By now, everyone knows that Brad Marchand’s edgy style of play has both its share of risks and benefits.
That edgy brand of hockey will cost him the last two games of the 2016-17 regular season following his spear of Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin. Luckily for Marchand, it didn’t cost his teammates during the B’s 4-0 playoff-clinching win on Tuesday.
“It was definitely selfish and undisciplined,” Marchand said of the decision from the NHL Department of Player Safety prior to Thursday’s Bruins-Senators contest at TD Garden. “I can’t do anything about it now. Most important thing is we’re in the playoffs, and regardless of who we play, we still have a job to do.”
Fortunately for Marchand, he will rejoin his teammates in time for Game 1 of their first-round series. That doesn’t mean that he still has to curb his style of play following yet another hearing from the league on Thursday.
Now at the age of 28, there’s no denying that Marchand has matured into one of the core members of the Bruins both as a player and a leader. His on-ice development has progressed over the years into one of the NHL’s top offensive performers over the last two years.
“I would take Brad Marchand on my team any day of the week, anytime, anywhere,” interim coach Bruce Cassidy said during Thursday’s morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
“He’s a competitor; I think the guys in the room would echo that. But sometimes, his intensity, you start to see it bubble up. You try to calm him down, but he’s a more mature person than he was. He gets it, and he will identify it himself at times – OK take a deep breath. I don’t think there were that many occasions this year where we’ve had to do it or I’ve had to do it. A couple of talks here and there [about] managing pucks, trying to do too much [or] beating guys one-on-one in bad situations. That’s just the course of hockey.”
Though he’s made strides in trying to become more disciplined, Bruins President Cam Neely still thinks that his leading goal scorer has a lot to learn.
“Obviously the skill set is much different, so we can start there, but Brad certainly needs to grow up a little bit on the ice,” Neely said during his appearance on Felger and Mazz on Thursday. “Obviously, it’s been talked about, about walking that fine line and getting to it and not crossing it. He’s got to do a better job of that.”
Whether it’s his spear of Dotchin, his slew foots earlier in the year on Niklas Kronwall or Anton Stralman or any other questionable actions from the past, Marchand’s reputation will always come with some baggage. In this 24/7 news cycle, that reputation only gets magnified by the discussions on sports talk shows and social media. To Marchand’s credit, he’s acknowledged his mistakes.
With all the outside noise, Marchand is more concerned about his reputation with teammates and loved ones.
“I’m not very concerned about how anyone really feels, outside of the room. Things happen in hockey,” Marchand added. “The only people I care about in this world are my teammates and my family, and I think they have different thoughts about me, so everyone is entitled to their opinion.”