McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

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McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

Things continue to return back to normal for Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.

The Bs defenseman, who is recovering from multiple blood clot surgeries on his arm, has been skating regularly with the rest of the local NHL players over the last few weeks with a trip home to Prince Edward Island for the holidays sandwiched in between.

On Thursday McQuaid was skating locally with NHL locals Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask, Keith Yandle, Ryan Whitney, Brian Boyle and Jay Pandalfo among other out-of-work hockey players.

Hes also graduated from skating on his own at one end of the rink to getting involved in games of shinny with the rest of the players and even snapping off a shot while the players are running through drills. Thats a long way from the multiple surgeries needed three months ago, and thats a very good thing.

Between those skating sessions and daily physical therapy McQuaid is feeling better every day, and getting more hopeful that hell be able to return at some point this season.

You just try something new every day and see how it feels, and so far its all been pretty good, said McQuaid. Its about working on my strength and getting my legs back because I was off the ice for so long. But things have been pretty good so far.

It doesnt appear that it will be when the NHL season is expected to open on Jan. 19 and it might not even be February when most normal people would be close to fully recovered from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But McQuaid is off the blood thinner medication when it was originally thought he might be on it for a six-month period that would have kept him out of NHL action -- and building back up his upper body strength.

Its obvious that McQuaid is well down from his playing weight last season, and will need to keep building strength as his NHL game is based on being able to take hits and dole them out all at the same time.

In the meantime the Bruins will need to get along with new defenseman Aaron Johnson along with a host of hopefuls from Providence. None will be able to replace McQuaids intimidation factor in the interim, or his solid defensive capabilities in his own end.

But McQuaid is talking about when rather than if for a potential return to the lineup, and thats a very good thing.

Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

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Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week. 

Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.

Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons. 

Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.

Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England. 

Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

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Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

In what’s been a somewhat busy offseason for their secondary, veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers is in talks with the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. 

Flowers, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chiefs and last three with the Chargers, was released in March. He is set to meet with the Cardinals this week as well. 

The Pats lost cornerback Logan Ryan this offseason, but landed the top free agent corner on the market in Stephon Gilmore. A potential addition of Flowers might give them an insurance policy if second-year pro Cyrus Jones fails to improve from a dismal rookie season. 

Flowers was limited to just six games last season, as a concussion ended his season in December. He has played in at least 11 games in the rest of his NFL seasons. His lone Pro Bowl nod came in the 2013 season.