Marchand on verge of return, aiming to not miss any more games


Marchand on verge of return, aiming to not miss any more games

BRIGHTON, Mass – Brad Marchand is on the verge of a return to the Bruins lineup, and once he wants to be back in for good.

The 29-year-old Marchand ditched the maroon no-contact jersey for Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and both he and David Backes are now game-time decisions for Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Marchand has missed eight of Boston’s last 10 games with what many believe are both upper and lower body injuries, and he's excited to be pushing back into the lineup as David Krejci (back) and Jake DeBrusk (upper body) join the long list of injured players on the sidelines.

Marchand’s goal now is to stay among the healthy and productive once he gets back in, whether it’s against the Lightning now or versus the Flyers this weekend.  

“I’ve felt good the last couple of days, so we’ll see. It would be good to stay in consistently,” said Marchand. “Obviously things happen, but the goal is to stay in the lineup for the rest of the year without missing any games. It’s not always in our control, but I feel good and hopefully I can stay in for a while.

“It’s tough. Every team goes through it [with the injuries] and you just have to battle through it. The guys have done a really good job of that winning four of the last five. It’s good to see that guys are really stepping up, but we have to continue to find ways to win. You need to battle through it and at the end of the year it will make you a better team.”

Marchand was skating with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak in practice as the Bruins were once again loading up on a top offensive line, and Bruce Cassidy indicated that the team’s morale will be as good, or as challenged, as their won-loss record will allow it to be.   

“I think our play has dictated that. If we win then we stay positive, and if we don’t then you get more down on yourself. Lately it’s been a lot more positive than negative even though we didn’t bring it on Sunday [against the Oilers],” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll get a bounce-back opportunity [on Thursday] against a really good team, so the focus stays on the 20 guys in the lineup. Some other guys get a chance to play, so they get excited about it and guys returning [from injury] have a little jump in their step. You just try to put a game plan together that suits the group without getting away from our game plan too much.”

Clearly the B’s will welcome back No. 63 as soon as he’s able to return given the gaudy offensive pace he’s on for 42 goals and 79 points, and the fact he contributes in all situations as one of the most important players on the entire roster. The mere presence of Marchand back on the ice will be a morale booster for the Black and Gold even if they’re missing large portions of their forward group due to the injuries. 


McQuaid returns to first B's practice since breaking leg


McQuaid returns to first B's practice since breaking leg

BRIGHTON, Mass – It marks just another step on Adam McQuaid’s eventual return to game action, but it was a big one getting back on the ice with his Bruins teammates on Monday for his first practice since breaking his right fibula on Oct. 19. 

The 31-year-old McQuaid has missed 21 games and counting since blocking a pair of shots in a win over Vancouver that ultimately snapped his right leg. It’s been a long road of rehab and working his way back after a fairly significant surgery, but the light is present at the end of the tunnel now for the rugged, stay-at-home defenseman.

However, it looks like there will be a healthy amount of practice time involved before McQuaid has sufficiently knocked the rust off for game action after missing the last seven weeks. 

“He’s still got a ways to go, so I don’t want to even speculate [on a return date],” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’ll start to sort the pieces together when he’s truly ready to play, but it’s nice to have him around. He’s a great guy and his teammates all love him.”


Clearly McQuaid has suffered his share of injuries over the years while playing a fearless style of blocking shots, throwing hits and defending his teammates at all costs. Just don’t expect him to change the way he plays after suffering a major injury in that particular line of duty because McQuaid knows exactly what his job description is on the ice. 

“Obviously today was a good step. It was good to be out there with the guys, and hopefully things continue to progress,” said McQuaid, who had an assist and a minus-3 rating in six games this season. “It’s tough. Without sugarcoating it, it was [a tough injury]. But you can’t change the situation. You try to persevere through and be better for it, so hopefully that will be the case with this. I felt good coming into the season, so it was disappointing in that way. But I’m looking to work back to that level now.

“I’ve said to some people that I can choose between getting hurt once in a while and missing some time, or playing a different style and probably not playing at all. I don’t foresee anything changing with me in that way. When you get out there, you just play and get into that mindset where you can’t think about injuries. 

It’s going to be a challenge for Bruins head coach Cassidy to work McQuaid back into the lineup when he is ready to play given the six-man defense corps that’s functioning well these days with rookie puck-mover Matt Grzelcyk in the lineup. Still McQuaid is bullishly strong, a Stanley Cup champ and as good of a teammate as you’ll find when it comes to defending everybody else in a Bruins uniform, so it won’t be too long before he finds his way back into the lineup.  

Cassidy appreciates all of those things in McQuaid’s game since their early days together with the Providence Bruins, and bristles at the notion of his injuries being looked at as a liability in any way. McQuaid has missed an average of 18 games per season over his seven full seasons with the Bruins, but Cassidy sees it as more of a hazard of the particular role he fills on the back end. Not everybody can do what McQuaid does, but it’s absolutely needed on any hockey club that’s going to be successful in the regular season and playoffs. 

“He plays hard every night and he’s a guy that blocks more shots than anybody,” said Cassidy. “Yes, he missed the last seven weeks because he blocked two shots in the same sequence. He puts himself in harm’s way and he’s suffered some injuries because of it. That’s the way I look at it. I don’t want to get into labels…I love the guy. 

“The game needs players like him, and the team needs him if you want to be hard to play against. Guys like that are necessary…I’ve heard that [injury-prone] description and I think it’s unfair because [McQuaid] lays it on the line every night.” 

Here are the Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with both Ryan Spooner (lower body) and Noel Acciari (upper body) practicing and uncertain if they can play Wednesday night in Detroit: 
















Morning Skate: Boeser continues to produce for Canucks


Morning Skate: Boeser continues to produce for Canucks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while avoiding all “The Last Jedi” spoilers out there. 


*Brock Boeser continues to score and play well for the Vancouver Canucks despite the extra attention as one of the NHL’s lead rookie players this season. I hate to say it, but this is another one of those players from the second half of the first round in the 2015 NHL Draft. I’ll leave it at that and move on. 


*Alex Burrows fined $5000 for an incident in San Jose, but at least he didn’t bite anybody this time around, right? 


*It must be a slow week if there’s a big think piece about the ritual of using smelling salts right before the drop of the puck in NHL games. 


*There is more speculation about the Ottawa Senators trading Erik Karlsson than ever before in his NHL career, but his thoughts haven’t changed about wanting to win in Ottawa. 


*Good for the Bruins going out and donating some Christmas trees this weekend to the families of service members and veterans in Leominster. 


*It’s been a whopping 44 games since Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has scored a goal, and that’s an almost unthinkable drought considering how much he handles the puck. 


*For something completely different: Wonder Woman is getting snubbed by the Golden Globes, and it’s difficult to understand why.