12, 2019. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 12: Boston Bruins' Charlie McAvoy leaves the ice in tears following the Bruins' 4-1 loss. The Boston Bruins host the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals at TD Garden in Boston on June 12, 2019. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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Charlie McAvoy has worked himself out to be one of the most reliable and perhaps the best Boston Bruins defenseman. Even though his play and skating seem unfazed of any kind of challenge, the loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was too much for him.

He is just 21-year-old, but he has already left his mark and presence on the Boston Bruins defense. In the playoffs, his third playoffs in his practically second NHL season, Charlie McAvoy was relied on.

The Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy trusted his still young blue-liner who has led the Bruins in ice time during their Stanley Cup run. That run ended with only 15 wins, not with the magic 16. The Bruins came awfully close, also thanks to McAvoy and his great display every time he stepped on the ice surface.

More than that, he was one of the main voices for the Boston Bruins in the locker room. He wasn’t shy to talk and be so loud whenever his team needed him. With Zdeno Chara, the leader of the leaders, played through the broken jaw, in Game 5 McAvoy led him on the ice. It’s not usual that a 21-year-old defenseman guides the 42-year-old veteran.

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Nevertheless, McAvoy is the huge Bruins presence. Despite his young age and his short NHL career. In the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins selected McAvoy at 16th overall in the first round.

Just three years from there, he was a part of a team playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. After that loss, he broke into tears. From all the players left on the ice with red and wet eyes, stunned in disbelief, McAvoy just cried.

If there was a one to blame for that Game 7 loss, he wasn’t that man in any case. After the unsuccessful ending, he spoke to the media. He was stunned and heartbroken. Absolutely rotten. Why though?

Let’s look at the background of those tears. In his first season, in January 2017, McAvoy underwent a heart procedure to remove an abnormal heart rhythm. In fact, those problems occurred originally in November 2016. This kind of issues can either take a few weeks of recovery and rest or may threaten your life, not the career only.

McAvoy recovered and came back. For what? For an MCL sprain at the beginning of March. Just a very unfortunate situation. When McAvoy managed to return just one week before the playoffs started, he wasn’t obviously anywhere near his peak in form. In the playoffs, he had a hard time finding his stride. He finally found it with scoring some huge points in the second round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Bruins crashed in five contests.

For Charlie McAvoy, the best news probably was the season’s end. What a tough season to undergo for a young defenseman with so much expectation on his shoulders. But he was able to shake it off and start the next challenge, the next campaign with the Bruins. That was his contract year as well, another challenge for him as well.

Back at the beginning of the season, McAvoy suffered a concussion and missed almost two months with it. On the brink of a very dangerous outcome. Heart procedure, MCL sprain, concussion. Any of those injuries and problems could cost him not only his hockey career but also his quality of life afterward. But he never gave up and returned.

It was tough for him, understandably, to find his stride, yet again. Struggling with his play a bit, the Bruins fans bashed on him. In February, the reports of McAvoy declining a long-term contract extension and the fans went crazy. “Bust! Trade him!” What a time to be alive for a 21-year-old elite defenseman.

Once again, he was able to shake it off, silence his critics and lead the Bruins in the playoffs. All he had to experience in the past 20 months prior to the final whistle of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final just fleshed in front of his eyes when he saw the St. Louis Blues players throwing their sticks and gloves to the air at TD Garden. McAvoy broke to cry.

One can not fully understand how tough it had to be for him. Hoist the Stanley Cup after all those challenges and you may retire peacefully. It wasn’t meant to be. The Bruins fans will one truly see what kind of a defenseman they have in McAvoy. He has a warrior pedigree and maybe the Bruins future captain.

He loves this city (remember that February “report”?), wants to stay there… Forever. For all, he had to get through, for the love of this team, for the love of this city. McAvoy felt heartbroken for not delivering a Stanley Cup to the middle of that. He has the full career in front of him to shed this, hoist the Stanley Cup. The path to it is tough, now it got even tougher and harder.

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Despite all of that, Charlie McAvoy raises the flag of a warrior. Eager and ready to face and beat everything. A truly extraordinary player already at the age of 21.