Countdown to Bruins training camp: Brad Marchand

Countdown to Bruins training camp: Brad Marchand

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2018-19 Bruins. Today: Brad Marchand.

Marchand, 30, is coming off another Hart Trophy-level season with the Bruins after performing as a point-per-game player and again surpassing the 30-goal plateau. There was also the requisite suspension and extracurricular activities in the playoffs that kept his notorious reputation intact, even if this time it was licking opponent’s faces in a pretty unprecedented move. Marchand was great on the ice, dangerous in all situations and continues to take on more leadership responsibilities as one of the best players on the team. The one question with Marchand is whether he’s ever going to completely clean up his act or if that’s just part of the package with him.   

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What Happened Last Year: Marchand a decent chunk of time (14 games) with suspension and injuries, but still managed to crank out 31 goals and 84 points in 68 games for a ridiculously high point-per-game output. Marchand is almost impossible to stop with the puck on his stick. He's tough, clutch and one of the most dangerous game-breakers in the NHL. He plays in all situations, including being a deadly penalty killer. Marchand was also suspended five games for throwing a head shot at New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson, and is very clearly at the end of the rope when it comes to the NHL and supplementary discipline. The Nose Face Killah rebounded well from that suspension and had a strong playoff run with four goals and 17 points in 12 games while dominating long stretches of the Toronto series with his linemates. Marchand a, unfortunately, licked the faces of Leo Komarov and Ryan Callahan, and his hijinks might have cost the Bruins a key call or two late in the Tampa Bay series that ended quickly in five games. Clearly, there were some low points, but all in all, Marchand was again one of the best players in the league and would not appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Questions To Be Answered This Season: With Marchand, everybody knows that he’s going to bring his best just about every night. The offense, the two-way play, the grittiness, the energy and the special teams’ dynamics are all part of his nightly bag of tricks, It’s why he should again be in the conversation for the Hart Trophy. Still, Marchand needs to cut the crap with the suspensions and the other extracurriculars that are hurting the Bruins every time he goes over the line. It may be that both go hand-in-hand that the Bruins can’t get the all-around dynamo without the occasional walk on the wild man side, but Marchand has to see just how much of a good NHL citizen he can be while still being himself. The Bruins need him on the ice and they need to keep in the good graces of the officials. A big part of doing that remains within Marchand’s power alone.

In Their Own Words: “I think that our chemistry, and what we’ve been able to [do] the last couple of years - it’s been a lot of fun, for one. But, yeah, I feel very fortunate to be playing on a line like that. You know, I’ve been fortunate to play with some really good players in the past, but we just seem to have a really good chemistry that allows us to be good. So it’s a lot of fun playing with them.” –Brad Marchand, on playing with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the “Perfection Line” for the bulk of last season, when all three dominated routinely.

Overall Outlook: Marchand is one of the NHL’s best players and one of the big reasons behind the Bruins surge back into the playoff picture the past couple of seasons. His offense, combined with his longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron, powers the Bruins, his special teams play make both units NHL standouts and Marchand is still an incredibly unpredictable force that opposing defenses have to account for. With that comes a lot more defensive attention, of course, and that means staying healthy and out of trouble when the hard hits and physical targeting come his way. Marchand is used to that by now, of course, and just needs to prove he’s maturing with good discipline and playing through any attempts to goad him into doing something suspension-worthy. He’s too good of a player for that. There’s a legitimate question as to whether his perception around the league is ever going to change if he goes on the straight and narrow, but that’s something Marchand will have to find out by keeping his nose clean a little more than in previous seasons. 

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Marchand expected to avoid any discipline in Duclair collision

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AP Photo

Marchand expected to avoid any discipline in Duclair collision

BOSTON – It looks like this time Brad Marchand will be given the benefit of the doubt from the NHL’s long arm of the law.

Marchand was whistled for interference after colliding violently with Chicago forward Anthony Duclair in the first period of Boston’s 7-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon, and Duclair was helped off the ice with an apparent right knee injury.

The sense following the game was that the NHL Department of Player Safety was viewing the collision as accidental rather than intentional, and as such doesn’t hand out supplementary discipline for things that happen by accident. So in essence Marchand was in the clear in this particular incident just a day after paying a $2,000 fine for embellishment, and just a couple of months removed from a five-game suspension for a check to the net of New Jersey’s Marcus Johansson.

After the game, Marchand said both players simply couldn’t get out of the way of one another, and that there was no intent on his part to do anything untoward.

“I was coming up ice and I think he was coming down the fore-check and we both got caught in the train tracks and we both didn’t know which direction to go, but we just kind of tried to avoid each other,” said Marchand, who posted a couple of assists in the win over the Blackhawks. “I think it’s really unfortunate, I think he twisted up his foot or something, that’s tough to see.

I think it’s pretty clear that I was trying to get out of the way, that he was trying to get out of the way. You know, it’s tough. Things like that happen in hockey. You never want to see a guy get hurt, but we were trying to avoid each other.”

Some Blackhawks players weren’t quite so sure it was accidental after the game given Marchand’s track record of six suspensions and eight guilty verdicts of supplemental discipline from the league.

“I think it was a dirty play,” said Chicago defenseman Erik Gustafsson. “I think Marchand sees him coming and I don’t know how if he does it on purpose or not, but he gets stuck and Duclair gets stuck, got his feet stuck in the ice. It looked pretty bad.”

Marchand had turned to go up ice and a split-second later was directly in the “train tracks” with Duclair, and instinctively raised his arm and tried to jump over the Chicago forward to avoid contact with him.

Instead Marchand caught Duclair with his right arm acting like a clothes-line of sorts, and the Chicago forward had his right leg bend awkwardly behind as he crashed to the ice. It was clear that he hyper-extended his knee on the play, and Marchand was served with a two-minute penalty on a play that looked accidental in nature.

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Marchand on $2,000 embellishment fine: 'It's a joke'

Marchand on $2,000 embellishment fine: 'It's a joke'

BOSTON – Brad Marchand is carrying the Bruins right now with Patrice Bergeron out with a fractured right foot, so he doesn’t have the time or the inclination to worry about the $2,000 he was fined by the NHL on Friday for embellishment.

Marchand has five goals and nine points in the five games since Bergeron went down and the Bruins have gone 5-0-0 while watching Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and David Backes all get subtracted from the lineup. Within the five game-winning streak, Marchand also had a play behind the Pittsburgh net where he was whistled for embellishment in the March 1 win over the Penguins. Both Marchand and Olli Maatta were whistled for off-setting penalties, and that was the play where he was ultimately fined by the NHL.

Marchand was given a warning from NHL Hockey Operations back in the Nov. 29 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the defiant B’s agitator said the $2,000 fine from the league wasn’t going to change anything he was doing on the ice.

“That [$2,000] hit is very small and minor. It’s the last thing I’m going to worry about,” said Marchand, when asked if the fine will change the way he plays. “I don’t care about this. It’s a joke. It’s a small amount of money and pretty stupid. But it is what it is.t

“It’s very easy to dictate somebody saying I fell a certain way. How are they going to tell how a guy is balanced on a certain area of the ice? When sticks are between your feet and your being pushed at different angles, they forget how to play the game pretty quickly. They go from being players to being management and running the league pretty quickly, and they forget what it’s like to play. But it is what it is.”

If Marchand were to be cited three more times for embellishment by the NHL this season, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy would also begin getting fined by the league as well. The B’s coach sounded like that was a road he wasn’t interested in going down. Marchand derisively called it “the new NHL”, but Cassidy has taken a much more detached approach to any treatment, good or bad, that the Bruins were receiving from the league.

“They have their guidelines or whatever they use to make their decisions, and generally you abide by them and move along,” said Cassidy. “We’ll talk to Brad about it, but I’m sure he’s aware that they’re on to him, for lack of a better term. Hopefully, this will be the last one for him.

“The coach does get [a fine] eventually, and the kids need to go to college...so I will have a chat with him.”

With less than a month to go in the NHL regular season, it’s doubtful that Marchand is going to be racking up too many more embellishment calls ahead of the playoffs. But it also doesn’t sound much like No. 63 cares if it does go down that way either as he’s got bigger fish to fry carrying a playoff-bound team on his shoulders as he readies for the postseason.

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