Adam McQuaid is just looking for good health next season, and a return to the player he was just a couple of years ago. After two injury-marred seasons in back-to-back years for the Bruins, McQuaid finished this season with a cast on his ankle while hobbling around on a pair of crutches.
McQuaid missed 52 games with a strained quad that he re-aggravated multiple times in a situation that was complicated by the balky ankle bothering him every time he tried to ramp up his rehab. Fresh off a 2013 season where McQuaid dealt with a potentially dangerous blood clot situation, frustration was the word of the day for the rangy, tough D-man.
“It’s frustrating just having, getting, feeling like I was getting close at times and having setbacks and just never quite getting there. In a way each day I was kind of holding onto hope and each time I really did think that I was going to be alright to get back,” said McQuaid. “Mentally I think it made me stronger just going through this and, of course, I hope it’s all behind me now.
“But at the end of the day it was something that really I couldn’t control, and I knew I was doing everything that I could. At this point it’s just giving it the actual time to heal that it needs and, again, I have no worries about it going forward.”
The 6-foot-5 defenseman didn’t play a single game after leaving a shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 19, and never came close to returning to the lineup in time for the postseason.
In that time period younger defenseman Kevan Miller jumped into McQuaid’s spot and more than held his own during the regular season. There were a few bumps in the postseason for Miller, but he showed enough for the Bruins to quickly sign him to a two-year extension at half McQuaid’s cap hit. Given Boston’s cap situation that would mean the writing may be on the all a bit for McQuaid with the Bruins, but he knows things will take care of themselves once he gets healthy.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve really felt good and felt like myself,” said McQuaid. “So in a way I feel good that there’s a possibility that I could feel that much better than I have in recent times, so it’s all positive for me in that mindset.”
Given the health and salary cap situation it would seem a no-brainer that Miller has the inside track on the top six defensemen job over McQuaid to start next season, but there’s also no question the Bruins missed McQuaid’s size, toughness and poise when things started getting a little rough in Montreal during the playoffs.