Since stepping up and essentially putting Mark Stuart  out of a job in the 2010-11 season, Adam McQuaid has been a reliable and physical presence on the blue line — when he’s there, at least.
McQuaid has dealt with a number of injuries in his time in the NHL , ranging anywhere from the normal stuff to blot clot surgery during the lockout. The toughest stretch for him to miss came late last season, when he suffered a head injury in the second to last game of the season and missed the Bruins’ first-round series against the Capitals.
This season, after missing a total of 16 games for various injuries (11 games due to a shoulder injury), McQuaid is healthy and able to play a role in what figures to be a physical series after Wednesday’s Game 1 against the Maple Leafs.
“It was disappointing last year not being able to play in the playoffs,” McQuaid said Thursday. “You play all season to get to this point, to give yourself an opportunity to play in the playoffs. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
After returning from his shoulder injury on April 11, McQuaid played in three games before missing the Bruins’ game against the Panthers on April 23 against the Panthers with an undisclosed injury. It’s been a tough year for the rugged blueliner, but he said Thursday that he feels healthy.
One thing that will help a player in McQuaid’s case is the scheduling of this first-round series. The Bruins got two days off after the season ended, and they have two more between Games 1 and 2. Claude Julien  kept the B’s off the ice Thursday in order to keep his players fresh.
“I think it’s good,” McQuaid said. “I think it’s good for everybody. No question, the schedule’s been busy, so it’s good to have a few days here and there, just make sure that we’re just getting recharged and ready to go.”
As for the physicality of Game 1, both teams played a style that suits McQuaid well. Each team came out hitting hard and finishing their checks, though the physicality turned to choppiness as the game got out of hand in a 4-1 Bruins win.
“It’s playoff hockey,” McQuaid said. “It’s gong to be a long series, and I think both teams are just trying to compete hard.”