Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated that Adam McQuaid should be a go for Saturday nights opener against the New York Rangers. But the 26-year-old rugged defenseman had to go out and prove it on the practice ice after undergoing blood clot surgery in the fall.
Where McQuaid once thought his season might be over as he was originally prescribed blood thinners for a lengthy amount of time following surgery, now it appears he may not miss any time after looking strong in contact drills over the last two practice days. The final test may be when McQuaid drops the glove to throw his first right-handed punch in anger after building a reputation as a hockey tough guy, but that wont come until the Black and Gold start playing in some regular season games.
Everything has felt good and been a positive step toward no limitations starting this weekend. And despite the appearance that McQuaid lost a significant amount of weight following the blood clot surgeries, he said hes now back up to his 209-pound playing weight of last season.
I havent had a chance to open the season with the team, so Im hoping that this is the year, said McQuaid, who has been either shelved by illness or a healthy scratch at the start of each of the last two seasons after debuting in midseason with the Bruins in 2009-10. Contact has been pretty good. Im trying to test myself as often as possible and felt pretty good. Its been a long time since Ive been in a lot of those situations, so its a bit of a feeling-out process.
For the Bruins it brings back size and defensive strength around the net: something that was missing when Andrew Ference was without his normal D partner in the playoffs as McQuaid battled concussion symptoms.
He had a pretty good scare with that blood clot, but hes great now, said Claude Julien. Hes recovered well and I guess the doctors determined that hes okay. Thats why hes on the ice with us. I know last year during the playoffs we missed his size and his great defensive play. We missed him.
Partners are also used to playing with each other and Andrew is somebody thats used to playing with him. You just have to look at two years ago when they were a great pair for us.
Ference and McQuaid will hope to recreate that D-man magic this season with both players healthy and ready to go, and thats pretty amazing given that it didnt even seem remotely possible a couple of months ago.