Need to Know: Bruins vs. Red Wings

BOSTON – Brad Marchand admitted it was hard to keep a straight face.

When the winger met with the media on Wednesday afternoon, he did little to indicate that his return was imminent.

“Yeah, I did,” Marchand, who will make his season debut on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, said with a smirk when asked if he had a difficult time keeping the information close to the chest.

“It was tough. Obviously, you guys [the media] are doing your jobs and trying to get the information out there. The last thing I wanted to do [Wednesday] was saying I’m going to play and then have to back out today.”

The truth, Marchand explained, is that this date has been circled on the calendar for months. After undergoing double hip arthroscopy and labral repair in late May, he was originally told that he could target Thanksgiving as a return date.

That, however, did not sit well with the 34-year-old. He wanted to be back much sooner, so he conferred with the Bruins medical staff and came up with an accelerated plan that would get him into game action roughly a month ahead of his original timeline.

Following five months of strenuous rehab, Marchand responded well and came out the other side feeling stronger in his legs than he has in years.

“Right away, as soon as it came out that I was going to have the surgery, they told me it was gonna be kind of the end of November. I was like, ‘it’s not gonna be the end of November,” Marchand said with a smile. “We sat down and talked, and they knew where my head was at and what I was hoping to do. They said, ‘all right, let’s see what we can do.’ But obviously we’re dealing with the rehab, and we’ve got to make sure it heals properly. They did what they could to put a game plan in place where they could expedite it a bit, but again, within a safe manner and that’s why we kind of kept it quiet because it could have changed any day based on how I felt.

“There were days where I was trying to push to do a little bit more but they were[saying], ‘just follow the program.; It was good. It was great to have an end date in sight before we were gonna be back. It feels like you were able to accomplish something. Again, it’s tough to sit out. But it definitely made it easier with the guys winning. Gotta thank them for doing that.”

Video: Marchand updates the media before BOS vs. DET

Coach Jim Montgomery, who confirmed that Marchand would be back in the lineup in his familiar spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBruskadmitted to being quite eager to coach a player with Marchand’s abilities.

“I know myself as a coach, I’m excited to coach him and see the energy and the work ethic that he’s going to bring to the Bruins tonight,” said Montgomery.

Boston’s bench boss also reiterated that the team’s doctors and medical staff, including manager of player rehabilitation Scott Waugh, are “extremely comfortable” with how Marchand progressed and his fitness to be back in the lineup on Thursday night.

“All along we have our own internal timelines and they’re ahead of where they were because of the terrific work our medical staff has done and you’ve got to give Marchy a lot of credit with how hard he’s pursued his rehab,” said Montgomery. “Everybody’s comfortable, the doctors are comfortable, Scotty Waugh, who has done a terrific job in charge of his rehab, is extremely comfortable.

“We were just checking all the boxes [and] all the boxes have been checked. This was the earliest that everyone was comfortable – except for Brad Marchand. He wanted to play earlier. But we’re really confident that everything is going to go well for him as a player.”

The Bruins, however, will still be cautious with Marchand, who will not travel to Columbus for the second end of Boston’s back-to-back on Friday night. The plan will give Marchand four days to recover and prepare for the first game of the B’s road trip next Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

“He is not going to play in Columbus because we don’t want him traveling,’ said Montgomery. “We’re not going to play him in back-to-back nights. We’re going to allow him to recover and also we’ve got a favorable schedule for him to recover not playing for four days.”

Montgomery added that he is aiming to keep Marchand around 16-17 minutes of ice time against the Red Wings, while also being flexible based on how the game is transpiring.

“I think it’s gonna be more the flow of the game,” said Montgomery. “Ideally, I want to keep him to 16-17 minutes. If all four lines are going, that makes it easy. That’s just the flow of the game. There’s no restrictions on how many minutes he can play, it’s just his hockey conditioning level is gonna be the biggest factor.”

Marchand acknowledged there is likely to be some rust in his game that he’ll have to work through in the early going.

“It’s tough because it’s a regular season game, it’s not exhibition clearly,” said Marchand. “You normally have three or four of those to get ready for the season where you go in and you feel it out and make sure you’re where you want to be, it’s ok to make some mistakes.

“But that’s not the case tonight. It’s about making sure you go in and I’m not a liability out there and not getting the guys’ way. They’re rolling and feeling good. The main thing is just keeping it simple and keeping shifts short, not trying to do too much or be too fancy.”

Video: Montgomery shares his thoughts ahead of BOS vs. DET

Wait, There’s More

  • With Marchand returning, Pavel Zacha will drop down to the third line and switch over to the right wing to play with Trent Frederic and Charlie Coylewhile Craig Smith will bump down to fourth-line right wing. AJ Greer, meanwhile, will be a healthy scratch. “It’s not like Greer is the automatic fall-guy out. I spoke to him about that,” said Montgomery. “It’s about what happened last game, how guys practice and what we feel is the best matchup considering who we’re playing.”
  • Jeremy Swayman will make the start in goal on Thursday night. The netminder has not played since Oct. 18 in Ottawa.
  • Mike Reilly will sit out as a healthy scratch with Jakub Zboril getting back into the lineup alongside Brandon Carlo.
  • The Red Wings (3-1-2) come to town fresh off their first regulation loss of the season on Tuesday night, a 6-2 setback in New Jersey. Dominik Kubalik paces the Red Wings with 10 points in six games and is tied with Dylan Larkin and David Perron for the team lead in goals with four.

Thursday’s Projected Lineup


Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk

Taylor HallDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Trent Frederic – Charlie Coyle – Pavel Zacha

Nick FolignoTomas Nosek – Craig Smith


Hampus LindholmMatt Grzelcyk

Derek ForbortConnor Clifton

Jakub Zboril – Brandon Carlo


Jeremy Swayman

Linus Ullmark

Video: Russo talks Honda Keys to the Game with Jaffe


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