“We’re on to Round Three,” is all Boston Bruins star winger Brad Marchand wanted or felt the need to say.
Reporters wanted to ask and talk about Marchand’s recent terse media exchanges including an abbreviated pregame interview with Hockey Night In Canada rink side reporter Kyle Bukauskas in which Bukauskas chirped Marchand about stomping on Columbus forward Cam Atkinson’s stick.
Marchand only wanted to talk about Round Three, and so that’s what he did.
Marchand is doing his part to restore the league hatred which has dogged the Bruins. But has he done anything wrong? Marchand was chirped by one of our media colleagues, didn’t like it, now he is reading from Bill Belichick’s media relations manual. Now the Eastern Conference Final could be dubbed the Battle Of The Jerks; the lovable “Bunch Of Jerks” Carolina Hurricanes and the Bruins who are the NHL’s formerly and seemingly hated bunch of jerks.
“We’re on to Round Three,” Marchand repeated several times as reporters sought to ask about his media performance in Round Two. Marchand is already hated in most NHL corners, but since clinching against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday, the Bruins public perception like their New England football brethren are a not so lovable “Bunch Of Jerks”. The Marchand this scribe has covered all season would’ve given a “nicely played” to a good chirp as he so often does with his fun-loving twitter battles. However, this is playoff Marchand and the team is rallying around him.
As this video of hockey Youtuber and respected Sportsnet Blogger Steve Dangle Glynn shows, fans and media alike around the NHL wanted Marchand to be fined what they felt was behavior not only disrespectful to Bukauskas, but to the NHL and its fans. They’re also tired of the Bruins and sick of them getting borderline calls.
The Bruins have officially broken Steve Dangle pic.twitter.com/ket4ooredv
— TheRenderNHL (@TheRenderNHL) May 8, 2019
Wait, is this about the perception of the Bruins getting borderline calls or because Marchand dished a cold shoulder instead of a hard shoulder?
Dangle’s ire isn’t just limited to Maple Leafs fans either. As expected, Bukauskas’ colleagues got his back and former NHL goaltender Kelly Hrudey told Marchand to “grow up!”
"He's just so immature and he's not that clever…"
Kelly Hrudey sums up Brad Marchand in 22 seconds. Watch. pic.twitter.com/ISRivh9Poy
— Rather Gingerly (@WinterLions) May 7, 2019
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 8, 2019
Marchand isn’t exactly chummy or always in agreement with the media, Marchand has always been respectful and many times fun. He most definitely hasn’t crossed that fine line, which he admittedly crossed too many times on the ice.
Following the terse post-game interview with Bukauskas after the Bruins’ Round Two series-clinching 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Marchand fielded questions from the rest of the media, too. He answered in the same manner, leaving at least the Boston media wondering what they may have done to offend the pesky Boston Bruins sniper.
Here’s the video of an earlier (in the series) exchange between Kyle Bukauskas and Marchand that some believe is the reason for this type of response. pic.twitter.com/xVx5yAXbZs
— hockeyfights (@hockeyfights) May 7, 2019
With that stick incident and some chirping of his own through the media, Marchand seemed to be going back to the petulant aggravator that found himself under the tight focus of the officials and the NHL Department Of Player Safety for so many of the last six or so seasons. Maybe it helped in what was as expected, a very physical series against the Blue Jackets? We will never know for sure, as the Bruins enter the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013 and play the Carolina Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, Marchand is going the Belichick stern and tight-lipped route.
Clearly, the Bruins brass did not like what transpired in that interview, but Sweeney also made sure to point out that Marchand, unlike what he does so well on the ice, did not instigate this situation and he’s correct.
“Crispy, is that the word that I’ve heard? It’s something we’ll address. We always do. We talk to all of our players when we have situations that arise and become a little more public than we would like them,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney told the media Tuesday. We’ll address it accordingly. Brad has obligations to you and the media in a respectful manner and is a professional, and we’ll address it,” Sweeney continued. “And to be honest with you so does the media, you know in the same light. I would ask for the same on both sides.”
Could Marchand have handled this better? Yes, of course. During their 2011 Stanley Cup run, the Boston Bruins, as so many eventual championship teams do, had plenty of breaks and borderline calls go their way and as so many fans in other cities did then, the hockey world is starting focus in on the Bruins as the team no one wants to win the Stanley Cup. Just as Belichick the Patriots have successfully done so many times, it appears Marchand the Bruins are ready to embrace the hate and take the Us vs Them approach.
Let the Battle Of The Jerks commence.
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