McQuaid feeling good, ready to 'push it'

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was limited to 30 games during the 2013-2014 season due to quad and ankle injuries. After he had surgery in May on his right ankle, his goal was to be ready for training camp.

The 27-year-old blueliner only recently began skating again, but he believes he’ll be ready for the start of the season.

“I think so, I really do,” McQuaid said. “I’m feeling good and I’m finally to a point where I can push it. We still have a month before the season starts, and I look at where I was a month ago to where I’m at now, I do feel really good about it.”

He’s 100 percent recovered from surgery, and now it’s only a matter of regaining his strength and endurance. Because of the long layoff from game action last season, and his subsequent surgery, McQuaid wasn’t able to push it during the offseason.

With all the injuries he’s dealt with the last few seasons, the extended rest has become a blessing in disguise.

He’s been limited to only 62 regular-season games the last two seasons. Last season, he played his last game on Jan. 19 at Chicago. He came close to returning on a few occasions, but suffered too many setbacks before the decision was made to have ankle surgery.

"It’s been a learning experience to listen to my body. It’s such a fine line between wanting to push and knowing when enough is enough,” McQuaid said.

But McQuaid may feel some pressure to quickly get back in top form, as competition heats up in training camp.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has made it known that the Bruins have plenty of depth on defense, with a total of nine players on the roster who can play in the NHL this season. When camp begins on Sept. 18, those defensemen are: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky.

Chiarelli could still make a trade, but if not, McQuaid said he feels ready to prove his worth once again.

“I think you’re always proving yourself,” he said. “You can’t hang your hat on what you did yesterday when you see there’s always guys pushing and trying to get up and guys who play here want to stay here. That’s how it’s always been. Every day you come with your best effort.”

When healthy, McQuaid is a solid defender. He’s strong and makes good decisions with the puck. He’s also willing to stick up for his teammates when needed. Now, with former Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton playing for the Florida Panthers, McQuaid could be one of the players dropping the gloves a bit more.

“I don’t know. I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought, to be honest with you,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll have to do it more. It might need to be a little bit more by committee at times. We have a pretty good group for that, as you’ve seen the last few years, but if there is a situation that something has to happen then I’ll be prepared for that, but I’m not making it a focus of mine.”

With only two weeks until the start of camp, McQuaid believes he still has ample time to prepare.

“The next couple of weeks will be really good for everyone, but especially for me to get up to speed,” he said.