A hit can have nasty results even if there wasn’t malice behind it, and that appears to be where Bruce Cassidy lands on the Zemgus Girgensons hit that knocked Charlie McAvoy out of Wednesday’s game.
During the third period of the Boston Bruins’ 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, McAvoy skated the puck through the offensive zone down the right wing boards. He planted and pivoted, and as he did so Girgensons hit the defenseman. That drove McAvoy into the boards, resulting in Girgensons getting ejected.
McAvoy, after getting some stitches, seems to be fine. For the Bruins head coach, it might’ve just been one of those challenging situations.
“I don’t think so,” Cassidy said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage, when asked if he thought the hit was dirty. “I honestly think when players turn like that, and you’re kind of committed to a hit, it’s tough to take yourself out of that. I don’t know what the exact rule is for the call.
“I know that if it was our player, hitting a guy like that, I’d say ‘Boy, he’s in a tough spot. He’s just trying to finish his check.’ But at the end of the day, I know they’re trying to get those hits out. But I’m not, I can’t fault Girgensons. I don’t think there was any malicious intent, personally.”
Girgensons does not have a reputation for being a dirty player, so it’s hard to disagree with Cassidy’s take that it’s hard to fault the 27-year-old.
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