Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Oct 5, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) skates with the puck against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s showdown between the Maple Leafs and Bruins at TD Garden not only marked the start of the 2023-24 chapter between the two bitter rivals, but also the start of the four-game suspension handed down to Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy earlier this week.

But if McAvoy has it his way, he’ll be back in action before that four-game mark, with word that McAvoy plans to appeal the suspension with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Word of McAvoy’s plan to appeal was first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

  • McAvoy, who earned the suspension for an illegal check to the head of the Panthers’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the third period of Monday’s win over Florida, is likely going to lean on what’s been an otherwise clean rap sheet for the most part, with his last suspension coming during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    That hit, which earned McAvoy a one-game suspension, came on an illegal hit to the head of then-Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson in the Black and Gold’s Game 6 win over Columbus.

    Since then, McAvoy’s only run-in with the NHL Department of Player Safety came for a dangerous trip against the Hurricanes’ Brady Skjei during Boston’s first-round series with the Hurricanes. The league fined McAvoy $5,000 for that trip, which was the maximum allowed under the NHL CBA.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 30: Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins commits an illegal check to the head against Oliver Ekman-Larsson #91 of the Florida Panthers during the third period at TD Garden on October 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 30: Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins commits an illegal check to the head against Oliver Ekman-Larsson #91 of the Florida Panthers during the third period. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • But the bad news for McAvoy is that if his appeal with Bettman goes anything like Rasmus Andersson’s appeal did, the suspension is going to hold and McAvoy will be on the shelf for another three games after Thursday.

    If it holds, the Bruins will be without McAvoy for showdowns against the Red Wings, Stars, and Islanders.

    With McAvoy out due to a suspension — and with both Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort out due to injuries — the Bruins are rolling with a defense featuring Mason Lohrei, Ian Mitchell, and Parker Wotherspoon all recalled from AHL Providence.

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