On Tuesday, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was named a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which goes to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
The other finalists are Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Minnesota’s Josh Harding.
Last September, McQuaid was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a disorder that can cause potentially life-threatening blood clots.
He underwent two surgeries for a blood clot near his right shoulder in October and was expected to be sidelined until at least January and possibly February.
But despite having a rib and part of a neck muscle removed, McQuaid recovered far more quickly than anticipated and was back on the ice in December.
McQuaid was able to suit up with his teammates for the season opener against the Rangers Jan. 19 and played in 32 regular-season games. He also missed time with a strained left shoulder but was an important factor in the Bruins’ extraordinary come-from-behind victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 Monday night at TD Garden.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli felt helpless at the time, because with the NHL in a lockout, management couldn’t oversee what was going on with players.
“That was a different one, a weird one, because we couldn’t really do anything because it happened during the work stoppage,’’ said Chiarelli. “I wasn’t able to medically oversee it or to help it along. It was almost like I was observing it from afar, and it was pretty scary from the accounts that I got.
“I was told that he wouldn’t be ready and, in fact, there might be a long period of time into the season when he wouldn’t be ready.
“But credit to Adam, it was a scary thing he went through. The size of his arm, the swelling, it swelled up five or six times the size of his arm. He was really scared and feared for his life.
“It’s a terrific story and a testament to Adam’s character.’’
Crosby, after missing significant time with concussion issues the past two seasons, finished fourth in NHL scoring with 56 points despite missing 12 games because of injuries, including a broken jaw. Harding, the Wild goalie, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall and missed 33 games as he underwent treatment. He returned to the lineup in late April.
Krug is called up
The Bruins will need McQuaid’s size and skills during the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup against the New York Rangers because the team is decidedly thin behind the blue line. Whether Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg, and Wade Redden will be ready for Game 1 Thursday remains to be seen.
The Bruins have called up Torey Krug from Providence.
“I don’t have any updates,’’ said Chiarelli. “Seids played 37 seconds [in Game 7] and obviously is injured. He’s been a playoff warrior for us. If he’s not in, we’ll miss him.
“But I saw two really good performances by those two rookie players [Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton]. That’s another testament to coaching, that they were able to integrate these two guys.
“Maybe we have a different look than we’re used to as far as puck transporting, maybe that’s a good thing, but that’s what we’re going to be. And we’re calling up Torey Krug today to come along for the ride. So those three give us a little different complexion back there.’’