Morning Skate: Look at all the ex-Bruins scoring in the Stanley Cup Final

Morning Skate: Look at all the ex-Bruins scoring in the Stanley Cup Final

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while ex-Bruins Colin Miller, Reilly Smith and Brett Connolly all scored goals in a wild Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It certainly wasn’t a banner evening for Bruins GM Don Sweeney watching three players score that he pretty much discarded through expansion draft, trade or out-and-out release. Should the Bruins have protected Colin Miller instead of Kevan Miller in the expansion draft while rolling the dice that Vegas wouldn’t have taken him? Maybe. Were the Bruins right to flip Smith away after he showed some very soft tendencies in his time in Boston? I still think so, even if Jimmy Hayes wasn’t a good idea coming back in return. Is it still a head-scratcher that the Bruins basically punted on Connolly after giving up two second-round picks for him? It is even if he didn’t do anything in his time in Boston. Connolly, who was a first-round pick of the Lightning, still had value and he’s done a good job of salvaging his career with the Washington Capitals. So, while it wasn’t a great night for the Bruins watching a number of former players living it up in the Stanley Cup Final, it’s also hard to blame them for most of it.

*Speaking of Game 1, here’s a rundown of the Golden Knights taking Game 1 with a big-time performance from their fourth line.

*Speaking of Vegas, it’s a real showcase for the NHL’s newest spot when they can bring Michael Buffer into the fold as a pregame introduction-maker.

*Speaking of Vegas again, it looks like the successful season for the Golden Knights is going to play into the salary cap going even higher next season.

*Things continue to get ugly in Ottawa as Daniel Alfredsson had some “off the record” comments about their current owner come to light in public.

*The art of the interview is a key part of the entire process with the NHL scouting combine set to happen this week in Buffalo.

*For something completely different: So what really happened with the director change for "Star Wars Episode IX"?


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Neely: Marchand was spoken to about 'putting a negative focus' on himself and B's

Neely: Marchand was spoken to about 'putting a negative focus' on himself and B's

BOSTON – Bruins ownership and upper management made it pretty clear on Wednesday morning that the bosses’ patience has run out with some of Brad Marchand’s antics after the licking incidents in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Marchand was never penalized or hit with supplemental discipline after opting to lick both Leo Komarov and Ryan Callahan, but the Bruins left winger was put on notice by the NHL in the second round of the playoffs that things wouldn’t be so consequence-free the next time.

BREAKING DOWN THE BRUINS

Marchand made some heartfelt comments that he needs to “cut that [expletive] out” in his end-of-season chat with the media last week. On Wednesday, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and team president Cam Neely took it one step further in their end-of-the-season press conference. Jacobs said that Marchand has basically used up all of his wiggle room with the Bruins and that should be enough to get No. 63 on the straight-and-narrow with his behavior.

“I saw humor in it [at first], and then I thought it was, as it went along, it got pretty silly and not productive towards the team,” said Jacobs. “This is a player [in Marchand] that, I can only think of 30 other teams that would love to have him, so there’s a margin that you give him. But I think he used up that margin.”

Well, that’s a pretty definitive statement from the guy that signs the checks for the Black and Gold and probably speaks to a level of seriousness that the actions took on when they continued in the series Tampa Bay. Neely backed up his owner’s comments and also acknowledged that Marchand is one of the best players in the world who really doesn’t need to do that kind of stuff anymore.

“Brad should be contrite. He was spoken to." Neely said. "I don’t want to go into the details, but he understands how he put a negative focus on him, his family, the organization, his teammates, and the coaching staff. The thing that people don’t understand [is that] Brad is a really good guy. If you don’t know him, and you see this other stuff, then you really don’t think highly of him. He’s a tremendous hockey player. He’s got to the point now where his game on the ice, without the antics, should speak for itself.”

There’s no doubting that the NHL and Bruins organization have made their feelings known and Marchand himself has voiced his desire to change his game for the better. Now, it’s on all parties involved to make sure that happens while at the same time also allowing No. 63 the leeway to continue being an elite NHL left winger. It might not be easy and it will be a shame if it becomes a situation where Marchand’s fun personality is bottled up on the ice, so it remains a work in progress for the organization and player.

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Marchand on his antics: 'I've got to cut that [expletive] out'

Marchand on his antics: 'I've got to cut that [expletive] out'

BRIGHTON, Mass – After a few days of thinking about it and undoubtedly a few closed-door conversations with his Bruins bosses, Brad Marchand has come to a conclusion that we’ve admittedly heard out of him before. The Bruins forward says he wants to change, needs to change and plans to change moving forward after ending this season with more people talking about his on-ice licking than his on-ice playing.

Marchand, 29, ended up in hot water with the NHL after licking Ryan Callahan’s face in an altercation in Game 4 of their second-round series and was publicly warned that doing it again would result in supplemental discipline. He was never penalized for licking, kissing or nuzzling opponents on the ice and never ended up paying in a fine or a suspension in the three instances when he pulled the stunt against Toronto or Tampa Bay.

Still, it wasn’t exactly a high point in the storied history of the Bruins to see one of their best players called to the carpet for licking an opponent’s face. It also feels like the kind of thing that’s hurting Marchand when it comes to getting calls from the on-ice officials.

The same referees that were probably embarrassed at being unable to penalize Marchand for those on-ice antics are the ones that completely ignored Anton Stralman slashing him on the hand in a key third-period breakaway in Game 2 against the Lightning that ridiculously wasn’t called a penalty. 

Some of it might have been a missed call, of course, but some of it might have also the work of on-ice officials that have long since given up on giving No. 63 the benefit of the doubt despite his standing as one of the best players in the league.

With all that in mind, Marchand knows that he needs to change his ways as he continues to make the career-long transformation from agitator to All-Star and elite player. He didn’t pull any of the punches thrown at himself as he spoke with the media at Bruins breakup day on Wednesday while cleaning up his locker in the Warrior Ice Arena dressing room.   

“I’ve got to cut that [expletive] out,” said Marchand. “After having a couple days, kind of looking back on the year and seeing what’s happened the last few days with all the media and everything, I think the biggest thing for me now is to really take a pretty hard looking in the mirror and realize the actions, some of the things that I’m doing have much bigger consequences.

“I’ve always been a pretty easy-going guy and there’s not a whole lot that fazes me at all. I think it’s kind of gotten to the point where the last thing I ever want to do is bring the embarrassment to my teammates and the organization that it did. I have to be a lot better. I know I’ve said that in the past but that’s got to be the thing that I really work on the most. I think I’ve gotten my game to a pretty decent spot but I’ve got some character things and things that I’ve done that clearly need some fixing. That’s going to be the biggest thing that I take away from what’s happened the last few days.”

It’s certainly true that Marchand doesn’t need to do any of the envelope-pushing anymore on the ice. Instead, he should just focus on being a great all-around player and a goal-scorer (only Alex Ovechkin and Vladimir Tarasenko score more goals than him the past three NHL seasons). It remains to be seen if strictly behaving and skating between the lines takes some of the necessary bite from his overall game, and if removing some of the edginess takes away from his overall effectiveness as a player.

“He’s a very intelligent, very smart guy and he knows that he will make a proper adjustment so these things won’t be happening,” said Zdeno Chara. “He’s one of the most competitive players that I’ve ever played with. He’s a good person, he’s a great father and he’s a great teammate. He plays on the edge, he’s always played on the edge and that’s what got him to this point where he is one of the best left wingers in the game.

“He’s got to realize that his contributions to this team on the ice are very important, so he’s got to enjoy those moments when he’s on top of his game and really focused on playing. You can’t blame him because he’s such a strong, competitive guy, but I think he also realizes that he needs to get better. And he will. I’m sure he’ll have some thoughts on some of the stuff, and make sure it doesn’t affect his game or his team. He will be better.”

The bottom line with Marchand is this: He certainly stirred up the NHL’s hornet’s nest with his tongue’s unsportsmanlike conduct, but he made it all the worse for himself when he couldn’t quiet down the noise with his play in the playoffs. He followed up the licking warning from the league by putting up zero shots on net in the Game 5 loss to the Lightning that eliminated Boston and that kind of no-show from No. 63 is inexcusable given his situation headed into the game.

Let’s also hope he doesn’t go too far in the other direction of turning into one of the NHL’s choir boys. The league needs their heroes and villains and nobody enjoys executing their heel turn more than Marchand, which makes him one of the most discussed and notorious players of his era. The Nose Face Killah needs to be choosy about how it plays out in games and certainly needs to be wary of the way his actions might impact the Bruins brand overall. He also needs to keep his tongue to himself when he’s on the ice. 

It sounds as if No. 63 is shooting for all of those things after some soul-searching the past couple of days, but the true proof will be in the way he handles all of this next season after a long summer to think about it.  

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