Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand could be available for the team’s opener on Jan. 14 against the New Jersey Devils after undergoing a procedure for a sports hernia in September, according to Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
“He looked good, felt good,” Cassidy told reporters. “I’m told he has a chance to be ready opening night, so we’ll how that progresses.”
Marchand told reporters that he plans to be available barring any setbacks and that the Bruins are working him back into shape slowly.
“Last thing we want to do is get out there first day of camp and get hurt trying to do too much,” Marchand said. “I’m going to push every day to try to do a little bit more, but we’ll see how much they want to pull me back.”
Per Marchand, the injury lingered for more than two years, and during last year’s playoffs, he could barely practice due to the pain.
“I haven’t been able to sprint or run in years,” Marchand told reporters. “It was an issue with my left side, my left groin, my left ab that was bugging me. Then this past season, it was both sides. So it would go from one day all four would be sore, then just my left side, then that would feel better and my right side would act up. It got to the point where I was only able to play at like 80 percent. I couldn’t take a full stride. A lot of times I was taking days off.”
Marchand added that the extra time off this offseason was useful, but he would have needed the procedure no matter what.
“Now after going through it, I can’t believe I waited two years to do it,” Marchand said. “I was hoping it was going to go away. The last thing any player wants to do is have a surgery that’s going to take four months to recover, but seeing the difference in how I feel on the ice and what was holding me back, it’s night and day.”
Marchand finished last season with 28 goals and 59 assists. The 32-year-old played in all 70 of Boston’s games.
“I thought he was pretty good for us at 80 percent,” Cassidy said. “If this gets him quicker recovery or a longer stride or whatever the issue was where he lost the 20 percent, then that’s obviously the added benefit for him.”
Marchand was the team’s second-leading scorer, behind only David Pastrnak with 48 goals and 47 assists. Pastrnak, however, will not be available for the team’s opener, according to Cassidy. The 24-year-old winger — who tied for the most goals in the NHL last season — had right hip surgery in September.
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