SEATTLE — For three years, Brad Marchand avoided meeting with the NHL Player Safety Department.
The last interaction between the two parties came following a pair of licking incidents with Leo Komarov and Ryan Callahan during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Marchand didn’t receive any supplemental discipline, but the league put him on notice.
Marchand received a five-game ban for elbowing former New Jersey Devil and eventual teammate Marcus Johansson a few months prior. That marked the last instance of Player Safety handing out supplementary discipline to Marchand before the 2021-22 campaign.
After three seasons of toeing the fine line and providing dazzling on-ice moments, the league finally met with Marchand in late November following an incident with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Though his act paled compared to other disciplinary moments, Player Safety head George Parros still assessed Marchand a three-game ban for slew-footing the Cancuks defenseman.
A few months passed before Marchand had a second meeting with Player Safety for punching Penguins goalie Tristian Jarry on Feb. 8. Marchand failed in his appeal with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to overturn his latest six-game suspension.
“I respect where they come from and how they came to their decision,” Marchand said of the appeal with Bettman. “We wanted to go through the process on the rights that we have as a player once you’re at that point. So, we figured it might as well be worth it. There’s nothing to lose at that point.”
With his latest suspension behind him, Marchand will take his usual spot next to Patrice Bergeron on the top line. Jake DeBrusk will move to his off-wing for his first top-line assignment of the season.
“Listen, I’m not going to look too much into this whole thing,” Marchand said ahead of Thursday’s Bruins-Kraken matchup. “I’m not going to overthink it.”
Marchand’s crafty playmaking draws plenty of attention from the opposition. His edgy reputation often forces other teams to have their heads on a swivel whenever he touches the ice.
Quite frankly, Marchand had a target on his back ever since pushing the Canucks around in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He’s no stranger to opponents trying to push him over the edge. They’ll try to make a habit of it now. Yet, after developing a solid track record of avoiding Player Safety, Marchand, who arrived in Seattle late Wednesday following the birth of his newborn daughter, Rue, isn’t overly concerned over potential ramifications.
“I’ve done a great job the last number of years of reigning everything in,” Marchand added. “If I would’ve thought [the Jarry incident] was going to result in a suspension, that situation would’ve gone a whole lot differently.”
More often than not, Marchand has been an asset to the Bruins over his decade-plus tenure. But at times, he’s been a liability, as proven with his eight career suspensions.
Bruce Cassidy echoed that sentiment in his discussions with Marchand. Now he hopes to see Marchand trend back to asset territory without sacrificing too much of his hard-nosed demeanor.
“He’s going to have his name circled as hey ‘let’s initiate against Brad and see if he’ll retaliate.’ That probably has never changed, but he might be more of a target from certain teams that do that. So that’s something he’ll have to battle through,” Cassidy said. “When you put yourself in that situation, there’s consequences. One of the consequences was the punishment from the league. The next consequence will be will he open himself up to other players to sort of bait him into that. So that’s where he’s going to have to have some discipline.”
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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