Hard to see Brad Marchand escaping suspension this time
He escaped suspensions earlier in the year for separate slew footing incidents on Niklas Kronwall and Anton Stralman. But it appears the third time won’t be the charm for Brad Marchand.
One day following the Bruins’ playoff-clinching win over the Lightning, the NHL Department of Player Safety confirmed their hearing with Marchand for Thursday morning. The B’s leading scorer earned himself a game misconduct for spearing Bolts defenseman Jake Dotchin late in the first period of Boston’s 4-0 victory at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Boston’s Brad Marchand will have a hearing tomorrow morning for spearing Tampa Bay’s Jake Dotchin.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 5, 2017
As talented as Marchand is, the ugly side of his game came at one of the worst times. With two games left to go in the regular season, the Black and Gold may be without their top line left winger against the Senators and Capitals – and potentially beyond.
“It was just a reaction, to be honest. Just a reactionary play,” Marchand said postgame, “obviously very undisciplined though.”
With Marchand out, the Bruins were forced to play with 11 forwards the rest of the way. In spite of the shortened bench, the B’s killed off Marchand’s five-minute major and overcame the obstacle of losing one of their top offensive sparks.
“It was great. It’s one of those things that, you know, if you let it slip away it could be ugly pretty quickly and we didn’t let that happen. We did a really, really good job on that penalty kill and then just took over again,” Tuukka Rask said about overcoming the loss of Marchand after notching his eighth shutout of the season.
“After that kill, it was a couple of minutes where we kind of tried to regain our legs under us and regain control of the game. But after that, we never looked back and just a great game.”
The Bruins never looked back, but Marchand will be reliving his spear on Dotchin as he tries to plead his case to the league to escape suspension on Thursday. At the very least, one should expect another fine, perhaps similar to the $10,000 he was docked for slew-footing Kronwall.
Some fans and media pundits alike have brought up Sidney Crosby’s spear on Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly and how the Penguins star escaped any form of discipline there. Uncalled for and deserving of a suspension? Yes. But even so, that doesn’t excuse Marchand and his repeat offender status will certainly be in doubt.
The league, however, has a history of not docking any games for ‘cup checks’. Remember Milan Lucic’s spear on Danny DeKeyser three years ago during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? That only drew a $5,000 fine.
Publicly, Marchand, who is one of five Bruins to skate in all 80 games so far, won’t admit whether or not he deserves to sit and watch for a game or two. Afterward, Marchand was trying to soak in the moment of clinching the playoffs in what can best be described as a bittersweet moment for him on Tuesday night.
“I have no idea. I haven’t seen the replay, but I got kicked out of the game and the refs made their call,” Marchand said. “So I’m just trying to enjoy the win with the boys.”
Smart money suggests that Marchand won’t be enjoying his time away from his team as they try to improve their playoff positioning beginning Thursday night versus the Sens.