Two days after confirming that there’s still no timetable on his return to the lineup, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy returned to the ice without a maroon no-contact jersey and skated as a full participant in Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“Big step forward today,” McAvoy, who on Saturday spoke about the good days and bad days he’s had with a recovery that has at times consumed him, admitted after the skate. “I thought it went very well. There are certain drills I can’t do when I have the red. Days have been adding up and unfortunately, I’ve been kind of getting reminded of it. It’s been over a month now.”
It’s been over six weeks since the 20-year-old last skated in game action for the Bruins, and while Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was quick to pump the brakes on an immediate return to the lineup for McAvoy, he couldn’t deny the obvious positives that come with his top-pairing finally being able to handle contact.
“He actually looked pretty good,” Cassidy said Monday. “I guess for him he’s going to have to get used to bodies around him and banging. Try to simulate some of that in practice. Some of the 5-on-5 drills will have that. The more he gets comfortable with that the closer he’ll be.
“It’s good news. It’s probably the last step when he’s comfortable with contact and bodies around him and then be ready to go.”
McAvoy, who had one goal and six points along with 20:56 of time on ice per night in seven games prior to the concussion symptoms, will join and practice with the Bruins on their two-game road swing through Florida.
The Bruins have gone 10-6-3 in McAvoy’s absence.