Marchand Returns to Practice, Calls it ‘Mental Victory’ in Rehab Process
BOSTON – Technically, Brad Marchand wasn’t supposed to take any contact on Sunday.
But the winger, unsurprisingly, simply couldn’t help himself.
When Matt Grzelcyk skated around him during a drill, the winger had to give the blue liner just a little bit of a bump to slow him down.
“Grizzy kept buzzing around me and I couldn’t take the puck from him, so I figured I’d just go through him,” Marchand said with his patented sly smile. “He’s too fast, I can’t keep up with him. We were both tired and just wanted to finish the drill.”
Marchand’s return to game action is not yet imminent, but the 34-year-old was nonetheless pleased to check the box on another part of his rehab process. The Bruins’ light on-ice session at Warrior Ice Arena provided him with a chance to fully participate in the skate without any significant contact or battling.
“I feel really good. It was more of a mental victory than anything,” said Marchand. “It’s been a long four months and it was gonna be an easy practice for the guys so I begged them enough to let me jump in there with them. It gets tiring and old being out there by yourself. [Charlie McAvoy’s] out there. But having a group of guys and being back with the team is completely different feeling.
“Just with it being an easy day, was able to get back out there and do everything that they did. It was just skating stuff, the same thing I was gonna do by myself. Put a couple by [Jeremy Swayman].”
Marchand said that moving forward his practice participation will be decided on a day-by-day basis, noting that with an optional morning skate slated for Monday, he is likely to take the ice with his teammates for the second consecutive day.
“I think now it’s just gonna depend on day-to-day, kind of what’s happening,” said Marchand. “[Monday] being a morning skate, probably be back out there again…just similar stuff, not a whole lot of contact and battling drills. And then Chuck and I will be by ourselves on Tuesday. We’ll just take it day by day and see where we’re at.”
And while there is still some time to go in his recovery, Marchand feels that he is already reaping the benefits from the double hip arthroscopy and labral repair he underwent on May 27.
“I was kind of waiting to see how I felt just because guys that had done it had talked so highly about how great they felt afterwards,” said Marchand. “I dealt with a lot the last few years with my hips and groins and everything, so the change has been incredible. It’s night and day how I feel out there. I’m really anxious to get back to where I normally am and feel the way I feel now.
“It’s a great feeling and kind of relieving. I was a little bit nervous how long it was gonna take and where I’d be kind of game shape-wise and where my timing would be when I got back. It’s a little 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.”
Brandon Carlo is “better today than we were expecting,” according to coach Jim Montgomery, though Boston’s bench boss did say that the blue liner will not be ready to play Monday night against the Floriday Panthers at TD Garden.
“We’re hopeful. But he’s still not ready to play,” said Montgomery. “There’s gonna be no rush, that’s for sure. Just like there’s no rush for Grizzy or Marchy or when Mac starts skating with the team. We’re gonna do it when it’s right for them because in the long term, that’s what’s right for the Bruins.”
With Carlo sidelined, the Bruins recalled left-shot defenseman Dan Renouf from Providence. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder, who was signed to a two-year, two-way contract over the summer, has 23 games of NHL experience across three seasons with Detroit (2016-17 and 2021-22) and Colorado (2020-21).
“We felt in camp that he was most like a steady, stay-at-home defenseman that can defend really well, help us break pucks out,” Montgomery explained. “Very similar to Brando. I think that’s why he’s the guy.”
On the Injury Front
Some updates elsewhere on the Bruins’ injury front as Boston gets set for Monday’s matchup against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden:
- Grzelcyk practiced in full once again on Sunday but is unlikely to play at any point over the next three games as he continues his progression following offseason shoulder surgery. “I talked to him at the end of practice, how he’s feeling,” said Montgomery. “We had him do a little more contact [Saturday morning]. He’s healthy where he had surgery but he’s just sore from just not having done that a lot. That’s a good indication that he’s not ready to get into game action yet.”
- Montgomery said he doesn’t expect Jake DeBrusk (upper-body) to be out “more than 10 days.” The winger, who was injured during the season opener in Washington, did not skate on Sunday. “Jake’s progressing. We don’t have a definitive timeline right now,” said Montgomery. “I think it’s just a matter of how quickly that area heals and he’ll be right back. I don’t expect it to be more than 10 days.”
Stralman Still Ineligible
Anton Stralman is still working through visa issues, though Montgomery indicated that the veteran defenseman – who was signed to a one-year, $1 million contract on Wednesday – could be nearing a solution. The blue liner must travel outside of the United States to have the issue resolved.
“You have to leave the country you’re going to live in to be able to get a visa. You’ve got to cross back over the border,” Montgomery explained. “We haven’t expedited the visa yet but we’re hoping…cause he needs to get his kids too. They’re hopefully flying to Canada today at some point so we can get that done. I’m very hopeful but expediting things is a little bit of an issue.”