BRIGHTON, Mass – After waiting weeks for it to happen, it looks as if Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is going to draw back in for the Bruins.
The veteran defenseman has been healthy since right around Christmastime after recovering from a broken leg suffered blocking a shot back in October, but McQuaid hadn’t been able to bust back into a lineup that’s been winning games. Now, B’s defenseman Kevan Miller has missed back-to-back practices while feeling “under the weather” and coach Bruce Cassidy termed him “doubtful” for tonight’s home game against the Montreal Canadiens.
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“Kevin Miller is still feeling under the weather, so he’s very doubtful for tonight. I don’t want to completely rule him out, but it doesn’t look good,” said Cassidy. “Adam would be in [if Miller doesn’t play] and it’s looking that way, but let’s give it a few hours. There’s going to be rust. It’s inevitable. We understand that, so we just need to allow him to be himself and play. We’ll expect he’ll want to get rid of the puck quickly based on the limited reps he’s had, but the part of the game he gets back quickly is hopefully his strength.”
So, McQuaid is expected to play for the first time since Oct. 19 in a pairing with rookie Matt Grzelcyk and is excited to lace them up again after a long wait biding his time as a veteran coming back from injury.
“It’s not a regular game because I’ve missed so much time, but it’s probably [a feeling of] excitement more than anything,” said McQuaid, who has an assist and a minus-3 in six games this season. “It probably goes without saying [that you want to play], but it’s been good to watch how the guys have come together. You really feel that off the ice and during practice days and stuff, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to feel that in a game. It will be nice to back on the bench and hopefully add to this run that the guys have been on.”
It won’t be easy for McQuaid dropping right into an emotional Bruins-Canadiens game that’s also Claude Julien’s first game back at TD Garden since getting fired last season. Clearly, he’ll be trying to keep it simple when McQuaid might naturally start trying to do whatever it takes to stay in the regular lineup, but a veteran defenseman knows it’s really all about doing what it takes for the win.
“I’m just going to go out and play, play simple and not overthink things. You let everything else take care of itself and you focus on playing,” said McQuaid, who has missed a span of 36 games headed into tonight.
With McQuaid expected to return, here are the projected line combinations and D-pairings based on an optional morning skate on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena: