Boston Bruins

  • Brad Marchand and the Bruins have played a trick on all of us.

    Less than 24 hours after Marchand and Jim Montgomery’s media availability left you thinking that Marchand’s return was still a few weeks away, the Bruins have confirmed that No. 63 will make his season debut Thursday night against the Red Wings at TD Garden.

    “We have exciting news: No. 63 is going to play tonight,” Montgomery said this morning. “I was a little coy yesterday, because we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we wanted to see how he responded to a good hard practice yesterday.”

    They got us. They got us all real good.

    “It was tough,” Marchand said when asked if it was hard to keep a straight face answering questions yesterday.”Obviously you guys are doing your jobs and trying to get information out there, [but] the last thing I wanted was for you guys to say I was playing and then back out today.

    “I was just trying make sure that before I announced it that it was going to be for sure.”

    (Honestly, I’m kinda pissed about not picking up on the trick element of it all when Marchand said ‘treat’ yesterday. I don’t think that man has ever said ‘treat’ in a media scrum, and it is Spooky SZN, after all.)

  • BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 21: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Calgary Flames at the TD Garden on November 21, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Flames won 4-0. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 21: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Calgary Flames at the TD Garden on November 21, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Flames won 4-0. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

  • But this, according to Marchand, was the timeline all along.

    Because there was no way late November was going to work for him.

    “They told me it was going to be end of November. I was like, “It’s not going to be the end of November,'” Marchand said.

    The possibility of Marchand being ahead of that schedule first came with No. 63 skating without a non-contact jersey about two weeks, and this timeframe was apparently always a date of interest to Marchand.

    “We had this date circled on the calendar months ago,” Marchand revealed. “We obviously wanted to keep it kinda close, and there were a lot of different variables about things that could’ve happened or how I was going to feel so we weren’t sure. But we kinda checked the box all along with each step with took and progression.

    “I felt good and responded very well. I gotta give a ton of credit to the training staff. We wanted to get back as soon as we could within reason.”

  • Jan 16, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand (63) and Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrate BergeronÕs goal during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 16, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Boston Bruins center Brad Marchand (63) and Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrate during their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

  • To the shock of no one, Marchand’s return will put him to the left of Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s top line (Jake DeBrusk will man his usual right-wing spot on the line), and will give Montgomery his first look at what the three-zone dominant Marchand can bring to a lineup and to the bench.

    “I know myself, as a coach, I’m excited to coach him and see the energy and the work ethic that he’s gonna bring the Bruins tonight,” said Montgomery. “Just his dogged determination every time he’s on the ice. I’ve never seen a player stand on top of pucks and hound pucks like he does. And when you see him and Bergeron together out there, the whole practice intensity level goes to another level.”

    The plan out of the gate is to keep Marchand out of back-to-backs, which means he will not play in Friday night’s game in Columbus, and there’s no set minutes restriction when it comes to Marchand’s debut tonight.

    “There’s no restrictions on how many minutes he can play [tonight], it’s just his hockey condition levels is going to be the biggest factor,” Montgomery said.

    Marchand will make his debut tonight following a 2021-22 campaign that included 32 goals and a team-leading 80 points, and goes against a Detroit squad he’s absolutely torched in his career, with 15 goals and 36 points in 34 career games against the Red Wings.