Boston Bruins left winger Brad Marchand was clearly not expecting to be suspended for slew-footing Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during Sunday's 3-2 win at TD Garden.
The NHL's Department of Player Safety felt differently and suspended Marchand for three games. It's the seventh suspension of his career and the second he's received for slew-footing.
"I was obviously surprised, just with the way some of those calls have played out recently," Marchand told reporters after Tuesday's morning skate. "But my opinion on it doesn't really matter. It doesn't change anything. It is what it is. We saw it one way. They clearly saw it a different way."
Marchand has made a strong effort in recent seasons to be less of an agitator and play a hard but cleaner game. During that time he's become one of the league's most prolific scorers. However, these changes were not enough to save him from a suspension this time around.
"I have tried extremely hard over the last four years to get away from the reputation I've had. I think I've done an extremely good job of that," Marchand explained. "I know early on I crossed over the line a lot of times and it's unfortunate that continues to haunt me.
"If you go back, it's 310-plus games, so almost four years. I play hard, there's no question, and I compete. I'm no longer the player I was that had to break into the league -- and play the way I felt I had to establish myself. I was hoping that at this point that they would've seen past what's gone on.
"You can look at my stats. In the last four or five years, I think I'm third behind (Connor) McDavid and (Leon) Draisaitl in statistics. I feel like I've completely transformed myself from the player I was to a player that should be respected in this league for his abilities. But again, I understand completely the history that I have, but I was just hoping they'd see past that and obviously that wasn't the case."
Marchand confirmed the league brought up his history of supplemental discipline when discussing this incident that resulted in a three-game suspension.
"They expressed that. That's part of the conversation. It always will be, which I understand," Marchand said. "I'm not oblivious to my past and I don't deny that it's there and say that I deserved everything that was there. But it will always, in these hearings, be brought up. It'll always be part of it. But I was just hoping that it wouldn't be because I've worked to try and get away from that and be a good player.
"I was hoping it would not be part of it and I'd be given the benefit of the doubt. But that's not up for me to decide. I'm not going to criticize them. They're doing their job and doing it the way they feel is fit. I was just a little caught off guard because of, again, how things have been dealt with recently. I was hoping it'd be dealt with that way, and not because of my previous history."
Marchand will miss Tuesday's game against the Detroit Red Wings, Thursday's matchup with the Nashville Predators and Saturday's showdown versus the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
His suspension comes at a pretty bad time for the Bruins amid Anton Blidh's injury and Jake DeBrusk's trade request. The Bruins need a middle-six forward or two to step up and fill the void created by Marchand's absence over the next week or so.