BOSTON – With the hockey season finally over, Adam McQuaid admitted what everybody already knew after watching him over the course of the 2013 NHL season: it was an uphill battle for the Bruins defenseman all year.
The rugged B’s blueliner originally wasn’t supposed to even be ready to play after undergoing surgery for blood clots caused by Thoracic Outlet Syndrome in September, but somehow managed to be ready for NHL training camp in January. But it was clear that McQuaid lost some upper body strength as a result of the health issues, and he estimated he was down at least 10 pounds from his normal playing weight.
The pictures of “January McQuaid” and “June McQuaid” as the defenseman looked awfully pale and thin when the hockey season began, but really appeared to gain strength over six months.
“If I’m being honest, I was probably not quite [as strong]. I never really quite got where I would have liked to have been. I felt like maybe I adjusted a little bit to maybe not being quite where I normally I am or where I would’ve liked to be,” said McQuaid. “But I guess that's something that you have to do. It was the first time that I’ve been through a major injury of some sort, so that was new for me.
“But hopefully I get a good summer of training and get back to where I’d like to be. I felt better as we went on. No real complaints. My shoulder bothered me a little bit at times early on. But as the playoffs went on, it felt better. So now I don't have anything really to complain about.”
The 26-year-old defenseman had a goal and three assists in 32 regular season games, but improved to two goals and four points along with a plus-9 in 22 Stanley Cup playoff games. He played with a much nastier streak as the playoffs rolled around, contributed a touch more offensively and simply looked much more like the mullet-headed, 6-foot-5 209-pounder defenseman that’s always been hard to play against.
McQuaid’s toughness was never in doubt, but he earned even more respect for the way he battled through adversity in the 2013 season and was named one of the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Trophy for his dedication to the game. Now he gets to put it all in the rearview mirror as an important life experience, and McQuaid will head back to Prince Edward Island for a summer of rest, relaxation and plenty of work in the gym to get back to the Darth Quaider of season’s past.