WILMINGTON, MA - Defenseman Adam McQuaid joined the Bruins on the ice for practice Monday at Ristuccia Arena for the first time, as he progresses in his recovery from a nagging lower-body injury.
He had skated on his own for four days, first hitting the ice on December 11 in Edmonton at Rexall Place.
He originally suffered the injury on November 9 early in the Bruins' game against Toronto, and has missed 14 games so far this season due to the off-and-on injury. The last time he suited up in game action was on November 30 against Columbus.
With McQuaid joining practice, it also meant it was the first time he spoke with media since re-aggravating the injury.
"It’s always nice to get back somewhat into your normal routine of practicing and getting back into some of those game-like situations," said McQuaid. "It’s just fun to get back out there and pass the puck around and shoot on the goalie."
For the past four days, the blueliner has been shooting on empty nets, taking turns and essentially skating in circles by himself.
When he first hit the ice in Edmonton for about 5-10 minutes to test his leg, Bruins Athletic Trainer Don DelNegro had jokingly shouted from the Zamboni tunnel, "Grab a puck like you're a kid back on the pond again, just like you're skating in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final."
So, the change of pace was welcome.
"I guess you can say it’s the little things that go a long way in these situations," the defenseman smiled.
McQuaid had some limitation during practice, though was able to take part in battling drills.
"It’s nice to take that step, back out there with the guys…[it's] very similar to last time, just kind of a day-to-day process and see how things react," McQuaid added.
"Last time, it was the first time I’ve had an injury like this so I didn’t really know what I should and shouldn’t feel. So, this time around I’ve kind of been through it so I have an idea of what to look out for and I have a better idea of where I’m at and when I’m ready to get back at it."
The injury initially came when he took a turn behind the goal on November 9 against Toronto and immediately began grabbing his right leg. He was unsure of the recovery period, since it was a day-to-day process seeing how it felt and how much he could push it.
He had returned to 100 percent, before re-aggravating it. This time around, they're being even more cautious.
"I want to make sure that there’s not that re-aggravation and I don’t want to be missing time again," said McQuaid. "So it’s really important to make sure that when I’m back I’m totally ready to go and not put myself in the position I did last time."
"He’s certainly making progress but it’s the first time practicing with us, so obviously we’ll have to be extremely careful with it being his second time around," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice.
"And we’re going to make sure he’s 100 percent before we throw him in there."
Hamilton a Week into Recovery
The Bruins' blueline took a hit the past few weeks, most notably, with the injuries to McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk, and the tough, veteran presence they both bring.
But it also took a hit, when it was announced by Julien that Dougie Hamilton would be out around 2-4 weeks after sustaining a lower body injury in the game against Toronto on December 8. Dennis Seidenberg has been filling in on the power play in Hamilton's absence, but there's no denying the offensive vision he brings to the Bruins' blueline.
While there has been no further update on the defenseman, he's about a week into his recovery, bringing the back end closer to full health.
Up front, the Bruins aren't yet on the road to recovery, with Chris Kelly (broken right fibula, IR) out 3-5 more weeks, and Loui Eriksson (concussion, IR) and Daniel Paille (concussion-like symptoms) both sidelined for an unknown period of time.