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Its natural to wonder just how far Brad Marchand will stepover the line this season.
The 23-year-old madehimself an NHL household name with his performance in the Stanley CupFinals, and cemented his preferred playing style by using the Sedins asa personal punching bags in front of a nationalaudience.
The imageof Marchand jabbing at a submissive Sedin will live on forever, andeven popped up Monday as B-roll footage while sports pundits chimed inon the 31st birthdays for both Henrik andDaniel.
The Bruins' resident agitator scored 21goals in his rookie season and settled for a playoff hero position justbelow Tim Thomas and Dennis Seidenberg on the Stanley Cup ladder, buthes first recognized for his antagonizing ways. Marchand wouldnt haveit any other way, given thats the trouble-making path he carved whilemaking it to the NHL, but he also knows people will be watching him alittle more actively this season.
Marchandsubscribes to the any press is good press theory to most everythingin his NHL career, but even that has itslimits.
You dont want to go over the line, andwhen you do there are consequences from teammates, coaches or themedia, said Marchand. Any time you score a goal you cant help butget excited, and thats just the way it is. Some guys do a little morethan others, and some guys are relaxed.
Theresenough personality in the league now with guys doing stuff, but therecould always be more, added Marchand.
Marchand haswitnessed the criticism that young players like P.K. Subban weather astheir animated goal celebrations get broken down by the fun police, andits always bothered the 5-foot-8 winger. Sometimes it goes over thetop as it did when Marchand gave a golf swing to the Toronto MapleLeafs at the end of last season to signify that their golfing seasonhad begun early.
There is definitely a fine line,but the older you get and the more mature you get definitely keeps youwalking that line.
But Marchand has credited coachClaude Julien with helping to teach him the right way to execute achallenging job being made more difficult by NHK VP of Players SafetyBrendan Shanahan. Marchand was benched against the Islanders midwaythrough last season among other instances of tough love, and those arethe kind of instances Julien is hoping to see less of movingforward.
I dont want to change what I did to gethere, said Marchand. You might want to fine-tune it a bit, but guysfor the most part need to stick with what got them to the NHL.
"They need to be that player. If I change up toomuch then Im not going to be as good player. At the same you alsodont want to be that guy that goes over the line, and then makes afool out your teammates or takespenalties.
Marchand is in the business of makingopponents feel like the fools rather than teammates, and its part ofwhat made him so successful last season during the playoff run.
Its going to be difficult for Marchand to repeatlast years breakthrough campaign, considering the attention andexpectations that will be present following Bostons run to the Cup.The referees will be watching and he wont be sneaking up on anybody,but things will be okay for Marchand as long as hes making a fool outof opponents rather than out of himself.