It looks like Brad Marchand is going to be fully ready to go at the start of Boston Bruins training camp after offseason surgery.
The 32-year-old left winger underwent sports hernia surgery back in September and spent the offseason rehabbing from surgery but hadn’t been practicing with the rest of the Bruins group at Warrior Ice Arena over the last few weeks. Don Sweeney said that Marchand has been skating daily on his own, however, and the top line winger is expected to “integrate with the group” at the start of next week’s abbreviated training camp.
“Marchy is doing really well. He’s been on the ice pretty much every day. He will start to integrate into the main group of players from day one of training camp,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “It’s more of a volume and comfort level for him. He’s done a lot of work on and off the ice and finding his hands and his timing and such now and his overall conditioning.
“We’ll be careful with it, but he’s made a nice progression. It remains to be seen where we are as we move through camp and how he feels as a result of that, as he introduces contact and such [during practices].”
It’s clearly positive news for the Bruins, who will now have 2/3 of their Perfection Line ready to play right off the starting hop at camp. The continuity will be needed up front for the Boston Bruins with mainstays Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara now both gone from the fold on the back end. The news isn’t quite so encouraging for David Pastrnak after his September hip surgery, nor was it expected to be with a longer timetable coming back from a major surgery.
The 23-year-old sniper is expected to miss at least the first few games once the NHL season begins in mid-January, and he won’t be ready to practice when training camp gets going next week.
“David is certainly a longer timeline to return to play and be back on ice in a regular fashion. He won’t initially integrate into the main practice group as he increases the volume in his own return to play,” said Sweeney. “It’s unlikely he starts the opening couple games but we’re going to monitor week-by-week and we’ll continue to give you updates as they progress.”
With Pastrnak out of the fold to start with an initial timetable that would have him ready in mid-February, it remains to be seen what the Bruins will do with the top line’s right wing spot. It could be Anders Bjork as it’s been during Pastrnak absences in the recent past, or it could be veterans Craig Smith or Ondrej Kase bumping up for the time being. Smith, in particular, might make sense for the short term since he hasn’t developed any previous chemistry with centers Charlie Coyle or David Krejci as a newly signed player.
But the absence of Pastrnak, along with the departure of Krug in free agency, will leave the Boston Bruins without significant scoring punch to start the regular season in a couple of weeks.