BOSTON– Brad Marchand made his season debut for the Boston Bruins against the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden on Thursday, weeks ahead of schedule after undergoing double hip surgery last spring.
The left winger was in the starting XI after being in the lead in the morning run Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk. He practiced on the top power play unit and was leading the distance at the end of practice on Wednesday.
“We had circled that date on the calendar months ago,” Marchand said Thursday. “You know, obviously we wanted to keep it kind of tight because we weren’t exactly sure about a lot of different variables about things that might happen or how I would feel, but we ticked the box the whole time step that we have made and the progress. I felt good and I responded really well and I have to give a lot of credit to the training staff, they did a phenomenal job.
Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said Marchand will play a day Thursday after saying he wasn’t expecting it.
“I was a bit shy yesterday because we didn’t want to rush things,” said Montgomery. “We wanted to see how he responds to a good, hard workout. I look forward to coaching him and seeing the energy and work ethic he will bring to the Bruins tonight.”
Marchand will not play with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Bruins’ next game after that is Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He won’t play in Columbus because we don’t want him to travel and just play normal again after, you know what he’s been through, we won’t play him back-to-back nights and we’ll allow him to recover here , and we also have a favorable schedule for him to recover for four days,” Montgomery said.
Marchand had hip arthroscopy and labrum repairs on both hips on May 27. The original recovery schedule was set for six months, which called for his return in late November.
“As soon as it turned out I was going to have surgery, [the doctors] told me it would be late November. I thought, ‘It won’t be the end of November. We’ll see what we can do,” Marchand said. “So we sat down and talked, and they knew where my head was and what I was hoping to do, and they said, ‘Okay, let’s see what we can do,’ but of course we’re dealing with rehab , and we need to make sure she heals properly.
“It’s been weighing on me a bit lately because we were getting closer to matchday and you know anything could have gone wrong any day. I mean it almost happened [Wednesday]I caught a rut and it could have gotten really ugly so yeah I tried to make sure it would be safe before announcing it.
Marchand said he wasn’t sure what to expect of himself in his season debut.
“It’s tough because it’s a regular season game, it’s not an exhibition game obviously, but you usually have three or four of these to get ready for the season where you go in and try it and make sure you’re kind of where you are you want to be,” he said. “It’s okay to make a few mistakes but that’s not the case tonight and so it’s about making sure I’m not a liability out there and I’m not in the way of the lads They roll and feel good, so I just keep it simple.”
Marchand conceded the Bruins’ (6-1-0) success has helped him take his time knowing they are focused on the long-term goals, including the Stanley Cup playoffs. Even without Marchand and top defenders Charlie McAvoyBoston rolled, who was scheduled to be out for six months following an arthroscopic left shoulder stabilization procedure on June 3.
“It’s hard to sit it out, but it definitely made it easier for the boys to win, so of course I have to thank them for that,” Marchand said
NHL.com independent correspondent Joseph Pohoryles contributed to this report
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