WILMINGTON, MA - The outlook for Adam McQuaid appears optimistic after a frustrating injury-marred season for the Bruins defenseman.
On Friday afternoon, when Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was asked about McQuaid's progress, the bench boss responded right away.
"He's being ramped up right now, off ice," said Julien. "He's going in the right direction as we speak."
McQuaid's teammates had just finished hitting the ice for a practice at Ristuccia Arena, while he was taking part in his off-ice workouts.
"I don't know exactly when you're going to see him on the ice, but right now, things are going well for him."
Back on March 5, General Manager Peter Chiarelli had announced that McQuaid was being shut down for two to three weeks to rest his quad strain before beginning rehab again.
The defenseman had been close to a return after the Olympic Break, before re-aggravating it. He's missed a combined 42 games with lower body injuries heading into the Bruins' back-to-back games on March 29 and 30 against the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.
While McQuaid could begin skating fairly soon, with just nine games remaining in the regular season, it's unclear as of now if a return prior to the postseason would be likely.
"I don't know, I just change lines and I put my lineup together," said a smiling Julien. "When those guys are injured, they belong to somebody else, and until they tell me he's going on the ice, I really can't answer that."
"All I know is that they told me he's doing well off the ice, and at one point they're going to tell me, within a few days, they're probably going to put him on the ice, so I'm certainly not going to hold that back, when I find out they're going to go on the ice soon, I'll certainly let you guys know."
McQuaid is working his way back with the training staff, and once he's available to hit the ice, Julien can then start thinking about the blueliner's possible return.
"You guys are looking at that; I'm not there yet. I don't like to look too far ahead," said Julien, on how the back end would pan out with McQuaid joining the other eight defensemen. "Right now, I'm looking at whatever we have left in the regular schedule, and we'll deal with that stuff. We always do it that way."
"As time comes along, you hear, you find out more things, and you just deal with that situations as they come, because you never know - you may not even have to deal with it - so I'm not going to waste time dealing with that right now."
McQuaid has now been sidelined from game action by the quad strain since January 19 in Chicago. The Bruins have powered on, led by Captain Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk on the back end, along with the growing confidence of Kevan Miller, but a healthy McQuaid - with his postseason experience and physical presence - would add a boost to the Black & Gold come playoff time.