BOSTON – Lars Eller vowed after the last game against Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins that he would “handle” things in their next meeting. He tried on Thursday, but found Marchand unwilling to oblige.
The Capitals and Bruins last met on Oct. 3, the season opener. After raising the Stanley Cup banner to the rafters, Washington celebrated by delivering a 7-0 beat down of the Bruins. Despite the score, the game ultimately ended on a sour note for the Caps.
Marchand, angered by Eller celebrating his goal to make the score 7-0, dropped the gloves against an unwilling Eller and left the Caps’ center bloodied after the bout. Eller said after he was “jumped” and that he “wasn’t looking to fight.” He also vowed “We'll handle that. We'll see what happens next game.”
At Thursday’s morning skate, Eller declined to comment about Marchand specifically. Instead, he tried to let his fists do the talking.
In the second period, the two exchanged hits, and Eller immediately dropped the gloves. Marchand, however, declined the invitation.
Eller continued to try to goad Marchand into dancing, even as the linesman tried to intervene. He gave Marchand’s jersey a number of tugs, eventually bringing him down to the ice.
For his trouble, Eller was given two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. Marchand walked away with no penalty.
“He obviously didn't want any part of it,” Eller said. “Everybody saw.”
“I was a little let down that Marchand didn't drop his gloves since the other way Lars got jumped,” T.J. Oshie said.
Marchand excels in agitating his opponents. It’s what he does. It was no surprise to see him unwilling to tussle with Eller knowing that would probably frustrate him more than simply dropping the gloves. He also earned his team a power play by refusing to engage.
“I don’t really feel the need to try to prove anything,” Marchand said. “[Eller] plays, you know, maybe 10, 12 minutes a night and I’m playing 20. So in a 1-0 game, to go on the power play, it doesn't make a lot of sense so that’s the way it is.”
But it was ironic to see the situation play out considering Eller had not wanted to fight Marchand back in October. That wasn't good enough for Marchand, who proceeded to throw haymakers. Eller did not get that opportunity on Thursday.
So is the matter now settled?
“I would rather fight him, but can't fight a guy that doesn't want to fight,” Eller said. “Everybody saw what he is. … I don’t think there’s a lot of integrity in his game.”
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