The Boston Globe

Maroon takes first step

Bruins welcome wing for practice

- By Jim McBride GLOBE STAFF Jim McBride can be reached at Follow him @globejimmc­bride.

Pat Maroon joined the Bruins for his first full practice Monday, and the assignment was no big deal for the man affectiona­tely known as “Big Rig.”

Just jump on the right wing normally occupied by David Pastrnak with Pavel Zacha and Danton Heinen on one of the team’s most productive lines.

“Yeah,” Maroon said with a smile after the morning session at Warrior Arena. “At least I played with Zacha in Jersey, so it felt like home to me.”

Maroon’s home in the Boston lineup is yet to be determined, but this was a big step in the 6foot-3-inch, 234-pounder’s return from February back surgery.

He skated with Zacha and Heinen because Pastrnak, the Bruins’ leading scorer with 45 goals and 102 points, was given a maintenanc­e day.

Maroon chatted with coach Jim Montgomery for a few laps before the workout started, and then led the postpracti­ce stretch for his teammates. He also spent time with assistants John McLean and Chris Kelly.

The Bruins acquired Maroon at the NHL trade deadline from Minnesota for Luke Toporowski and a 2026 conditiona­l sixthround pick that kicks in only if the three-time Stanley Cup champion suits up for a playoff game this spring.

“It felt good,” Maroon said of his twirl with his new teammates. “I’ve kind of been lonely skating by myself.”

Though there’s no official target date for Maroon’s return, Montgomery said a best-case scenario would be the April 13 game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

“I would like to play a couple of games,” said Maroon, who had 4 goals and 16 points in 49 games for the Wild this season. “I think that’s the goal, to play a couple of times before the playoffs.

“They’ve been really good with me. I can’t thank the staff enough. They’ve been really patient with me and doing all the right things to make sure I’m back to 100 percent. They’ve been really good, and they have a plan for me, so we’re just going to keep sticking with that.”

While Montgomery said it’s trending for Maroon to make his Bruins debut before the postseason, it’s not a deal-breaker if he doesn’t.

“Guys that are veteran players that have played a lot of playoff games that know how to win, you would like them to have games, but it’s not necessary,” Montgomery said. “They know what it takes to win. They know their role, they relish their role, they understand how to manage games and it’s a big reason why we picked him up.”

Montgomery wouldn’t speculate on potential landing spots for Maroon “because we still have guys fighting for spots. We still have guys trying to earn their way into the lineup consistent­ly. That’s on the back end and up front.”

While Maroon and the training staff are practicing patience, he made it clear he’s champing at the bit to get back to playing.

“Trust me, I’m really excited,” said Maroon, who noted that Bruins fans have been “very supportive of me,” since arriving. “I can’t wait, especially watching the Florida and Tampa games. It makes you just want to go out there and battle with the boys. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I think I mentioned it before, but just putting on that jersey, an Original Six team. This is a team that a lot of people want to play for and I’m just excited to get with the guys and get in the lineup and go to battle with them. They have a great group here.”


Aside from the Maroon-Zacha-Heinen trio, Montgomery rolled out Charlie Coyle between Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk; Morgan Geekie centering Johnny Beecher and Trent Frederic; and Jesper Boqvist with Jakub Lauko and Justin Brazeau. James van Riemsdyk subbed in with the last line . . . On defense, Charlie McAvoy paired with Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo was with Mason Lohrei, and Andrew Peeke skated with Kevin Shattenkir­k. Matt Grzelcyk and Parker Wotherspoo­n were the extra pairing. Grzelcyk played just 13:46 in Saturday night’s shootout win over the Capitals . . . Following practice, the Bruins bolted for Nashville for Tuesday night’s game with Predators. The road trip closes Thursday against the Hurricanes . . . The Bruins will host the Panthers for a 3:30 p.m. start Saturday.

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