Boston Bruins

  • Leave it to Brad Marchand, who donned a regular jersey and skated in full with his teammates for Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, to turn a non-contact drill into a banger.

    Much to the chagrin of his higher ups.

    “That first drill, there’s not even supposed to be any contact, somehow [Marchand] found to a way to get contact,” a smiling Jim Montgomery offered. “He’s doing it at another level, too. You tell everybody else, ‘Let’s play,’ and he was hunting pucks and hitting people.”

    In defense of No. 63, it’s the only way Marchand, who is on the mend from double hip surgery and still targeting a Thanksgiving return, knows how to play. Especially with his do-not-hit colored sweater finally swapped out for a regular white jersey.

    “They do… off the ice,” Marchand said with laugh when asked if the staff decides when he can and can’t wear a non-contact jersey for practice. “But it’s harder for them to control when we’re out there.”

  • To the shock of absolutely no one, the 5-foot-9 Marchand is itching to get back out there with his teammates.

    He absolutely, clearly loves teammate Charlie McAvoy like a brother, but skating with McAvoy (recovering from offseason shoulder surgery) and no one else has gotten a little boring.

    “It was just more of a mental victory than anything,” Marchand admitted of Sunday’s practice. “It’s been a long four months and it was going to be an easy practice for the guys. So, you know, I begged them enough to let me jump in there with them. It gets tiring and old being out there by yourself.”

    Marchand will be back out there on his own when the B’s trek up to Ottawa on Tuesday, and from there, it’s unclear just how much the Bruins will allow him to increase his workload ahead of their own timeline.

    “I think now it’s going to depend day-to-day, kind of what’s happening,” Marchand said.

    The problem for Marchand and a potential ‘ramp-up’ to put him ahead of his late November schedule is that the Bruins need to carve out a practice where Marchand can take some good licks in contact and battle drills. (Marchand confirmed that Sunday’s session didn’t feature a whole lot of bumping in that respect.)

    And an oddly-made schedule may not come with a ton of those possibilities, as the Bruins have three sets of back-to-backs, as well as a four-game road trip in the days and weeks leading up to Marchand’s original timeline. Such a condensed schedule doesn’t open the door for multiple ‘hard’ practices.

  • RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck during the third period in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on May 14, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

    RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck in Game Seven of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

  • The good news for the Bruins is that Marchand’s first ‘real’ skate with the team went off without an issue.

    “I actually felt better than I thought I would out there,” Marchand said. “I just think the hands need to catch up with having some of the pressuring a little bit or trying to make decisions on your timing other than just skating around with nobody pressuring you. That’ll come back quick, that’s just second nature.”

    And though the hands were lacking — Marchand, to his credit, did pot a couple on Jeremy Swayman — Marchand’s skating legs (and more importantly, his hips) were certainly there.

    That, after all that time off, was a relief to Marchand.

    “I was a little bit nervous, more for how long it was going to take and where I’d be kind of game shape-wise and where my timing would be when I came back,” Marchand noted. “I was kind of waiting to see how I felt just because the guys that had done it had talked so highly about how great they felt afterwards.

    “I’ve dealt with a lot the last few years — with hips and groins and everything — so the change has been incredible. It’s night and day [with] how I feel out there, and I’m just I’m really anxious to kind of get back to where I normally am and feel the way I do now without having any pain.

    “I think in the long run this is by far the best decision. And with how I feel, I’m really, really happy I did it.”