Pain-free Brad Marchand reports improvement in his skating range after hip surgery
Despite the progress, Marchand’s expected return date has not changed. He plans to return the last week of November, after Thanksgiving.
“They were pretty adamant that it was a six-month delay, just because of the healing process from all of this,” Marchand said. “We don’t want to play with that. The last thing we want is to try to come back too soon and hurt him again and be out for another four, five, six months.
Merchant, whose place to the left of Patrice Bergeron was completed by Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, AJ Greer, Thirty Frederick, Taylor Room and Pavel Zasha at camp, said he noticed “a huge difference” in his skating.
“I have a lot more range when I skate, so I try to make sure I go a little slower and use that so I can incorporate it into my skating,” he said. “I hope it will make me faster.”
Although he will miss the first two months of the season and recovery will be difficult, he is grateful to have had surgery. Without it, he said, he might have faced an untimely end to his career.
“The goal was longevity, trying to get four, five, six, seven, instead of having one or two,” Marchand, 34, said. “The first thing the doctor told me was if I didn’t, I would be done in a year or two.
“It was very reassuring and made me feel good about this decision. Now I’m just trying to make sure he heals properly so I can squeeze as many years out of those old hips as possible.
Whether Chris Wagner isn’t in the opening night lineup Wednesday in Washington, he’s likely to be a 13th or 14th forward, called up if injured or ineffective elsewhere.
Wagner, who spent all but one game in Providence last year, played a refreshed version of his search-and-destroy style in camp. After hiring a skating coach and rebuilding his stride, Wagner’s restless legs helped him land 21 hits in three preseason games.
“I feel like I had a really good camp,” he said. “I played the way I could. Just take it one day at a time. Play my game the way I can and I’ve done it before, not worrying about all the other BS.
Being demoted in the AHL for nearly a full season “shakes you up,” said Wagner, who is entering the final year of a three-year, $4.05 million contract extension he signed in November 2019. .
Last summer, he and the South Shore skating coach Erik Kallio revamped Wagner’s skating mechanics. Wagner hadn’t given much thought to flicking his toe at the end of a stride, or how best to use his inside edges to start the next.
He feels his stride is longer, his feet are sharper, and he can make tighter turns because he better understands how to shift his weight.
“I hadn’t broken my stride in 10, 15 years,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of guys have done it, really. You think, ‘I have to work on the skills.’ But I know what I am. I don’t take 1T [one-timers] with pasta every day.
Something different: The Bruins train Tuesday at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.… DeBrusk-Bergeron- puck chaserCraig Smith the line was great at first, but when the game went flat, AJ Greer moved in in place of Smith… Montgomery called Coyle’s absence “precautionary,” adding that he would be ready to face the Capitals… Anton Stralman, Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder) and Taylor Room (upper body) seated. It’s unclear how the Bruins will proceed with Stralman, who showed well on a PTO … The Bruins were a blistering 75% on point, Bergeron winning 17 of 24 and Krejci 9 of 10.