McQuaid practices without any limits
WILMINGTON — In the first period of Game 2 against Philadelphia, Adam McQuaid saw Mike Richards lurking at the side of the Bruins’ net. McQuaid, thinking Richards was attempting a wraparound on Tim Thomas, lunged at the Philadelphia captain.
Then, Richards was gone.
“It felt to me like he just disappeared,’’ McQuaid said.
Richards sidestepped the hit. McQuaid catapulted into the
“That was my first time in an ambulance. It definitely wasn’t a fun experience,’’ McQuaid said. “But when you’re dealing with head or neck injuries, you’ve got to be cautious with it. I understood that. I was pretty confident it wasn’t going to be anything too, too serious. At the same time, I understood we needed to take the right precautions and the right steps to make sure everything was good to go.’’
Shane Hnidy replaced McQuaid for Games 3 and 4. But McQuaid has been progressing since the injury. On Sunday, while his teammates enjoyed their second day off, McQuaid practiced with the Black Aces, the extra players the Bruins are carrying.
Yesterday, in the team’s first full practice following the second round, McQuaid participated with no limitations. He skated mostly with Tomas Kaberle on the third pairing. McQuaid should be ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa, which would bump Hnidy back down to No. 7.
Tough choice In 1993, Tim Thomas received an offer from Bruce Crowder, then the UMass-Lowell coach. The ex-Bruin wanted Thomas to become a River Hawk that fall. But Thomas would be backing up Dwayne Roloson, who would be entering his senior season.
Thomas declined. He also considered an offer from Michigan Tech, but he ultimately decided on the University of Vermont.
“I decided not to go to UMass-Lowell because of Dwayne Roloson,’’ Thomas said. “Which, over the course of all these years, changes the whole way everything works out.’’
Had Thomas not become a Catamount, he wouldn’t have become teammates with Martin St. Louis, who remains one of his closest friends. Because of Thomas’s puckstopping prowess, the Catamounts advanced to the 1995-96 Frozen Four. Thomas also met his future wife at UVM.
Yesterday, the Bruins goalie recalled that he was a day away from committing to Michigan Tech.
“I hadn’t signed any letter of intent or anything like that. But I’d made up my mind to go to Michigan Tech,’’ Thomas said. “Right as I did that, that’s when the University of Vermont called. The night before I was supposed to fly up to Michigan Tech, I had to make up my mind whether to go to Vermont or pull out on Michigan Tech. Me and my dad both slept on it. We both actually dreamed I should go East. So here I am.’’
Gagne a force Simon Gagne missed all but one of Tampa’s four second-round games against Washington because of a head injury. But he practiced with his teammates yesterday and should be available for the start of the series.
“I think he’s right in, right back,’’ Lightning coach Guy Boucher told Tampa reporters. “If it was a rookie that never played many playoff [games], only played a few games against Pittsburgh, you’d say that’s a problem. But in his case, he went to the Olympics, made it to the finals last year, has been in some major, major games. Last year, he was injured for a long time. They put him in, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t disappointed in him last year.’’
As a Flyer last season, Gagne missed the first three games of the second round because of a broken foot. He scored the overtime winner in Game 4 against the Bruins. In Game 7, Gagne scored the deciding goal on the power play.
Kampfer progressing Julien expected Steven Kampfer to practice today. The defenseman has been sidelined because of a knee injury since the final weekend of the AHL regular season . . . The start of the series will depend on the outcome of Game 6 tonight between Detroit and San Jose. If the Sharks eliminate the Wings, there is a chance the Bruins and Lightning could start Thursday at TD Garden. If Detroit and San Jose require Game 7 Thursday, the Bruins would start Saturday. “We have to be prepared for both scenarios,’’ Julien said. “I’ve prepared for Thursday and the Saturday scenario. We’re hoping to get it clarified by [tonight] after that game. If we get that, then at least by [tomorrow], we’ll be heading in the right direction.’’ . . .