BOSTON – Technically, Brad Marchand was not supposed to make contact on Sunday.
But the winger, unsurprisingly, just couldn’t help it.
When Matt Grzelcyk skated around him during a drill, the winger had to give the blue liner a little push to slow him down.
“Grizzy kept buzzing around me and I couldn’t take the puck from him, so I figured I’d go through him,” Marchand said with his patented smirk. “He’s too fast, I can’t keep up with him. We were both tired and just wanted to finish the exercise.”
Marchand’s return to the game is not yet imminent, but the 34-year-old was nonetheless delighted to tick the box on another part of his rehabilitation process. The Bruins’ light-ice session at Warrior Ice Arena allowed him to fully participate in skating without any significant contact or fighting.
“I feel really good. It was more of a mental win than anything,” Marchand said. “It’s been four long months and it was going to be an easy workout for the guys, so I’ve been begging them enough to let me jump in there with them. It’s getting tiring and old being alone. [Charlie McAvoy’s] the low. But having a group of guys and being back with the team is a completely different feeling.
“Just because it was an easy day, I was able to come back out there and do everything they did. It was just skating stuff, the same thing I was going to do on my own. Put some by [Jeremy Swayman].”
Marchand said his participation in training going forward will be decided on a day-to-day basis, noting that with an optional morning practice scheduled for Monday, he is likely to take to the ice with his teammates for the second day in a row.
“I think now it’s going to depend on what happens on a day-to-day basis,” Marchand said. “[Monday] being a morning skater, probably being back…just similar stuff, not a lot of contact and sparring drills. And then Chuck and I will be alone on Tuesday. We’ll just take it day by day and see where we are.”
And while he still has time to recover, Marchand believes he is already reaping the rewards of the double hip arthroscopy and labral repair he underwent on May 27.
“I was kind of waiting to see how I felt just because the guys who did it talked so much about how good they felt afterwards,” Marchand said. “I’ve been through a lot over the past few years with my hips and groins and everything, so the change has been amazing. It’s night and day how I feel there. I’m really looking forward to getting back to where I am. normally and feel the way I feel now.
“It’s a great feeling and kind of a relief. I was a little nervous how long it was going to take and where I would be kind of in terms of game form and where my timing would be when I come back. That’s a bit off but I think in the long run it was by far the best decision. With how I feel, I’m really, really happy.”
Video: Marchand speaks with the media Sunday at the WIA
Brandon Carlo is “better today than we expected”, according to coach Jim Montgomery, although the Boston coach said the blue defenseman would not be ready to play Monday night against the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden.
“We’re hopeful. But he’s still not ready to play,” Montgomery said. “There won’t be a rush for sure. Just like there’s no rush for Grizzy or Marchy or when Mac starts skating with the team. We’ll do it when it’s good for them because in the long run, that’s what’s good for the Bruins.”
With Carlo sidelined, the Bruins recalled the left-handed defenseman Dan Renouf of Providence. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound player, who signed a two-year bilateral contract over the summer, has 23 games of NHL experience in three seasons with Detroit (2016-17 and 2021-22) and Colorado. (2020-21).
“We felt in camp that he was most like a stable, homebody defenseman who can defend really well, help us get the pucks out,” Montgomery said. “Very similar to Brando. I think that’s why he’s the guy.”
Video: Montgomery addresses the media on Sunday from WIA
On the forehead of wounds
A few updates elsewhere on the Bruins injury front as Boston prepares for Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden:
- Grzelcyk trained in full again on Sunday but is unlikely to play anytime in the next three games as he continues his progress after shoulder surgery this offseason. “I spoke to him at the end of practice, how he feels,” Montgomery said. “We got him to make a little more contact [Saturday morning]. He’s healthy where he had surgery, but he’s just in pain because he didn’t do that much. It’s a good indication that he’s not ready to get in on the action yet.”
- Montgomery said he didn’t expect Jake DeBrusk (upper body) being absent “more than 10 days”. The winger, who was injured in the season opener in Washington, did not skate on Sunday. “Jake is progressing. We don’t have a definitive schedule right now,” Montgomery said. “I think it’s just a matter of how quickly that area heals and he’ll come right back. I don’t expect it to be more than 10 days.”
Stralman still ineligible
Anton Stralman is still struggling with visa issues, although Montgomery indicated the veteran defenseman – who signed a one-year, $1million contract on Wednesday – may be close to finding a solution. The blue liner must travel outside the United States to fix the problem.
“You have to leave the country you’re going to live in to get a visa. You have to cross the border,” Montgomery explained. “We haven’t fast-tracked the visa yet, but we’re hoping…because he has to have his kids as well. They’re hoping they’ll fly to Canada today so we can do that. I have a lot of hope, but I’m accelerating it’s a bit of a problem.”