Defensemen Adam McQuaid is almost ready to return to the Bruins lineup, and he will add a level of competition—both in and outside of the game.
On Oct. 19, the 31-year-old defenseman broke his right fibula doing what is expected of him—throwing his body into the play and blocking shots.
A physical player, McQuaid has always played the body and the pugilist, leading to a great deal of fights and injuries. McQuaid became a constant member of the lineup starting the 2010-2011 season, but has since missed nearly 250 regular season games during that time.
Since the beginning of the 2013 season, McQuaid has had eleven serious injuries, and was placed on injured reserve for nearly all of them. He’s injury-prone, to say the least. In 2010, he accidentally gave himself the first of over three career concussions by tripping over a suitcase while the team was traveling.
Though physicality is a trait that is losing value in a league, it is still valued by the Bruins. Aside from being a stay-at-home defenseman, McQuaid has been the team’s main enforcer since the departure of Shawn Thornton, although Kevan Miller has also taken up that mantle multiple times.
The Bruins have been rolling steady with six defensemen the last few weeks – Chara, McAvoy, Carlo, Krug, Miller, and Grzelcyk – but that could be shaken up with the return of the 31-year-old veteran.
For the Nov. 24 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy dressed seven defensemen – adding a Rob O’Gara to the lineup – but did not attempt the same idea for the next game. Dressing seven defensemen could be an option once McQuaid is cleared to play, though not an ideal one. This is because most teams dislike the loss of another forward, especially for sake of line continuity.
Another option is to send someone back down to Providence. Grzelcyk will surely be looked at first; he is a +1 for the month of December and has been averaging about 16 minutes a game, but is still at the bottom rung of the defensemen ladder.
While McQuaid could possibly return for Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, it is more likely that he will eye a comeback for either Thursday or Saturday’s matchup against the Winnipeg Jets or Detroit Red Wings, respectively.
His given timetable had been eight weeks for the broken fibula, and the eighth week has just passed and regardless of how injury-prone he is, McQuaid is always a warrior looking to get back to on the ice and play the body over and over again.