It’s always a bittersweet day whenever a member of the 2011 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup team signals their playing days are over, and that’s the case again Saturday with the news that defenseman Adam McQuaid has officially retired, per a CBC report.
The hard-hitting, rugged 34-year-old defenseman hadn’t played an NHL game in a couple of years while dealing with chronic injuries suffered from playing over 500 NHL games, and finally admitted what his body was telling him. McQuaid last played in an NHL game back on March 28, 2019 with the Columbus Blue Jackets before succumbing to a herniated disc in his neck that led to concussion symptoms and nerve problems.
Certainly, the mind and spirit were willing with one of the toughest guys to put on the Bruins uniform, but a laundry list of injuries in McQuaid’s physical career became too much after a solid 11-year NHL career.
“I guess technically I would say today is probably the first time that I would say that I’m done, publicly, but I guess I’ve known for a while now that I wouldn’t be playing again. It got to the point where I kind of felt like I’d tapped out my body,” said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound McQuaid, during a CBC interview while still living in Boston with his wife Stephanie and newborn son Roman. “I am beyond fortunate to have been able to play as long as I did and to have the experiences that I did. I don’t look back on my situation and think, ‘Oh, things got cut short … or poor me,’ by any means.”
“Those Stanley Cup runs, the atmosphere, coming to the rink and that’ll be something no matter what I do I’ll never be able to replicate the energy and the intensity of those games and those moments and those experiences. I’ve got a smile on my face right now thinking about having got to experience those. Certainly, I have no regrets. When I played my first game in the league I said, ‘Well I can say I did, I played a game in the NHL.’ Never did I imagine I would do that, let alone play over 500 games and get to play with some of the guys I got to play with.”
McQuaid will be most remembered for his “Darth Quaider” nickname and some of the ferocious fights he engaged on some tough, tough Boston Bruins teams. But he was also one of the nicest guys to put on the Bruins uniform, as gentlemanly, mild-mannered and pleasant off the ice as he was punishing and tough as nails on the ice.
McQuaid finished with 16 goals, 73 points and a solid plus-62 rating in 512 NHL games for the Bruins, Rangers and Blue Jackets, but his career was defined by the teammates he protected and the physical price he was always willing to pay to win.
With the retirements of McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk in the last couple of months, there are now only seven active players from the 2011 Stanley Cup team with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin still actively playing in the NHL.