In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, fans got some exciting news this past week, as the team was able to re-sign defenceman Charlie McAvoy to a lengthy contract extension. In some very sad news, former Bruins defenceman Leo Boivin passed away this weekend at the age of 90. Another Bruins alumni who passed away recently was Jimmy Hayes, and on Monday, his family released the cause of his tragic and shocking death. To round things out, Bruce Cassidy had a self-deprecating joke when discussing the reception he got from his home crowd on Saturday night.
McAvoy Signs Eight-Year Extension
On Friday, the Bruins were able to come to terms with one of the most important pieces to their franchise as general manager Don Sweeney announced that they had re-signed McAvoy to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension. The contract carries an average annual value (AAV) of $9.5 million and will kick in next season. When asked what his plans were for spending some of his newly earned money, the 23-year-old had some fun with the media.
“I might go get my dog a handful of bones,” McAvoy told reporters. “It’s such a whirlwind. Now I just get to do what I love, which is play hockey, and there’s no stress around that. Just getting to come to work every day and do what I love.”
Despite his young age, McAvoy has turned into one of the game’s most elite defensemen. He has one more season remaining on a very team-friendly three-year, $14.7 million contract that carries an AAV of $4.9 million. He will look to improve even further after a great 2020-21 season in which he scored five goals and 30 points in 51 games.
Leo Boivin Passes Away at 90
Some unfortunate news came out Saturday, as Boivin, who enjoyed a very successful NHL career of over 1100 games played, passed away. He spent 12 seasons with the Bruins from 1954-66 and captained them from 1963-66. He played 717 games in a Bruins uniform, racking up 47 goals and 211 points.
Boivin also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Minnesota North Stars. After his playing career, he coached for a brief period, including spending parts of two seasons as the head coach of the St. Louis Blues. His remarkable career was capped off in 1986 when he was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Hayes Cause of Death Revealed
On Aug. 23, the hockey community was rocked as it was announced that former NHLer Jimmy Hayes had passed away suddenly at the age of 31. A cause of death was not immediately released, however, his family told the Boston Globe on Sunday that he had cocaine and fentanyl in his system when he died. (from ‘Dan Shaughnessy: Fentanyl contributed to Jimmy Hayes’ death. His family hopes telling his story can help prevent another’, The Boston Globe, 10/17/21).
“I hope getting Jimmy’s story out there can save someone’s life,” Hayes’ father, Kevin, told the Boston Globe. “If this can save someone from pain, great. It’s just so sad. I pride myself on being pretty mentally strong. I’m a street guy. But there’s just no formula for this. You have a beautiful, All-American boy who made a terrible mistake, and it cost him his life.”
Meanwhile, Hayes’ wife, Kristen, said she received the toxicology report on Friday. She admitted that she was completely shocked by the news, saying he showed no signs of struggles.
“I was completely shocked,” Kristen said. “I was so certain that it had nothing to do with drugs. I really thought it was a heart attack or anything that wasn’t that [drugs]. … It didn’t make any sense, so it was hard. I was hoping to get a different phone call when they called. I was hoping to get some clarity, and I was shocked to hear that it was that. … He never showed any signs of a struggle at home.”
Hayes spent seven seasons in the NHL, including two with the Bruins from 2015-17. He played in a total of 334 career games, scoring 54 goals and 109 points. This is an extremely sad situation and really drives home the point that you don’t know what any individual may or may not be going to. By all accounts, Hayes was liked by everyone he came across during his life and seemed to be a very happy and positive person. While sad, this news doesn’t take away from that, as he will still be remembered for being a great individual.
Cassidy Thanks Bruins Fans for Warm Reception
During Saturday night’s home opener, Bruins fans were very loud for the introduction of all their players. However, perhaps the loudest ovation came not for a player but head coach Bruce Cassidy. The 56-year-old has been a phenomenal coach since joining the Bruins during the 2016-17 season and was rewarded as such when he won the Jack Adams Award after the 2019-20 campaign. Still, he was quick to use some self-deprecating humor when asked about the warm reception postgame.
“I only had three tickets for my family, so I don’t know [why it was so loud],” Cassidy joked. “Something I said? I don’t know. That’s great, I appreciate that, thank you.”
Cassidy clearly had his team well prepared on Saturday night, as they defeated a good team in the Dallas Stars by a final score of 3-1. They now have a few days off before a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.