Brad Marchand set to return Thursday night
The Bruins were expecting to be without forward Brad Marchand until sometime around Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving that is.
Or that’s what they had told us at least. But, as we all learned Thursday morning: we were lied to.
We kept hearing “Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving,” when in reality, it was “Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.”
Halloween is this coming Monday.
“We had this date circled on the calendar months ago. We obviously wanted to keep it kind of close and there were a lot of different variables about things that could’ve happened or how I was going to feel so we weren’t sure,” Marchand said. “But we kind of checked the box all along with each step we took and progression.”
Marchand will return to the lineup Thursday night when the Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings.
Despite Marchand recently ditching a non-contact jersey, practicing with the team more regularly, there was no reason not to believe head coach Jim Montgomery when he would reference Marchand’s timetable.
Montgomery sold it even more Wednesday when he revealed Marchand was ahead of schedule and this time, confirming Marchand would return before Thanksgiving, not after.
Thanksgiving however, still a month away.
"He's ahead of schedule. He's gonna play before Thanksgiving,” Montgomery said Wednesday. “As you can tell, he’s starting to look good out there, his timing is starting to come.”
Fast forward 24-hours and the master illusion presented to us by Montgomery and Marchand revealed.
You won’t find anyone complaining about bring fooled though.
“I was a little coy yesterday, because we didn't want to get ahead of ourselves,” Montgomery said. “We wanted to see how he responded to a good hard practice yesterday.”
Marchand will return to the left of Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk on the Bruins’ top line. The line of Taylor Hall, David Krejci and David Pastrnak remains. Charlie Coyle centers Pavel Zacha and Trent Frederic on the third line while Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek and Craig Smith will skate on the fourth line.
With Marchand practicing for around two weeks now, there was no need to rush Marchand back. The Bruins 6-1 in his absence averaging 4.14 goals per game, third most in the league.
Montgomery is going to ease Marchand back into things as the days and games pass.
For now, Marchand won’t play in any back-to-back games, meaning he wont travel to Columbus for Friday’s contest with the Blue Jackets. The Bruins won’t play on back-to-back nights again until November 12th and 13th.
Montgomery expects Marchand to play somewhere around 15 minutes tonight.
“The main thing is just keeping it simple. Keeping shifts short, not trying to do too much or be too fancy,” Marchand said. “Just gonna have to chip a lot of pucks in, chip a lot of pucks out and sit there for five or 10 seconds at a time and get off.”