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.