TORONTO -- With the return of a healthy Charlie McAvoy for Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a defenseman who deserved to be playing was going to find himself as a healthy scratch. There was no getting around that fact.
And John More happened to be the guy who drew the short straw. Moore, who was signed last summer to a five-year deal worth $2.75 million per season and has been a solid player for the Bruins, took the news like a pro.
"It (stinks) not playing, but it's not about me, and I'm not going to make this about me. I'm going to be ready when the team needs me, and that's what it's all about. It's all about the team," Moore said. "And you look at the way the season has unfolded so far, we've needed everyone, and we're going to need everyone. We've got eight really good (defensemen) who can all play in this league. It doesn't affect my approach and my habits and the way I'm approaching this game. I'm trying to learn and work and get better every day."
Moore has been the player the B's expected him to be when they signed him, and maybe a little bit more. His strong skating abilities make him an asset in puck retrieval, and he's also shown some versatility in playing the right side for the B's, who are overloaded with left-handed blueliners.
"I've felt good," Moore said. "If you would have told me before the year that I'd be mostly on the right side, I might have raised an eyebrow. I hadn't had much success, and I hadn't really tried it too much in my career. And I felt like I've gotten better. I feel pretty comfortable on the right side.
The choice on whom to scratch for coach Bruce Cassidy came down to Moore or Matt Grzelcyk.
"It wasn't easy, and it's one game," Cassidy said. "We'll worry about Monday (against the Canadiens) on Monday. But Johnny's played well for us. We just have seven what we think are good, healthy defensemen, and someone had to sit. I guess we could have gone seven (defensemen) and 11 forwards. We thought about that. ...
"There's a little bit of loyalty. Obviously (Torey) Krug is going to stay in. We were contemplating Grizz and Johnny. There's some loyalty to Grizz, and I think he's earned it. Like I said, it wasn't an easy choice. I'm glad we were able to make it, to finally be healthy back there and see what we look like. It's tough for Johnny, but it's one game, and we'll see how it plays out."
Grzelcyk, meanwhile, did nothing to warrant coming out of the lineup tonight. In the win against the Maple Leafs, he was plus-2 and saved a goal by blocking a William Nylander shot in the first period off an end boards carom.
McAvoy returned to the lineup after missing seven games because of an infection in his foot as a result of blocking a shot. He'd been limited to just 17 games this season because of that injury and a concussion that kept him out nearly two months.