Boston Bruins

  • Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena saw Bruins winger Brad Marchand in his usual spot to the left of Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s top line.

    And Marchand, who underwent double hip surgery back in May and is not wearing a non-contact jersey (and refuses to practice with the Bruins if he’s wearing a non-contact jersey), looked like a man who’s ready to rejoin the lineup. The session was long enough to make you think that Marchand was indeed fully, completely ready to go and make his return to a Bruins lineup that’s done more than tread water without him. (And the Bruins also moved Pavel Zacha down to the third line with Marchand back in normal spot, which would be another indication that the time is upon us.)

    So, what’s up?

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 06: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period Game Three of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden on May 06, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 06: Brad Marchand #63 of the Bruins looks on during the first period Game Three of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Hurricanes at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • “Getting close for sure,” Marchand said. “Every time I get out there with the full team and do the full team practices, it’s different. I see my timing and stuff is still off, but definitely every day [I’m] getting closer.”

    How about playing Thursday night against the Red Wings?

    “I’m pushing for [it] every day,” Marchand offered. “We’ll see.”

    Hey now! That’s not a no. It’d only also be a solid month ahead of his injury timeline, which indicated that he would return sometime around Black Friday or later.

    But it unfortunately became a no when Jim Montgomery spoke mere minutes later.

    “I’d like to see No. 63,” Montgomery said. “That’d be a month [or] five weeks ahead of schedule. But no, I don’t expect him to play tomorrow. He is ahead of schedule [and] he’s going to play before Thanksgiving. As you can tell, he’s starting to look good out there, timing is starting to come.”

    “I would like to try to speed [my injury timeline] up, but that’s out of my hands,” Marchand acknowledged. “So I just kind of let the trainers and doctors do their part.”

    In other words, Marchand wants to play, and Montgomery wants Marchand to play. But when dealing with something as important as the hips — and the hips of a player as important as Marchand — the Bruins are going to listen to the doctors and the training staff until they hit the finish line.

    “Whatever the doctors have said, it’s hard to push that beyond a certain limit of your recovery time,” Montgomery said.

    Marchand can relate.

    “Every day,” a grinning Marchand admitted when asked if he’s been told to slow down at points in this recovery. “You know, from top down, they’ve kind of talked to me about making sure they do it the right way and not to push it and just the repercussions that can come from doing that. ‘It’s not just hurting me, it’s hurting the team,’ [and] all that. So, I get that, [but] it’s just tough.”

  • Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) deflects the puck towards the Vegas Golden Knights zone during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) deflects the puck towards the Vegas Golden Knights zone during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Given what the team has said to Marchand, it’s clear the Bruins (and Marchand himself) also don’t want to find themselves in a situation where he returns to action a bit too soon and has to step back out of the lineup.

    “You want to keep building upwards and the last thing you wanna do is take a step back because typically that will lead to having to do it again at some point [and] it means we did something wrong,” Marchand said. “But hopefully that’s not going to be the case. We’ve been pretty careful about the steps that we’ve taken to ensure that everything was done the right way. We have a phenomenal training staff and they put a plan together and we’ve executed very well.”

    But the waiting can be understandably agonizing given the way the Bruins have started, with wins in six of their first seven games and a league-high 30 goals scored, and Marchand’s itch to get back into the mix.

    [It’s] a double-edged sword. You know, you want to be part of the team’s success, but it makes it very easy to take the time that I need to come back when the team’s winning the way they are,” Marchand said. “If we were 1-6 or whatever it is, it would be a totally different story. You know, I probably would have been back a month ago. But yeah, just the fact that they’re winning, it makes it very easy to kind of sit back and say don’t rush it and make sure you take your time because we’re in it for the long haul, especially with the way the team looks.

    “It’s very hard to watch any game, let alone when the team’s cruising.”

  • TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 6: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins waits for a puck drop against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

  • As far as the recovery itself, Marchand feels like he looks out there. Healthy, confident, and recharged.

    “My range of motion feels awesome,” said Marchand. “I’m really happy with how I feel coming back and kind of figuring that all out. Very happy with the pain as well. It’s been six or seven years since I have played without pain in my legs, groins, and hips and stuff. So it’s a treat to not have to worry about that moving forward.”

    Strength remains an issue for Marchand, but he joked that it’s still tops on the team all the same.

    Whether that strength comes through with enough of a push to return to action in the next two weeks or so is still unknown, but Marchand does have at least one presence in his corner trying to help move that along.

    “I’m begging doctors every day [to let him play],” Montgomery quipped.