Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand had a solid run of a few seasons where he was able to avoid trouble with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety while putting together Hart Trophy-level production for the Black and Gold.
Unfortunately, things have been a little more reminiscent of the past for Marchand and the Bruins this season as the B’s left winger is serving out his second suspension of a 2021-22 campaign that’s barely halfway over. The six-game suspension came as a result of a gloved punch to the back of Tristan Jarry’s head and a poke from Marchand’s stick near his mask during a heated third period moment after Jarry had speared Charlie Coyle near the Pittsburgh net.
Brad Marchand clocks Tristan Jarry and chaos ensues…not good: pic.twitter.com/15Qt0NeDcK
— Blake Thorne (@_BlakeThorne) February 9, 2022
Marchand’s eighth career suspension makes him the league’s all-time leader in that unfortunate category at this point, and also has resulted in well over $1 million in game checks forfeited throughout his 10-plus year career.
With his eighth suspension, Brad Marchand officially passed Chris Pronger for the most individual suspensions in NHL history.
— BarDown (@BarDown) February 10, 2022
Marchand addressed the media on Friday and admitted that what he did was “stupid” but stopped well short of accepting that it was a suspension-worthy offense.
“Was it stupid? Of course, it was stupid,” said Marchand. “I’m not denying that. I absolutely should not have done it. But suspension-worthy? I don’t think so. So, again, that’s where in the moment, if I would’ve thought that I was getting suspended, yeah, I wouldn’t have done it. Especially if I thought I was going to get six games. That’s the part of it that gets tough sometimes, is to know where the line is. It changes for each player and from each night.”
Marchand further wondered why it was such a hefty suspension given that there was no injury to the Penguins goaltender, and there was never anything close to an injury.
“[Those] plays were not going to injure Jarry. No potential injury on that play. He was very well protected,” said Marchand. “The fact that it’s six games is based on history, not on the play. We believe the last suspension was very hefty when I got three games. It should have been one, based on the fact that I’ve turned my game around and become a pretty good player in this league. But you’re not going to escape the history part of it, which ultimately set me up for this [suspension].”
But alas Marchand’s standing as a repeat offender absolutely factored into everything involved in this decision from beginning to end. Certainly, Don Sweeney wasn’t pulling any punches when asked about Marchand’s “immature” decision-making in that instant on Thursday, but it’s absolutely a double-edged sword with Boston’s best player.
Because one of the first things that Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned following Thursday night’s humbling 6-0 loss to the Hurricanes was that Marchand’s attitude, competitiveness and willingness to drag Boston into the fight were almost completely missing against Carolina aside from Charlie McAvoy’s presence.
“He’s a competitive guy, second and third effort,” said Cassidy. “That passion. That’s why you get asked sometimes, ‘How do you deal with?’ Well, we don’t like when he’s suspended. But we sure as hell would rather have him out there.
“That kind of passion would pull us into the fight tonight, because there wasn’t a ton of that tonight. “There just was not enough pushback. So how are we gonna weather it? We’re certainly gonna need a lot more pushback from guys that are expected to bring it, and some other veteran guys that might not but need to step in their absence. We were lacking both tonight in huge quantities.”
Interestingly enough, Marchand feels strongly enough about all this that he’s reportedly going to appeal the six-game suspension with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and perhaps an independent ruling body. It remains to be seen how long all of that is going to take and whether it could turn into a process that takes longer than serving out a six-game suspension in the first place.