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Bruins' Marchand had elbow surgery during offseason

by Matt Kalman

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- There were few positives for the Boston Bruins to take out of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for first time in eight seasons.

Forward Brad Marchand took advantage of Boston's extended time off over the summer to have surgery to repair torn tendons in his right elbow that had been bothering him since before the start of the 2014 postseason.

Marchand, who is taking part in informal workouts with teammates here at Ristuccia Arena, said he expects to be at full strength when training camp opens Sept. 17.

"It just started feeling better around the start of August," Marchand told on Tuesday. "So it was tough. I couldn't do a whole lot of upper-body workouts for the first three months off. The last month has been good though. It's come around and it's feeling pretty good. But I'm still in the rehab process. So I'm trying to get my strength back up. It's tough to train on one side of your body. You don't want to get too out of whack when you do that, so now I'm just trying to get my strength back up and hopefully feel good for the season."

Marchand said he was in a cast for six weeks and then in a splint for another three or four weeks. During that time he was limited to running for exercise.

"But I just couldn't do any weights or anything like that for a while. So it was frustrating," he said. "With a long summer like that you want to try to train to get in shape and I was rehabbing for the first couple months. But it's feeling good now. I'm very happy I got it done and hopefully it'll come back stronger than before."

Despite the injury Marchand scored a Bruins-high 24 goals in 77 games last season.

"There were days where I couldn't even hold my stick," Marchand said. "It was always tough to shoot. There'd be times throughout the year where it was good. But when it was bad it was tough to even … like I wasn't shooting in practice and stuff like that. So it definitely affected my game a bit. So it was good to get it done."

The 27-year-old wouldn't reveal the specific cause of the injury but said it was hockey-related and happened shortly before the Bruins started their playoff run in 2014. Boston beat the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round but lost in seven games to the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Second Round. Marchand did not score a goal in those 12 games.

Although Marchand came one goal shy of matching his 2013-14 total last season, his production was inconsistent. Before he scored in the Bruins' last two games of the season he went 15 games without a goal. With the Bruins battling for a playoff spot until the last weekend of the season, Marchand scored six goals in 20 games in March and April.

"It wasn't as bad throughout [2014-15] as it was before the [2014] playoffs," Marchand said. "But it definitely still bothered me at times. It was more of a nuisance. Some days I wouldn't be able to work on things and it was frustrating."

The Bruins had a frustrating 2014-15 season in general. The lack of a playoff run led to the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli, who was replaced by former assistant GM Don Sweeney, and the trades of defenseman Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames and Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings. Forward Matt Beleskey was signed as an unrestricted free agent and forward Jimmy Hayes was acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers for Reilly Smith in an effort to better the Bruins' chances at returning to the playoffs.

Marchand is one of seven skaters remaining from the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup championship team.

"You don't know what approach you're going to take to switch things up," Marchand said. "And you saw, we lost some good players and brought in some good players. And guys that you thought could be here for a long time moved on. In this game you're never safe, and especially when you don't have a good year. Anything could happen. So I think we were definitely all worried going into the summer. But everyone's fortunate to be here and looking forward to the season."

Marchand's improvement in health might wind up being as big a change for the Bruins as their alterations to the roster.

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