Marchand bounces back to score vs. Sabres


Marchand bounces back to score vs. Sabres

BUFFALO Brad Marchand is one of those players who denies conventional wisdom when it comes to missing time.

The Bruins agitator has impressed through the first three weeks of the season while becoming their leading goal-scorer with six strikes on the season despite staying idle for four months during the NHL lockout. Marchand skated sporadically over the four months, but also spent plenty of time moose-hunting with his father back in their native Nova Scotia as well.

But whenever Marchand did come back to the Boston area to skate with the other locked out NHL players, he was routinely the best player on the ice even if he hadnt skated in a week or two. The other guys would shrug their shoulders and simply say that Marchand was just one of those guys that could simply pick things up again quickly even if hed missed some time.

Its always great to have him on my side. He always finds a way to get himself involved and to get his teammates going, said Bergeron. Hes always a guy thats first on the puck and hell always be the guy puck-hunting in the corner and the first guy coming out with the stuff.

So it should surprise no one that the 24-year-old Marchand scored Bostons first goal of a 3-1 win over the Sabres after missing more than a week of game action while nursing a shoulder injury suffered last weekend.

Its always tough be watching and not able to help your team win games, said Marchand. Its nice that they can win without me, but its also nice to get right back out there. At this level everybody is prepared every day to play. When youre sitting out with an injury its almost more difficult because theyre pushing you hard to get you back in the lineup.

The trainers did a great job with that and Ive felt very good since Ive been out there.

The Nose Face Killah was simply doing his job when a scoring opportunity presented itself, and he pounced on it like a wild honey badger.

Marchand had fired himself up only a shift or two prior by getting into a battle of face-washes with Buffalo agitator Steve Ott, so he couldnt wait to get back on the ice. Marchand took a puck from inside the left face-off circle and squeezed off a shot that was partially screened by Nathan Horton and Robyn Refer battling in front of the Buffalo cage.

The sniper shot beat Ryan Miller to the glove hand side, and Marchand immediately turned around and gave a Shhh! sign to the Buffalo bench with his gloved finger up to his mouth. The Bruins agitator said his post-goal actions werent directed at any one player in particular, but instead Marchand said it was for everyone on the Buffalo bench that had been chirping him throughout the game.

Its all mounting evidence that Marchand is 100 percent healthy after it looked like he would be a healthy scratch on Sunday night: He was talking smack, scoring goals and seemingly in the middle of everything.

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season. 

Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?


Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving The Walking Dead credit for delivering a pile driver to me as a TV viewer last night. I did not see all of that coming.

*Plenty of questions and answers about the Calgary Flames as they’ve looked a little shaky in the early going this season.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Edmonton Oilers straightening things out after the brutal loss to Buffalo.

*NHL captains like Steve Stamkos carry the heavy weight of tradition on their shoulders as they go about their business.

*The Hockey News wonders if Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward to ever play in the NHL. I’m certain he’s in the conversation, but that’s a big, bold statement that deserves some heavy consideration. After all, he never had to defend Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe or any other number of offensive stars. I certainly think he should be in the select club he would join if/when he wins his fourth Selke Trophy.

*Minnesota D-man Matt Dumba was nearly scratched by the Minnesota Wild, and he says that he’s never going to let that happen again.

*The Anaheim Ducks placed Simon Despres on long term injured reserve as they try to stay afloat salary cap-wise, and avoid dealing off a player in-season.

*For something completely different: The Boston Celtics break ground on a new practice facility adjacent to the new Bruins place.