With Chris Kelly out since early November and David Krejci week to week with an upper body injury, someone else needed to have the alternate captain ‘A’ stitched on their jersey.
The player who rocked the ‘A’ may not have been who Bruins fans were envisioning as Brad Marchand took the ice in front of the home crowd at TD Garden with the letter on his chest.
Marchand has been a member of the Black and Gold for quite some time but was never acknowledged as a leader. This season, he has tried to set an example both on and off the ice, but sometimes his old antics can catch up to him as seen in Tuesday night’s tilt with the Ottawa Senators.
As Marchand was retrieving the puck deep in Ottawa territory, he up-ended Mark Borowiecki on a questionable hit. Although Marchand wasn’t assessed a penalty on the play, his availability for Friday’s Winter Classic is in question. According to The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin (via a source), Marchand’s low hit on Borowiecki is under review by the NHL Player Safety Department.
“Um, it was a simple play,” Marchand said of the play. “I mean, I was trying to get to the puck carrier, and I turned up ice and he was kind of standing there. I just turned up and tried to go to the puck carrier.”
His inexcusable slashing penalty right in front of one of the officials in a one-goal game with just under 10 minutes to play did not help his case either. Luckily for Marchand, the B’s killed off the penalty and added some insurance for the 7-3 victory.
With or without the ‘A’ Marchand has been very effective and very important for Claude Julien all season long. But, he has also taken untimely penalties costing the Black and Gold at times. It was no different on Tuesday night. He was making plays happen all night long creating numerous scoring chances for himself and teammates, but then his “Little Ball of Hate” side came into play. On this night, however, Marchand’s antics did not affect the outcome.
Marchand acknowledged it was very meaningful to wear the ‘A’ on his sweater Tuesday, but realizes he needs to calm his game down at times.
“Yeah it is,” Marchand said to reporters postgame. “I mean, it’s an honor to have it there, but I don’t think I really responded very well by taking that bad penalty in the third. So I’ll have to be better next game.”
Hearing Marchand reiterate that he took a bad penalty acknowledging the situation shows you how far he has come since he first donned a Black and Gold sweater during the 2009-2010 season. It may be the fact that he is hanging around Patrice Bergeron a lot more and trying to model his game after the Boston legend.
On a night where Jimmy Hayes scored his first career hat trick, Matt Beleskey notched two goals and 82 penalty minutes were assessed in the final two minutes of the hockey game, Marchand’s ‘A’ on his chest may have been the biggest story.