Source: Brad Marchand's spearing play under review by NHL Player Safety

Source: Brad Marchand's spearing play under review by NHL Player Safety

BOSTON – Brad Marchand did the crime, and now he’s probably, unfortunately also going to have to do the time. 

Marchand is under review by the NHL Department of Player Safety once again after a spearing play to the groin of Tampa Bay defenseman Jake Dotchin in the B’s 4-0 shutout win over the Lightning at TD Garden that also punched Boston’s ticket into the playoffs. 

Marchand was slapped with a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the nasty action of whacking Dotchin between the legs with his stick, and it would appear that the B’s left winger is also in line for more than a fine after his long history of dangerous, dirty plays that have put fellow players in harm’s way. A contrite Marchand said after the game that he regretted his actions and the way it could have cost his team in such an important game, but he didn’t go into too much detail about what caused him to lose it on Dotchin. 

“It was an undisciplined penalty. There’s no question about that, and it could have cost the team a very important game,” said Marchand. “But the guys did a great job of rallying and having a huge game. It was just a reaction, to be honest. Just a reactionary play, but obviously very undisciplined though.

“I have no idea [if there will be a suspension]. I haven’t seen the replay, but I got kicked out of the game and the refs made their call. So I’m just trying to enjoy the win with the boys.”

While other players have gotten away with fines for spears to the groin in recent years, ironically enough Brandon Prust paid a $5,000 fine for spearing Marchand in the groin last season, it’s more the entire dirty body of work (slew-footing, clipping and kicking guy’s legs out from under them) for No. 63 that’s going to earn him a potential suspension from NHL disciplinarians.  

For his part, Bruce Cassidy also called Marchand’s actions undisciplined and said he planned to have a chat with his emotional play once things had died down a little bit following the clincher. 

“We want all our players on the ice from start to finish, and it’s that simple. It was undisciplined, and there was not much else I can do about it but coach the game,” said Cassidy. “We’ll have a talk with Brad. He’s got to be more responsible, but at the end of the day, it happened. There’s really nothing any of us can do out on the ice other than play and get the job done. That’s what we did.”

It remains to be seen how long the Bruins will have to go on without Marchand if he is indeed suspended, but at least they proved on Tuesday night that they could win a big game against a good team without him. 

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.