Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand has become a strong contender to be named a candidate for the 2021 Hart Trophy. Edmonton Oilers superstar captain Connor McDavid is already a lock to win the award for a second time but after finishing third in points (69) behind McDavid’s 105 points and his teammate Leon Draisaitl’s 84 points, as well as sixth in goals with 29 lamplighters, there is plenty of momentum for the Bruins MVP this season to slide into second or third place in votes.
That’s why it seemed so odd that Brad Marchand seemed so lost in the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series. The Bruins leader in goals, assists (40), and points was forcing plays that he’d normally be patient on and dictate himself. He didn’t have his usual burst of speed and powerful stride, as well as his trademark tenacity.
After Marchand finished Game 1 with no points and one shot in 26 shifts for 23:07 TOI, plenty of media and fans wondered aloud on social media if the potential Hart Trophy and Selke Trophy candidate is playing hurt?
On Sunday, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was asked if he was worried about his best player this season?
“No, I don’t worry about Brad too often unless there’s a lingering issue and there’s none of that that I’m aware of in terms of an injury,” Cassidy said. “At the end of the day, he didn’t have his best last night, he’s still a factor in the game. You could tell early on that he wasn’t quite there in terms of his legs. He had that 2-on-1 early on, tried to get it to ‘Pasta’ [David Pastrnak] and I think he had more time. Normally he’d attack more and force that D to commit and then he’d make the play.”
Still, it was only eleven days before Game 1 that Brad Marchand crashed hard into the end boards in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils on May 4.
Brad Marchand slams hard into the boards – but appears to be ok. pic.twitter.com/O8yu1XmPSc
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 5, 2021
But Cassidy went on to make it point to let the media know just how bad the ice was and how it created plenty of bad bounces for both the Bruins and Capitals. This is why he’s not too worried about Brad Marchand just yet.
So, right then it’s just like, ‘oh, maybe he doesn’t have the jump he needs.’ …at the end of the day, I thought that if – I don’t know how it is to watch on TV – but there’s a lot of bouncing pucks for both teams so the ice wasn’t terrific either so you really had to work to get up and down the ice,” he said. “Now you got a heavy team so hopefully tomorrow, that’s behind us. That sort of first game get into it mentality, now let’s get going cause as I said, I think both teams had some pucks that weren’t bouncing and clean on situations they could’ve been in. With ‘March’ like I said, I’m not worried, he’ll be better and he’ll get that line going and he should be fine.”