Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. Brad Marchand got chippy and made an unnecessarily aggressive move toward an opponent. While some of Marchand’s past plays are questionable as to whether they deserve punishment, his actions on Tuesday were clear. With less than a minute left in the game, the Bruins were down 4-2 and Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry covered the puck to stop play. Naturally, Marchand was close by when Jarry appeared to say something to him. What was Marchand’s response? Take a freaking swing at the goalie landing him a career-long 6-game suspension thanks to his repeat offender status.
Marchand is a pest and for the most part, his gritty and aggressive play earn him high marks from Bruins fans (and distain for all other fan bases), but his 8th suspension and 2nd this season showed a complete lack of control and a severe lapse in judgement. The Bruins are already struggling a bit with injuries on the top line, missing Patrice Bergeron for a few games, so to put himself out of commission for a sizable stretch with a 6-game suspension is just terrible. The Bruins are fighting for position in the Atlantic Division and are falling further behind the 3rd place Toronto Maple Leafs, which will likely continue to happen without 2/3 of their top line. As a leader of the Bruins you have to be able to control yourself and not sacrifice the needs of the team because an opponent was jawing at you.
My patience for the antics are wearing thin, especially when they are selfish and easily avoidable like this one. Whether he chooses to be or not, Marchand is a leader and role model for younger players and he is a voice that others listen to in the locker room. As Bruce Cassidy put it, his “lack of discipline” is becoming more of a liability and is offsetting some of the incredible offensive play he’s been known for in his career. Every point matters and right now he’s not able to help the team secure points watching in street clothes.
The 13-year veteran is a mainstay winger on the first line for the Bruins, scoring 25+ goals in 7 of his last 8 seasons and 40+ assists in 5 consecutive seasons. He has 21 goals and 28 assists this season in 39 games and should finish with another impressive stat line (if he can stay on the ice). Obviously he is an incredibly important piece on this team, which is why the organization can deal with his antics, but it’s getting increasingly frustrating. Incidents like Tuesday night are uncalled for and should be avoidable. Do better Brad.