Johnny Gaudreau is taking some responsibility for the controversial hit he received from Boston Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy on Wednesday.
“I was on a breakaway trying to get the rebound there and had my head down. I always tell myself never to have my head down, especially in this league,” Gaudreau told reporters in Calgary Friday. “I kind of brought it upon myself there, looking down for the puck, and got hit.”
The hit in question came mid-way through the third period of the Flames’ 5-2 win over the Bruins. Gaudreau skated in on a breakaway but didn’t score on tuukka rask. In the ensuing scramble around the net, Gaudreau was levelled by McAvoy, who was given an interference penalty on the play. Gaudreau briefly remained in the game but was eventually removed by a concussion spotter.
Gaudreau, who is five-foot-nine, said size played a factor in the collision.
“Obviously, I’m a smaller guy. Charlie’s definitely a lot bigger of a guy than me. It happens. It’s part of hockey,” Gaudreau said. “He shot me a text right after the game and we chatted a little bit. It’s part of the game. It’s no big deal.”
On Thursday, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reported Gaudreau was “feeling no significant effects” from the hit and that McAvoy wouldn’t be given further discipline for the play. In practice Friday, Gaudreau was back skating on the top line with Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm, and he should play with those two in Friday’s game against the Nashville Predators.