Marchand's Return to Game Action Likely Ahead of Schedule – NHL.com

BOSTON – Brad Marchand caused quite a stir on Wednesday morning.
For months, his timeline for a return from offseason double hip surgery had him on track to be back in game action around Thanksgiving. That checkpoint, of course, is still a month away.
So, when the winger took line rushes in his familiar spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk during the Bruins’ practice at Warrior Ice Arena, those watching took notice.
Following the skate, however, coach Jim Montgomery doused some water on the Marchand fire, saying that the 34-year-old will not play either of the next two games (Thursday night against Detroit or Friday night in Columbus). But, he added, Marchand appears to be very much on track to return ahead of the original projection.
“I’d like to see 63 [Thursday night], but that’d be [four] weeks ahead of schedule,” said Montgomery. “I don’t expect him to play [Thursday]. 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, but whatever the doctors have said, it’s hard to push that beyond the recovery time.”
Marchand acknowledged – with his patented smirk – that he’s been trying to push the envelope as much as he can.
“I’m trying to push every day if I can, but that’s not up to me, so we’ll see,” Marchand said when asked if he’d be able to play on Thursday against Detroit. “I would like to try and speed it up, but that is out of my hands so I kind of just let the trainers and doctors do their part.
“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 are still off, but everyday I’m getting closer.”
Marchand said “it’s a treat” to be free of pain in his groin, legs, and hips for the first time in “six or seven years” and that his “range of motion feels awesome” following the double hip arthroscopy and labral repair he underwent in late May but added that he is still trying to find a rhythm with his timing and playmaking. Those things will only sharpen up, he explained, once he gets some games under his belt.
“You’re going to need games to get it where it needs to be,” said Marchand. “You can replicate some of it in practice, but once you get in a game it’s completely different…even just catching up in practice, it takes a little bit of time. We’re playing a lot more frequently in October than we have and it’s cutting down on practices which is great for the group, but tough for the guys who aren’t playing to get back and catch up. But we’re doing whatever we can and every day I feel a little bit better.”
Video: Marchand speaks with media after practice
When it comes to being at full strength physically, Marchand said that will be something he’ll have to build up as the season goes along.
“It’s coming back. It’s definitely not 100 percent where I’d like it to be, but I feel great,” said Marchand. “I guess I’m nitpicking at this point, but I’d like to feel how I would at the end of a normal summer. I’m really close to that, but not quite where I need to be.
“It’s something we’re going to have to work on throughout the year and I knew that. I knew that it was going to be something where we’d have to chip away at it, but I’m not far off.”
Despite the absence of both Marchand and Charlie McAvoy through the first seven games, the Bruins have posted the best record (6-1-0, 12 points) in the National Hockey League. The Black & Gold’s stellar start has, no doubt, helped Marchand fight the urge to rush back into the lineup.
“A real double-edged sword,” said Marchand. “You want to be a 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 or 1-7, it’d be a completely different story…I would have probably been back a month ago.
“But yeah, the fact that they are winning, it makes it very easy to kind of sit back and just say, ‘don’t rush it and kind of take your time’ because we’re in it for the long haul especially with the way the team looks…but it’s really hard to watch any game, let alone when the team is cruising.”
Naturally, a setback is the last thing Marchand – or anyone donning the Spoked-B – wants.
“That would be disappointing to have to go through that. You want to keep building upwards and the last thing you want to do is take a step back because that usually leads to having to do it again at some point and it means we did something wrong. But hopefully that isn’t going to be the case,” said Marchand, who added that he’s had regular discussion with the training staff about the repercussions of not pacing himself and how that could hurt the team.
“We’ve been pretty careful about the steps that we’ve taken to ensure that everything was done the right way. We have a phenomenal training staff and they’ve put a good plan together which we’ve executed very well.”
FORWARDS
Brad Marchand – Patrice BergeronJake DeBrusk
Taylor HallDavid Krejci – David Pastrnak
Pavel ZachaCharlie CoyleCraig Smith
Nick FolignoTomas NosekA.J. Greer
Trent FredericJack Studnicka
DEFENSEMEN
Hampus Lindholm – Matt Grzelcyk
Derek ForbortConnor Clifton
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Jakub ZborilAnton Stralman
Charlie McAvoy
GOALIES
Linus Ullmark
Jeremy Swayman

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