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Returning Marchand Has ‘The Heart Of A Champion’

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Boston Bruins

PITTSBURGH – Brad Marchand is officially back as a full-fledged member of the Boston Bruins this week after playing one game last week prior to sitting out the second night of back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Marchand will be in his customary left-wing spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk for Tuesday night’s puck drop against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena, and his presence makes an 8-1-0 B’s team even more dangerous entering the month of November. Interestingly enough, it’s also an example of the 33-year-old Marchand returning to game action well ahead of the timetable, as initially it was anticipated he’d be returning right around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Instead, Marchand enters November fully back to game action and will spend the next few weeks getting back up to game speed after he returning to the lineup with two goals and three points in a win over the Red Wings last week.

The million-dollar question is what it is about Marchand that allows him to heal faster, rehab quicker and return to the lineup faster from injuries, a trait he’s long had since establishing himself with the Bruins.

“Sure is,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery when asked if Marchand was a ‘full go’ starting with Tuesday night’s game. “He’s got the heart of a champion. It’s just that simple. He’s not the lion in the Wizard of Oz, that’s for sure.”

Some of it is clearly about feeling personal responsibility to the team as well, something that drives to the heart of his leadership abilities.

“I think doctors are incredible at what they do, but they are on the more conservative side of things. I feel like with my body I know when to push it. I will take a step back if I have to, but I’m going to push it as much as I possibly can. If my body can’t handle it, it will let me know. The last thing you want to do is miss time and be away from the team. If you can push it and get back sooner, then I am going to try and do that. At times I think they [build in] extra time for conditioning and extra time for your timing, and the best way to do that is to play. Regardless of whether I came back in October or November, I was going to need that time to get back into game shape by playing games.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s great being back in the swing of things,” said Marchand. “You want to play in the high compete games where everybody is really getting into it and you’re really testing your team against the other top teams in the league.”

One word of warning: If a Brad Marchand in need of conditioning and game speed reps scored two goals in his first game back after being on the shelf for the last six months due to double hip surgery, the rest of the NHL is in big, big trouble moving forward.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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