So far this season, the Boston Bruins have played far above expectations and now they may be getting star winger Brad Marchand back sooner than expected.
Since last June, when he underwent surgery on both of his nagging hips, Marchand and the Boston Bruins have been adamant on a return on or around American Thanksgiving (Nov. 24). That would put him in the lineup for the Black Friday matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden in the first game against the Hurricanes since the Bruins lost to them in seven games in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In the last week though, Marchand has seemed to fast-forward that time table and following practice on Wednesday, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed that the traditional Black Friday matinee will very likely not be Marchand’s first game of the 2022-23 regular season.
“I’d like to see (No.) 63 tomorrow. That’d be five weeks ahead of schedule,” Montgomery cracked after the six-time all-star winger practiced in his normal slot to the left of Boston Bruins captain and center Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk on the right wing. “I don’t expect him to play tomorrow, no. He’s ahead of schedule. He’s going to play before Thanksgiving. As you can tell, he’s starting to look good out there. His timing is starting to come. Whatever the doctors have said, it’s hard to push that beyond a certain limit of your recovery time.”
Montgomery was then asked if Marchand could return within the next two weeks.
“If it’s his decision or my decision, yes it is. I’m begging doctors every day,” he replied.
Marchand, who has seemingly been skating normally for the last two weeks, is putting the heat on the doctors as well but was still playing it safe when asked for his timetable.
“I would like to try to speed it up, but that’s out of my hands,” Marchand said. “So I just kind of let the trainers and doctors do their part. If it’s his decision or my decision (on a return within two weeks), yes it is. I’m begging doctors every day. “Getting closer, for sure. Every time I get out there with the full team and do the full-team practices, it’s different. You can see my timing and stuff is still off, but definitely every day getting closer.”
Thanks to the Boston Bruins getting off to their best start in over 50 years though, Brad Marchand and the Bruins can let his bosy and science dictate his return and not rush it out of urgency if the Bruins were currently not the best team in the NHL, as of Wednesday night at 6-1-0 with 12 points and a league-leading .857 points-percentage.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “You want to be part of the team’s success, but it makes it very easy to take the time that I need to come back when the team is winning the way they are. If we were 1-6, it would be a completely different story. I probably would have been back a month ago.”