Minor surgery has McQuaid feeling, looking strong


The amount of work put in by hockey players during the summer is always fairly noticeable once training camp gets cranked up to full speed. Clearly it’s been a good summer for guys like Zach Trotman and Torey Krug when they finish 1 and 1A during the pull-up portion of the off-ice testing, and there are other Bruins players that packed on the offseason muscle.

Adam McQuaid was one of those Bruins players that appeared bigger, stronger and ready for the battles when he showed up at captain’s practices in September, and with very good reason. McQuaid told CSNNE.com that he had minor surgery this summer for a “pectoralis minor release” that essentially removed a muscle from his left pectoral area, and allowed him to work out without any restrictions for the first time in years.

The surgery was related to the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome issues that McQuaid overcame three years ago, and said was done to address some discomfort he was feeling toward the end of last season. Clearly it was the right move for McQuaid, who will be counted on to bring toughness and attitude to the Boston back end this season.

McQuaid estimated he packed on as much as five pounds of muscle with his intense training this summer, and his arms and upper body make him look like the punishing tank he was in his first couple of years in the NHL.

“I feel really good physically…probably as good as I’ve felt since my first couple of years in the league. They say about 80 or 90 percent of the people that got the surgery I had in 2013 also eventually have this one as well. I’m glad now that I got it done this summer because now I feel like I’m back to where I was before the Thoracic stuff happened,” admitted McQuaid, who lost a great deal of weight and strength after the blood clot problems in 2013 and had trouble staying healthy with a host of injuries until remaining largely healthy last season. “For me I’ve really missed [the physicality] and I’m trying to get back used to that [after a long summer off]. I think guys want to bring the competitive edge to camp, and that’s what we need from our group.”

The dedication in the weight room is a good thing for McQuaid after signing a four year, $11 million contract extension this summer that raises expectations for the 28-year-old defenseman. With so many changes among the Bruins D-men corps over the last couple of years, McQuaid is one of the few candidates equipped with the ability to be a top-four defenseman for the Black and Gold this season.

The Bruins could certainly use the McQuaid from 2010-11 that posted 15 points, had a plus-30 rating, crashed around bodies in the defensive zone and routinely pounded opponents foolish enough to drop the gloves against him.

He’s hoping to be that guy as well after staying healthy enough to play in 63 games last season while posting a career-high 18:26 of ice time per game and starting to gain back the rugged game that injuries took away from him over the previous two seasons.

Above and beyond that the 6-foot-5, 209-pound stay-at-home blueliner will also be getting used to Boston’s new tweaked system that puts more onus on puck-moving from all of its D-men. McQuaid was handed his new contract based on his ability to punish puck carriers in the defensive zone, obviously, but he's also shown the ability to make the simple, clean offensive plays.

“If I’m being looked at to play a little bit of a different role then I think there will be some adjustments made for everybody. Maybe more so for me than other guys, but there may be times where I’m playing with somebody that’s more apt to get up into the play,” said McQuaid. “They can do that more so if they know I’m playing back. But it can’t just be my [defensive] partner [on the rush], I’ll have to support [the attack] as well.

“I don’t think this is a changing the guard here. It’s not ground-breaking here, but it’s a [systems] change for sure that I’ll have to work on just as much as anybody else.”

McQuaid will need to do the work on his transition game throughout camp, but work ethic shouldn’t be a problem for a dedicated player that clearly paid his dues in the weight room this summer.

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