When the Bruins enter the Bridgestone Arena tonight to face the Nashville Predators, they’ll be doing so without Brad Marchand.
Today, the NHL announced that Marchand will be suspended for two games for his headshot on Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory in Columbus. Marchand will also be hit with a $6,330.64 fine, which will go directly to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Coming exactly a week after Zdeno Chara’s hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty (who could be skating again in 4-6 weeks) and during the GM meetings this week, Marchand was understanding on the leagues decision.
“I understand where the league is coming from,” Marchand told reporters during today’s morning skate. “They really want to crack down on head hits right now. Obviously I’m disappointed that I have to miss a couple of games.
“It’s always frustrating when you have to watch your team play. But I understand why. The biggest thing is to regroup and make sure I’m ready to get back into action.”
With Marchand out of the lineup until Tuesday’s contest against New Jersey, here is how the lines might look for tonight’s game:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Rich Peverley-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Tyler Seguin-Chris Kelly-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Dennis Seidenberg-Steven Kampfer (Andrew Ference)
Ryder returns to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s contest for the first time in 172 regular season games. It will be interesting to see how he responds one game later.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE (via twitter @HackswithHaggs) reported that Rask was the first person to leave the ice during the optional morning skate in Nashville. However, it seems like the Vezina Trophy front runner Thomas should get the nod against another potential Vezina candidate, Pekka Rinne.
No word yet on Ference’s status for tonight’s game. If the veteran defenseman returns tonight then the defensive pairings might be a little different then what is seen in the projected lines.