Charlie McAvoy suspended for illegal hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Charlie McAvoy suspended for illegal hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

As expected, Charlie McAvoy will serve a suspension for his hit to the head of Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Monday night.

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced McAvoy has been suspended four games for the illegal hit, which you can watch below.

Here's the reasoning NHL Player Safety provided for the discipline of McAvoy:

"As the video shows, after a shot on goal, Ekman-Larsson corrals the puck as McAvoy pinches down from the high slot. Ekman-Larsson moves the puck to a teammate. After the puck is gone, McAvoy finishes a high, hard check that cuts in front of Ekman-Larsson's core, making his head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable. This is an illegal check to the head.

"It is important to note that both elements of the Illegal Check to the Head rule are satisfied on this play. First, the head is the main point of contact as McAvoy's shoulder makes direct, forceful contact with Ekman-Larsson's head, and it is the head that absorbs the majority of the force of the check. Second, the head contact on this play is avoidable. McAvoy chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Ekman-Larsson's body, missing his core and picking his head. If McAvoy wants to deliver this hit, he must stay low and choose an angle that hits through Ekman-Larsson's shoulder and core rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact."

McAvoy has been suspended only once before in his career, a one-game ban during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins will be without their top defenseman this Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Saturday vs. the Detroit Red Wings, Monday vs. the Dallas Stars, and the following Thursday when they host the New York Islanders. McAvoy would presumably return on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Montreal.

The B's will also be without fellow d-man Matt Grzelcyk for the foreseeable future. He exited Monday's win over the Panthers with an upper-body injury and is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks.