Bruins

McQuaid recovering from blood clot surgery

570978.jpg

McQuaid recovering from blood clot surgery

If the NHL season had started on time it wouldnt have mattered for Adam McQuaid.

The rugged Bruins defenseman told CSNNE.com he underwent surgery in early October for thoracic outlet syndrome after a blood clot developed under his collarbone. The surgery would have knocked him out until late January or early February.

McQuaid, 26, said his right arm blew up after one of the skating sessions at Harvard University in mid-September. He needed to undergo two significant surgeries at Mass General Hospital within a couple of weeks of each other, one to remove the dangerous clot, and another to prevent the condition from recurring in his arm.

McQuaid needed to have an entire rib removed along with part of his neck muscle as part of the procedure. He has been recovering slowly in the Boston area since then.

According to McQuaid, the injury can sometimes be caused by whiplash, and might have been the reason he had experienced neck injuries in each of the last few seasons most notably in the playoffs against the Flyers during Bostons Stanley Cup run.

It happened in the first week working out at Harvard. Im on the road to recovery, but I still have a ways to go yet, McQuaid told CSNNE.com. The reason behind the surgery is to prevent it from happening again. It should be fine once Im fully recovered.

It could have been a lot worse. Now its been taken care of and I can get back to regular activity. Im just getting my feet under me right now.

The 6-foot-5 defenseman has been completely out of action for the last few months, not to mention extremely bored without any hockey to watch. Luckily McQuaid has medical coverage under the NHLPA that covered his medical expenses during the labor stoppage, but he cant get any treatment from the Bruins medical staff while the lockout is ongoing.

I would have been hit with a pretty big medical bill, so Im lucky that Im taken care of in that way, said McQuaid, who just went on the ice for the first time on Tuesday but did not shoot any pucks.

McQuaid said he didnt have time to be scared when his arm first began giving him trouble, but now he has to battle through arm weakness and nerve damage following the surgery. He admitted he still gets some tingling in his fingers as the nerves continue to heal from the surgery.

McQuaid is just now getting back on the ice to stretch his legs as he did Wednesday morning, but, essentially, he didn't do anything more than skate in circles while his teammates went through drills at the other end of the rink.

Its following the same protocol you always would. Ideally you get back as quick as you can, but I definitely still have a ways to go, said McQuaid, who said its a three-and-a-half to four-month recovery from the time of surgery.

I need to try and get back to not only using my arm, but giving a hit and taking a hit. Im taking it one step at a time, but getting back on the ice and being around the guys is a good start.

Arm strength is of particular importance to a guy like McQuaid, who has made his bones in the NHL as a tough guy that can stand toe-to-toe with anybody in a hockey fight.

The hope is that McQuaid could be ready to go in four-to-six weeks if the NHL comes to an agreement on a CBA over the next month, but the Bs defenseman admitted the recovery timetable for the surgery a rare one in the hockey world is different for each individual.

A conservative estimate would put McQuaid on course for a return in February, and that also means there could be a spot open on the Bs roster for an extra defenseman. A group hopefuls, including Garnet Exelby, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Colby Cohen and Tommy Cross could be competing for the spot as they play in Providence.

For now McQuaid is simply rehabbing as he normally would from an in-season injury and waiting for the lockout to end just like everybody else.

Its obviously a different situation for me. I wouldnt have been playing regardless the last few months but going into it I dont think anybody thought the lockout would go into this stage of the season, said McQuaid. I know the guys skating here are getting tired of it and anxious to get back. I know the guys over in Europe want to get back here as well.

It would have been nice for me to have some hockey to watch. I can look at it from a fans perspective for a while because Id be sitting on the couch watching the games. Hopefully something will get worked out soon.

Hopefully the NHL season will return soon, and hopefully McQuaid is eventually ready for a full return to Bostons lineup after enduring such a significant health scare.

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

bruins_tuukka_rask_110315.jpg

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.

MORE:

That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.  

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

ee_shawn_thornton_041615.png

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while back in the good, ol' Eastern Time Zone.
 
*Really nice piece from Shawn Thornton in the Players' Tribune about the inspiration provided by his “Nanny” and how he’s come to truly love the community service and hospital visits while involved with professional hockey. He’s always been one of those athletes that just stops by children’s hospitals for a visit without needing the attention for it, and that is a credit to his great generosity and empathy for those brave kids.

 *You want a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps? Well, the world will certainly provide a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps.

*Defenseman Connor Murphy hasn’t been the player that the Chicago Blackhawks expected him to be since arriving in the Windy City.
 
*The Colorado Avalanche are adding a fancy stats and video man to their management group as they seek to keep improving the NHL product.
 
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk is returning to the NBC broadcast booth as his health will allow as he continues to battle cancer. Good to see you back, Edzo!

 *Erik Karlsson is finally set to debut for the Ottawa Senators after offseason foot surgery, and it will be a case of the strong getting stronger for a Sens team off to a pretty decent start.

 *For something completely different: Just in time for Halloween, Jennifer Tilly releases all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of working with Chucky.