By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
David Pastrnak’s recovery from offseason surgery will leave the Bruins down at least one superstar for the start of the 2021 season.
But in the case of top-line wing Brad Marchand, a game-time decision who looked his usual self throughout Wednesday’s on-ice session at Warrior Ice Arena on the eve of Boston’s season-opening contest in New Jersey, the Bruins are hoping it’s all systems go.
“I fully expect him to play [Thursday] and we’ll see where it goes from there,” B’s coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We feel he’s ready. But he’s been involved in, I think, 90 percent of the practices.”
Four months removed from a sports hernia repair surgery, Marchand has seemed limited in title only.
He began training camp in a red non-contact jersey, but ditched it after one day, and has been zooming around the ice in every session that’s featured his practice-changing energy. He took the first day of scrimmaging off as a precaution, and has been managed to limit the inevitable soreness upon his return. Marchand, who says that he played at ’80 percent’ over the last two seasons due to the injury, has outright said that he “doesn’t want to do too much too soon.”
If cleared to go as anticipated, Cassidy believes that Marchand will have to adapt his game until he’s completely recovered. He’ll also skate with Patrice Bergeron and Jack Studnicka on the Bruins’ first line. If he is unable to go, however, it’s likely that it’ll be Anders Bjork who gets the call with Bergeron and Studnicka.
The 32-year-old Marchand scored 28 goals and 87 points in 70 games last year, and added seven goals and 12 points in 13 postseason games inside the Toronto bubble.
Listen to Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff preview the 2020-21 Bruins season on the SideLines podcast: