Game-time decisions await for McQuaid and ill Bruins
There’s a reminder every winter that no one is immune to seasonal illness – not even elite athletes.
“If it’s gonna go around, it’s gonna go around,” Bruce Cassidy admitted the inevitable inconvenience of being human after Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Riley Nash, Ryan Spooner and Brad Marchand are the latest Bruins to catch the bug. While Nash and Spooner missed Thursday’s 2-1 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets, they skated before Friday’s practice. Since Marchand played in the game, Cassidy gave him the day off.
Cassidy said Marchand, Nash and Spooner are all on their way to full-strength. He expects them to play in Saturday’s matinee with the Red Wings.
“We’re hoping those guys [Nash and Spooner] are healed…they feel better today, we brought them in early to skate because of that,” Cassidy said after practice. “…I anticipate they’ll play, if not, then Colby [Cave] could get recalled.”
Marchand, who’s provided consistency for the ailing Bruins with 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) and a plus-12 rating through 25 games, is in the same boat.
“Same idea, because he played we kept him at home today,” Cassidy said. “He feels decent today…we’re hoping they’ll be ready to go, that’s what it seems like right now.”
Adam McQuaid is still day-to-day recovering from a broken leg sustained Oct. 19. He’s returned to practice, but with three wins in a row – sitting two points behind the Leafs with three games in hand – the Bruins have the luxury of patience with their tough guy.
“He’ll be a game-time decision….we want to make sure it’s the right time,” Cassidy elaborated.
“That’s a decision we’re kind of going back and forth on and will make again tomorrow…when there’s an injury going on where you’re not sure the [exact] healing time, it makes it easier to push it back if the team is doing well…not as much urgency to force him back into the lineup…he certainly brings an element of toughness, hard to play against, penalty kill that we have in our lineup — but he’ll bring more of it.”
Although there’s no rush, McQuaid can’t wait to get back out there.
“Probably beyond eager right now,” the veteran defenseman said. “It’s been good to watch the guys playing the way they have…I like to think I can play in any game, but especially those games [Capitals, Rangers], I like the physical play and competition…the battles.”
Cassidy touched on that element of his game as well, noting that while the team misses him in those gritty games, it doesn’t mean the current lineup lacks toughness – McQuaid just “brings it even more.”
David Backes was missing from practice because he took a personal day. David Krejci was placed on injured reserve Thursday and won’t return to the lineup until after the holiday break.
Decisions on the sick and injured players will be made ahead of Saturday’s game.