While Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand awaits word on Wednesday afternoon’s appeal of his six-game suspension after meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York City, his longtime linemate and friend Patrice Bergeron went to bat for him.
Marchand has already let his thoughts be known on the matter that he didn’t think his actions were “suspension-worthy” and more based on his reputation more than anything else. And it’s no surprise that Bergeron is right there with him while acknowledging that the left winger’s punch and poke stick of Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry was clearly a big time error in judgement at a time when Boston could have used Marchand in the lineup.
“I think he understands that he might have gone too far a little bit that way. I guess the heat [of the] moment got the best of him,” said Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, who is slated to return on Thursday night against the Islanders after recovering from a laceration and bump on the back of his head following a nasty collision with Sidney Crosby. “That being said, I don’t think it deserves a six-game suspension. Even on the other side, I don’t think [the Pittsburgh Penguins] thought that it deserved a six-game suspension.
“I understand [that Marchand] has got a history. I understand all that. Maybe it is a suspendable play because of that. But that being said, I don’t think it is a six-game suspension. That’s what would be my argument, you look around the league and I don’t think the same type of plays have had that stiff of a punishment.”
Clearly it’s a message from the NHL to Marchand now halfway through serving his record eighth career suspension, so it will be interesting to see if No. 63’s appeal to the league decision-makers results in a reduced sentence. It’s quickly reaching a point where Marchand will have served out the complete suspension and may not even reach the second appeal with an independent arbitrator that hasn’t even been scheduled to this point.
If Marchand serves out all six games of his current suspension, he will return a week from today in a road game against the Seattle Kraken.