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Bruins expect McQuaid to be healthy for Game 1

by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

BOSTON -- If Adam McQuaid has his way, he will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay on Saturday (8 p.m. ET VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

No news on Bergeron

Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday that there was no update on Patrice Bergeron, who is sidelined with a concussion suffered in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

"He is still going through the protocol," Julien said after Thursday's practice. "All I can say is he keeps progressing on a daily basis. As I mentioned, he hasn't been on the ice, hasn't done any of that stuff yet. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that things will start being clear and more optimistic here as we keep moving forward."

There is no timetable for the return of Bergeron, who has had concussion issues in the past. He has not spoken to the media since exiting in the third period of Game 4 against Philadelphia after a heavy hit from Claude Giroux, but he has been in contact with several teammates and has been spotted at the Garden on at least one occasion.

Julien also updated the status of young defenseman Steven Kampfer, who practiced with Boston again Thursday. Kampfer injured his knee playing in the American Hockey League and is on the recovery trail.

Despite looking strong in some of the battle drills the Bruins conducted Thursday, Kampfer is not close to being game-ready. When he is, he most likely will be a depth defenseman.

"He's doing well," Julien said of Kampfer. "He's been cleared to battle and everything else. But he is still continuing more on his conditioning right now than anything else. We are still cautious with that injury, but it's gone far enough that he's capable of handling some contact and some battles. Again, as I mentioned, conditioning is probably the main thing right now with him."

-- Shawn P. Roarke

The Bruins defenseman, who suffered a neck injury in Game 2 of Boston's second-round sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers, insisted Thursday that he is ready for whatever the Tampa Bay Lightning possibly could throw at him in the third round.

"As far as I know, I should be good to go," McQuaid said after a spirited practice here at the TD Garden on Thursday. "I feel good. I guess we'll see when the time comes."

Well, there shouldn't be much suspense, as a few minutes later, coach Claude Julien announced McQuaid would be ready for the next round.

We're pretty confident that he will be ready," Julien said. "Again, we can make that decision on Saturday, but he is feeling better; he's had some time obviously to heal. He's in practice doing all the things he's supposed to do, so unless there is a setback, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be a possibility for Saturday."

Certainly, the six days Boston has had off since beating Philadelphia -- a total that will grow by another day before the series starts Saturday -- has helped McQuaid get back into the fray.

McQuaid also said that Thursday's hard practice -- which featured several battle drills and some up-tempo skating -- convinced him that there is no reason for him to be concerned.

"It was a little more quick movement and stuff, and physical contact," McQuaid said. "It was nice to get back into the battle-type situations."

If McQuaid does return Saturday, he most likely will slot back into the third defensive pair, with Tomas Kaberle, and be spotted into action. Throughout the Philadelphia series, Julien increasingly went with a four-man rotation on the blue line, and he seems to have grown comfortable with that model.

Now, with more than a week of rest under their belt, Julien should have no concerns about playing his top pair, Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, the 28 minutes or so a game he asked them to log in the past round.

McQuaid isn't concerned with his role as much as he is with just getting back on the ice, something that appeared to be in doubt after he crashed head-first into the end boards after missing a big check on Mike Richards early in Game 2.

"I've been out a little longer than the other guys; I can only imagine that they are ready to go," McQuaid said. "It's been longer for me and I'm just anxious to get things started. It was nice to get a little rest, but at this point we are just anxious to get going."

Author: Shawn P. Roarke | Senior Managing Editor

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