BostonBruins.com - For Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, the last few months have been a road to recovery, not from the concussion he suffered toward the end of last season, but from thoradic outlet syndrome surgery for a blood clot that formed near his collarbone back in October.
The man known for his signature mullet said he has no idea what caused the blood cot, but that he’s taken “a few pretty solid hits and it could have been any of them” that might have been a factor.
If the season had started on time back in October, McQuaid would not have been ready to play. However, the work stoppage gave him plenty of extra time to try and get back to full strength.
“I feel pretty good,” said McQuaid, who has been on the third D pairing with Andrew Ference throughout Camp. “I’ve definitely come a long way the last few weeks. I feel pretty good out there with the guys, getting a little bit of contact, really testing myself out.”
McQuaid has not had any issues with physical contact over the first couple of practices and is hoping to be ready to go on Saturday when the Bruins open up their season at TD Garden against the New York Rangers.
“It went pretty good,” said McQuaid, of the first time he got hit. “Hopefully, I continue to push here for the next few weeks and, hopefully, all things will be a go.”
Coach Claude Julien has been pleased with the way McQuaid has recovered and is glad to see him skating again.
“It’s great,” said Julien. “He got a pretty good scare with that blood clot, but he’s great now and he’s recovered well. I guess the doctors feel that, or determined, that he’s ok, so that’s why he’s on the ice with us. It’s nice to see him back.”
Julien added that the team missed McQuaid’s physical presence and size last spring after the defenseman went down with a concussion. Those attributes made McQuaid a perfect fit alongside Ference and now the two are back together, reuniting the pairing that was a big part of the Bruins Stanley Cup run in 2011.
“Partners are used to playing with each other and he’s played a lot with Andrew,” Julien explained. “That’s certainly been a good pair for us, you just have to look back two years ago to the Finals, in the playoffs they were a great pair for us.”
The entire ordeal shook McQuiad, who said he really had no idea how bad the situation was until after he had surgery.
“To be completely honest, I don’t think I really realized just how serious it was, probably until after the surgery,” he said. “I had no choice but to get checked out, my arm was swollen, so at first they told me there’s a possibility that I might have to be on the blood thinning medication for six months, which meant basically the season would have been lost. Definitely disappointing to hear that but things have come pretty quick, I’m here now so I’m happy.”
It’s understandable that after suffering through such a serious injury one may be hesitant or nervous about getting back to playing hockey or fighting, but McQuiad’s says that’s not the case for him.
“I think it’s one of those things that if it’s on your mind and it’s going to affect how you play, then you shouldn’t be playing,” he explained. “So I’m trying not to think about it, not holding back, I’m trying to push myself. The old saying, trying to take it day-by-day.”