A few weeks ago, many fans were about to give up on Brad Marchand.
Marchand was lost on a line where he had two play-makers in Patrice Bergeron and new stud Reilly Smith. He had lost some confidence and was playing passively.
General Manager Peter Chiarelli had not lost confidence in Marchand and deflected any speculation of the “Little Ball of Hate” being shipped out of town like his friend Tyler Seguin back in July.
“Let me be clear on Marchy,” Chiarelli said, “I saw some of the aftermath from my comments. I’m not trading Marchy. He’s a good player. I like the way he plays.”
“He’s skating better,” Chiarelli added. “He’s driving deeper when he’s rushing with the puck. I see him making plays.”
Marchand has been a different player the past few weeks. Maybe it was a little confidence boost from his GM, but he is skating better, making plays and scoring goals.
Marchand now has nine goals on the season. He has four goals in his last four games. He may not be on pace for his 30 goal seasons from his previous two years, but Marchand has found a rhythm.
“Brad is skating a lot better than he did earlier on when he was struggling and taking pucks to the net and he seems to be playing with a little bit more of an edge. More speed and everything else,” Head coach Claude Julien said about Marchand. “So he’s kind of found his way out of his little funk and just seems to be finding his game right now.”
Make no mistake about it. It helps to have Smith and Patrice Bergeron as linemates, but Marchand is turning the corner. He is no longer underperforming.
“Yeah, but at the same time he creates so many opportunities and scoring chances by himself,” said Smith, who took the team lead in goals during Friday’s 5-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. “When you get him the puck he does something pretty special with it. It was a matter of time, especially for him, if he’s not scoring it’s going to come in the next game or two.”
Marchand knows his game has turned a corner and that he needs to build off of his recent productivity. And because of that, he is regaining confidence in himself, which is a great sign for the Black and Gold.
“I definitely feel a lot better and it feels like plays that I can make,” Marchand added. “It just seemed like they weren’t opening early in the year, but I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with Bergy and Smitty there too. So, hopefully we can keep going.”
Players go through funks and Marchand knows it is a number of different things that have helped him over the last few weeks.
“It could be a lot of things,” Marchand said. “We did all of that-we talked to coach a lot and worked on things after practice and watched video. But, sometimes it just happens. Those bounces start to go your way and it’s nice when they do and when they don’t, you’ve just got to keep pushing through it.”
With Reilly Smith continuing to impress, with Bergeron being Bergeron, and with Brad Marchand finding his rhythm again, the B’s second line is right back into the swing of things.