By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @Godwentwhoops
Brad Marchand is in trouble with the Department of Player Safety again. Marchand was given a five-game suspension by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for elbowing New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson during Boston’s 3-2 win on Tuesday.
Some fans will consider this a BS call. Marchand is trying to maneuver through two Devils players without running over the goaltender. Others will see it as Marchy being Marchy. (And then there are the Canadiens fans who will want him banned from the league forever because of this.) Unfortunately for Marchand, he’s considered a repeat offender by the league. Call it a reputation suspension or call it just desserts, Marchand will be out of action for the next two weeks.
The suspension will take him out of the line up until February 7 when he can play in New York against the Rangers. “I let my teammates down. I know that,” said a dispirited Marchand to the media. “I let my organization down. I have to be better. There’s no question.”
There was a word missing in Marchand’s speech. The word is again. He let his teammates down again. He let the organization down again. If the Bruins aren’t able to defeat Ottawa tonight, the Boston media (and a fair part of the fan base) will crucify him for being the reason why the Bruins point-streak ended.
This is Brad Marchand’s eighth run-in with the Department of Player Safety in his career. This is his sixth suspension. He has a lost of total of 19 games over the course of his suspensions. While he’s not Marty McSorley bad, Marchand is entering Matt Cooke territory when it comes to being taken off the ice for bad hits.
Marchand will be participating in this weekend’s All-Star tournament. That’ll surely ruffle a few feathers. If he’s not careful, Marchand could find himself becoming the reason for a ‘Marchand rule’ about suspended players attending All-Star tournaments. (It’s bad enough he’s comparable to Matt Cooke [in the number of suspensions, NOT willfully engaging other players with a serious intent to injure], but he could end up joining John Scott. The NHL made a rule to prevent another John Scott making the All-Star roster after he was traded and demoted to the AHL.)
“The last thing I want to do is anything to hurt the team,” said Boston’s Little Ball of Hate. “That’s obviously what I’ve done here. It wasn’t what I was trying to do. We have a great team. They’re going to battle hard and do everything they can to win the games. I’ll be rooting them on. I put my team at a disadvantage again. I feel very bad about it.”
Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy still supports his top scoring forward.
“I don’t believe there was any intent to injure Johansson,” said Cassidy to the media on Thursday. “But at the end of the day, Brad’s responsible for his actions on the ice. The league dealt with it.
“We’ll talk to him about it. Hopefully going forward, there’s no more incidents. Because I think Brad’s really earned respect around the league for how he plays the game. He plays hard every night. For the most part, I think he’s kept his nose clean.”
Brad Marchand ‘tries’ to keep his nose clean. In his NHL career, he’s progressed from part-time agitator to an elite level player. He crossed the 50-point mark in just 38 games this season. (It’s Marchand’s third straight 50-point season.) He’s currently tied for tenth place in points and is near the top of the list in almost every category.
For all his improvement, he always seems to play a little too over the edge. Tuesday night was just another example. Marchand wants to wear an ‘A’ on his chest. The only way he’s going to get that letter is if he stops making bad calls at inopportune times. As fans, we want him to constantly get better and learn from his mistakes. I just wish Marchand would try a little harder to remember that.