While Brad Marchand continues to come through in the clutch for the Bruins and push his team toward winning hockey, there are plenty outside of Boston less than excited to see the Bruins winger once again putting the finishing touches on another brilliant season. One of those individuals is New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, who has been out of the Jersey lineup with a concussion ever since taking an elbow to the head that saw Marchand get suspended for five games.
Johansson practiced for the first time with the Devils on Monday since suffering the concussion after the Jan. 23 Marchand hit, and he didn’t hold back when asked about the hit and the opponent that took him out for the last couple of months.
"It was stupid. There's nothing else to say about it. There was no point in doing that," said Johansson, who has played in just 29 games this season while dealing with two different concussion injuries, to reporters in New Jersey. "There was no hockey play there whatsoever. I think it's sad to see that there are still guys out there that are trying to hurt other guys. I think there's nothing else to say about it. It's sad, it's stupid.
“I hope it doesn't come to him ending someone else's career before it's enough. That's not why we play the game. I think there are always situations where you try and hit someone and you try to make a hockey play, and things can go wrong. Then there are plays like this, [a play] that has nothing to do with hockey. So it's sad to see, and I guess I'm unfortunate to be on the receiving end of that."
Johansson also told reporters that he didn’t think the five game suspension handed out to Marchand was enough of a punishment, and that his history of nine fines and suspensions over his NHL career was evidence of that. At the time of the high, dangerous hit, Marchand had said that he was protecting himself from an oncoming New Jersey checker and that he wasn’t aware it was specifically Johansson approaching him in his peripheral vision.
Marchand has managed to stay out of trouble since the five-game suspension in late January, and the hope is that his Player Safety troubles are behind him this season with the Stanley Cup playoffs little more than two weeks into the future.