For probably the first time in his entire professional hockey career, an opponent will be happy to see Adam McQuaid on the ice, as McQuaid will make his long-awaited return to TD Garden when the Bruins play host to the Rangers.
With the Bruins expecting an eight-man logjam on their backend (funny how injuries threw this logjam right out the window, huh?), the Bruins decided to give McQuaid a fresh start with a trade to New York right before the start of camp.
It was a move that ended a 462-game career with the Bruins, and with countless playoff wars that truly showed McQuaid's fearless side, and saw the Bruins lose one of their true quality personalities on and off the ice.
“There’s a lot that [McQuaid] meant to this group," Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, who is still part of a group chat with McQuaid, said on Friday. "Just a great guy, great person, great teammate. He’s had some success here — Stanley Cup champion. He’s a really close friend of mine, and it’ll be good to have him back [in Boston].”
“Just what a quality person he was; Teammate, toughness, played through injuries," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said when asked about his memories of McQuaid. "We all miss Adam."
For McQuaid, who has totaled three assists and averaged 17:44 of action per night through 23 games with the Rangers this season, the return to TD Garden will surely be met with a video tribute package, and one hell of an ovation from the crowd.
And with an extra smile or two from Cassidy, who helped develop McQuaid in Providence, and then again in Boston.
"He’s one of those guys that was well-liked in the locker room and one of those Stanley Cup champions," Cassidy said. "I started with him when he was very young, so I like to see those guys [make it]. Did it the hard way, but earned it.
"Happy for him."
Until the puck drops and they have to go against him in the corners and in front of New York's net, anyway.