BOSTON -- First, the most important outcome of the Adam McQuaidBobby Robins scrap in the third period: McQuaid is okay after getting into his first hockey scuffle since a concussion and blood clot surgery knocked him out of commission for the last eight months.
Robins clocked McQuaid with a strong right hand and dropped the rugged defenseman to the ice in an impressive show of force for the P-Bruins tough guy.
Hes okay. I think McQuaid was frustrated, said Claude Julien. You could see he had a tough night and just frustration built. It was just a hit at the blue line that he wasnt happy with and he created a fight.
But hes fine. I mean its one of those things that when things dont go well they really dont go well. It got from bad to worse.
The rangy McQuaid had a little bit of a tough game in his first tilt back from serious surgery in September, and finally lost his temper late in the third period. Perhaps the stay-at-home blueliner also wanted to test his healing body out after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome that left his right arm temporarily weakened from the surgery.
It was clear that Robins was looking for a fight when he get into a shoving match with both Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton earlier on in the second period of Tuesday's scrimmage. None of that should be a surprise given the role Robbins has played as an emotional catalyst in Providence this season.
Whatever the case McQuaid went right after Robins and the two parties circled several times before landing their punches. McQuaid threw a right hand that missed Robins head and then the Providence Bruins enforcer who has racked up 183 penalty minutes this season downed the Bruins defenseman with a strong overhand right punch.
Everybodys working hard, and those guys are excited to get their season going. Weve been playing now for a while, and were pretty excited too, just for the hockey world, said Robbins. Its one of those things where you get riled up in front of the net, just playing hard-nosed hockey.
It was surprising to see McQuaid hit the ice in defeat, but perhaps less so when considering that one guy has played all season while the other was on blood thinner medication less than two months ago.
The most important piece of information, however, was that McQuaid was no worse for the wear. The 6-foot-5 McQuaid will probably need to handle a few more combatants before he jumps back into his role as intimidator on the Bruins, but it was another important step on the road to getting his full game back.
We all know certain guys find their game quicker than others; we talked about that this week. McQuaid is a guy thats going to grind his way though because he didnt play in the playoffs last year, said Julien. Hes got a lot of catching up to do, and what he went through, you know, this past fall is another reason for him to be a little bit behind.
But I like the fact that he had the right attitude and the aggressiveness, and he had at least some emotion to do something about it.
Because of the health issues involved McQuaid might not be fully back to the tough customer of the last two seasons, but hes showing no fear about getting back to his former level. That's a great opening sign that he'll actually get there.