Boston’s Brad Marchand looks for a pass while goaltender Tuukka Rask minds the net during the first day of Boston’s training camp on Monday. Marchand is wearing a non-contact jersey as he recovers from offseason hernia surgery. Elise Amendola/Associated Press

 

Brad Marchand wore a red non-contact jersey for Boston’s first day of training camp on Monday and, still getting the kid glove treatment following offseason hernia surgery, did not skate in his group’s second session.

But those were the only signs that anything was amiss with the Bruins’ All-Star left wing. He dangled through teammates’ sticks in the pre-practice shinny and, in line rushes, he took his regular spot next to Patrice Bergeron.

While the opener on Jan. 14 in New Jersey, Marchand is shooting to be in the lineup with his teammates and Coach Bruce Cassidy was not yet ready to rule him out.

As for the surgery, Marchand said it was business he wished he took care of a long time ago, especially with the way it’s made him feel now.

“It’s been two and a half years that it’s been bugging me. It’s not only affected my on-ice but my of-ice training. I haven’t been able to sprint or run in years,” said Marchand, who said it initially started in his left side but eventually afflicted both sides. “It got to the point where I was only able to play like 80%. I couldn’t take a full stride. A lot of times I was taking days off. In the playoffs I barely practiced. I needed every day off to recover. Because I was in a lot of pain and it bugged me every single day. It was a really easy decision to do I.

“Now after going through it, I can’t believe I waited two years to do it. I was hoping it was going to go away. The last thing any player wants is to have a surgery that’s going to take four months to recover. But seeing the difference to how I feel on the ice and what was holding me back, it’s night and day. So I’m anxious to be 100%, get out there and play some games again.”

In the two seasons it was bothering him, Marchand was able to amass 187 points. He was also one of the best Bruins in the bubble. Not bad for 80%.

“If he was 80%,” said his long-time centerman Patrice Bergeron, “It’s pretty scary, actually.”

WITH DAVID Pastrnak still on the mend, Jack Studnicka got the first crack at playing on Bergeron’s right side. With a little more added muscle to his thin frame, Studnicka’s confidence seems to be growing. He’s a natural centerman but, with the Bruins strength being down the middle, Studnicka will most likely have to start his NHL career on the right wing – much like Bergeron did when he was a teenager.

“I was really impressed with his development from training camp last year to training camp in the bubble this past summer, just the jump that he made was amazing to see,” said Bergeron. “Then to now, I don’t think he’s missed a beat. He looks good. He seems like one of those players who’s very smart and positions himself well on the ice, so I don’t think moving to the right side is an issue for him. I think he understands the game enough to do that switch.”

KEVAN MILLER made his return and may have provided the biggest eye-opener of the day. He has not played since he broke his knee cap at the end of the 2019 regular season, then broke it again in an attempt to come back for the playoffs and missed all of last season.

“It was awesome to see him. I almost got goosebumps watching him,” said Marchand, a business partner with Miller in an apparel company. “Not only did he come back. … To be in the position he was in, where he really didn’t know what way it was going to go, there was a potential for it to be career-ending, he looks so awesome. I was so happy for him. Today we got to see it all in action, but just the way he’s been able to come back and the story that he’s written for himself is very impressive and I couldn’t be happier for him.”

At the end of practice, Bergeron beckoned him to the center of the stretch.

“Just having him back around the locker room this morning was great,” said Bergeron. “We all know and we’ve seen what he’s been going through over the last 20 months. He’s been though a lot. His perseverance and determination have been inspiring.”

THE LINES in the middle six forwards were what was expected. David Krejci centered Jake DeBrusk and Ondrej Kase while Charlie Coyle was between Nick Ritchie and newcomer Craig Smith, who looked fairly amped up on his first official day as a Bruin.

Anders Bjork skated on the left wing on a fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.