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McQuaid: I’m ready

Now he awaits OK from Julien

By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / October 27, 2011

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WILMINGTON - Adam McQuaid says he is pain-free and ready to play, leaving it now up to coach Claude Julien to decide whether the big defenseman is ready to enter the lineup tonight when the Bruins face the Canadiens at the Garden.

“He is symptom-free,’’ Julien said after his club’s hour-long on-ice workout yesterday at Ristuccia Arena. “As long as the doctors are OK with that, we’ll make the decision whether he plays or not.’’

McQuaid, whose value increased over the course of his rookie 2010-11 season, hasn’t suited up since knocking his head in an awkward stumble and fall in Raleigh, N.C., Oct. 12. He worked out for nearly two hours yesterday, including on the ice for an hour prior to the rest of the varsity, and sounded confident he could play.

“I’m feeling good,’’ said McQuaid. “My neck was bothering me [after the game in Raleigh], and sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish whether the problem’s in your head or neck.

“I’m just happy to be feeling better and hopefully I’ll get a chance to be in there.’’

Whenever McQuaid suits up, Steven Kampfer is the one most likely to move out of the defensive six-pack.

Unfinished business

General manager Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday night that he felt this squad had piled up more quality scoring chances than last year’s club through eight games. Trouble is, said Chiarelli, this year’s group isn’t finishing the chances. “We all know we can be better,’’ agreed winger Rich Peverley, who didn’t come aboard last season until the trading deadline. “We’ve scored some goals, but the results haven’t been there, and at this point it’s about results. We’ve had our chances. We just need to bury them.’’ Added left winger Brad Marchand, “We just have to focus and bear down more. And we have to get back to playing simple hockey, taking pucks to the net. It seems like we’ve been looking for something better all the time, and we’re better if we just keep it simple.’’

Line them up

The line combinations yesterday had Patrice Bergeron back centering his opening-night linemates, Marchand and Peverley. The crash line remained the same, with Gregory Campbell between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. Chris Kelly slotted for Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin, while David Krejci rode with Nathan Horton on his right, with Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron taking turns at left wing . . . The Habs got off to the franchise’s worst start in 70 years - 1-5-2 - though they won last night. The Canadiens have really been hurting on the blue line, especially with the prolonged absence of No. 1 defenseman Andrei Markov (knee). They added Chris Campoli as a free agent, but he has been hurt, too. Veteran Jaroslav Spacek is back from a rib injury, but he had played in only four of eight games.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.

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