When you look up Brad Marchand’s numbers for the Bruins this season you probably wouldn’t have guessed he underwent double hip surgery in the offseason.
The Boston forward came back about five weeks ahead of schedule — he admitted this was probably earlier than he should have come back — and has looked as if he hasn’t missed a beat. If you ask Marchand, though, he’ll tell you his game isn’t quite where he wants it to be.
That’s why stats don’t always tell the whole story.
Marchand is a point-per-game player this season with 54 points in as many contests and has looked like an elite forward for the Bruins all season. But there still is a level he has yet to reach.
“I thought I’d feel better now than I do, to be honest with you,” Marchand told reporters Wednesday after practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “It’s been really relieving that we have the team we have and we’re as deep as we are because it definitely takes pressure off. But I thought I’d be where I was last year right now. I don’t necessarily feel like that.
“I still have a little ways to go before playoffs. But surgery-wise, it was by far the best decision I made for the longevity of my career, so I’m happy with how it went. And obviously, the best-case scenario happened and we have a really good team and it takes a lot of pressure off. But I thought it would be a little easier to get back to where I was last year than what it’s been.”
The Bruins are the best team in the NHL, which certainly helps Marchand in his recovery. And even though the errors he makes are small, or maybe only noticeable to him, head coach Jim Montgomery sees Marchand holding himself accountable while also bringing elements to the Bruins that have helped them to the top of the standings.
“He’s a star in the league,” Montgomery told reporters Wednesday. “When you’ve been one of, if not the best left wings in the league for the past seven years or so, you expect a lot of yourself, you hold yourself to a high standard. He’s kind of a microcosm of our team, right? He expects a lot from himself. Our team expects a lot from ourselves, and he knows his individual success helps drive the team success.
“So I think it’s one of those things where he’s accustomed to 90 to 100 points for a season for a long time, and that’s what he holds himself accountable to. And he also kills penalties, he brings energy, he brings nastiness. He brings all those elements to what the Boston Bruins are.”
Marchand figures to continue to bring the above attributes as he continues to work on his game Thursday when the Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and Hulu.