NASHVILLE — The Bruins are slowly, slowly getting back some of their injured players, with Adam McQuaid returning to the lineup Monday night. They could have waited through the Christmas break to give McQuaid four extra days to heal, but instead they judged him ready to go against the Predators.
But McQuaid’s return — his second attempt to come back from this particular injury — will be different from the first.
The defenseman said he learned from that try, not having dealt with an injury of this nature (hip/groin strain) in his career.
“I guess the second time around you’re maybe a little bit more cautious with it,” McQuaid said.
“I’d say that it was the first time I had an injury like this, so I didn’t really kind of understand how to deal with it, I guess.
“At this point I feel really good and I feel really confident about it. I’m not concerned about reinjuring myself.”
McQuaid originally suffered the injury Nov. 9 after playing just 44 seconds vs. Toronto. He tried to come back Nov. 27 in Detroit after missing eight games, but he lasted just three games before reinjuring himself.
He has been out for the last nine games, all of the games the Bruins have played in December.
“I needed to have some patience,” he said. “I guess I learned that this was something that I needed to give time to heal, that I wasn’t going to be able to play through it. It was a learning experience that way, for sure.”
McQuaid had a near miss in Monday night’s game too. Just 60 seconds into his night, McQuaid dropped the gloves with Eric Nystrom, a heavyweight bout that opened a cut over McQuaid’s eye, requiring four stitches.
The defenseman headed down the tunnel instead of into the penalty box, and didn’t return until 12:21 of the period.
“Kind of missed some time at the start of the game, trying to find my rhythm, but I felt pretty good in the second and third period,” McQuaid said.
McQuaid finished Boston’s 6-2 win with 19:22 of ice time, plus the five-minute fighting major.
“I guess if you’re going to get back in there, you might as well start off with a bang,” he said.
A Julien milestone
The win was the 400th of Claude Julien’s career. But the coach wasn’t thinking about the milestone after the game. “To be honest with you, I’ve said that all along, those things don’t really matter to me right now. I just feel that those things are good for when you’re retired and you can look back at those kind of accomplishments. But right now you hope as a coach that there’s lots more ahead for you. I’m looking for a little bit more than just 400 wins.” . . . Matt Fraser has now scored two goals in the NHL, one with the Stars, one with the Bruins Monday night. Both have come at Bridgestone Arena. “I like playing here quite a bit,” Fraser said. “I don’t know what it is. I kind of was thinking about that today, too. It’s nice to be back here and remember your first one.” And to get a second, too.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com.