BOSTON – Amid the raft of injuries divulged by the Bruins a few days after losing the Stanley Cup Final was a sprained hand for Brad Marchand.
The Bruins left winger admitted that he re-aggravated a hand injury in the Thursday night scrimmage game at TD Garden ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. It was a play that happened in the first half of the scrimmage when Connor Clifton backed into Marchand and clearly caused him some discomfort in his left hand. Marchand returned to the scrimmage and didn’t miss any time due to the hand injury, but it also seemed like his usual Velcro handle on the puck wasn’t what it normally is while he was nursing the injured hand.
Marchand struggled with just a couple of goals in the seven-game Stanley Cup Final series, and made a key mistake in the first period of Game 7 that ended up putting the decisive game out of reach for the Black and Gold. So it wasn’t a banner series for No. 63 perhaps in part due to the hand injury suffered by Marchand, and that naturally begs the question of whether the Bruins had second thoughts about holding that scrimmage their 10-day waiting period for the Stanley Cup Final to start.
Not so says head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“I thought [the scrimmage] would be a good one in some way shape or form. How it played out after that, to try to replicate getting back into game mode, getting to the rink, morning skate, video, whatever, rest in the afternoon and come to the rink. That’s a risk. I said it at the time that there’s always a risk involved. There’s a risk in practicing at 11:00 on, that was a Thursday, I believe, Thursday morning,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’re going to have some battle drills. I don’t think you can go 10 days without some level of battle. You’d hope the players are smart enough to keep the battle...avoid contact from behind, all of the things where guys get hurt.
“I don’t have a regret [about the scrimmage], to be honest with you. Our job was to be ready for Game One. I felt we were. We got to our game in the second period. We won the game. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get behind in the series, take us a couple games to catch up. I don’t know. Only Brad can tell you how much it bothered him. At the end of the day, I didn’t think that week had a big factor in the playoffs. Had we started slow or got out of the gate and got up two, three, nothing, you can point to either way. But, it’s 1-1 after two, so probably wasn’t a big factor what we did at all that week. It’s more what happened later in the series.”
It’s certainly true that the latter games of the series were where the Stanley Cup Final was won and lost, but through beginning to end in the series it never felt like Marchand was his normal self against the Blues. It’s true that he could have been just as easily hurt during a morning practice rather than an evening scrimmage, but that’s not how it played out for a Bruins team that came up a little bit short when it mattered most last week.
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