Chiarelli: McQuaid will be ready to start season

Chiarelli: McQuaid will be ready to start season
January 13, 2013, 6:49 pm
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BOSTON -- There was some question as to whether rugged Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid would be ready to start the NHL season after undergoing blood clot surgery four months ago. But general manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday morning that McQuaid should play, provided the Bruins training staff doesnt raise any warning flags.

It was originally thought McQuaid might not be ready for full-time duty and could be pushed back until February. But that doesnt seem to be the case.

McQuaid wasnt on the ice until Dec. 19 after getting a blood thinner regimen that doctors had prescribed for him after surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, and its clear the rangy 6-foot-3 defenseman has some weight and muscle to gain back. McQuaid couldnt really work out or skate until he was taken off the blood thinners, but hes been steadily improving over the last month.

So in Chiarellis mind it will be simply come down to McQuaids performance during the week-long camp rather than the medical staff holding him back.

Hes been cleared to play now. I dont what level of contact he can take, but I think hes been cleared to play, said Chiarelli, who indicated McQuaid should be in the opening night lineup on Jan. 19 unless he stinks out there during training camp.

That leaves 19-year-old rookie Dougie Hamilton and incoming free agent signee Aaron Johnson competing for the sixth defenseman spot, along with Providence Bruins camp invites Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky.

It remains to be seen if a slimmer, leaner McQuaid will be a little hesitant to drop the gloves after gaining a reputation as a tough customer over the last couple of seasons. The 26-year-old McQuaid finished with 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in 72 games with a plus-16 rating.