BRIGHTON, MA — Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand can empathize with Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone’s reaction to a questionable hit he took from career minor leaguer and 27-year-old forward Hayden Hodgson in a preseason game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Golden Knights this past Wednesday night. However, when asked about the incident that had the NHL world abuzz for the last 48 hours, Marchand showed more empathy for the journeyman, Hodgson.
“I wouldn’t be happy just because you don’t ever want to get hit like that, regardless of whether he’s an NHL player or not,” Marchand replied. “But at the same time, that’s how every guy had to play to get into the NHL. You’re out there to do a job, trying to make an impression and steal someone’s career. So, if you think you’re going to go out there and not get hit, it doesn’t matter who you are; you have to be ready to play every single night.
“I understand that guys don’t like getting hit preseason because they’re worried about – a guy like him, he’s making a lot of money, he’s on a very long-term deal; he knows he’s going to be on the team, and he’s been a little bit injury-ridden so he wants to get into the season and do well and focus on that.”
In case you haven’t seen the hit or Stone’s postgame reaction in which he took a shot at Hodgson’s career status in what, to this puck scribe, came across as condescending and entitled, here you go:
Perfectly clean hit. It appears that Mark Stone's ego is as fragile as his body is, i wouldn't be surprised to see him placed on LTIR this morning.pic.twitter.com/GQYliIPuux
— Avalanche Forever (@citchmook) September 28, 2023
"That’s probably the last time I’ll ever play against that guy. Not really much of a player, so I’ll leave it at that."
Mark Stone on getting run over by Hayden Hodgson
— Missin Curfew (@MissinCurfew) September 28, 2023
Some of you younger Boston Bruins and NHL fans may not realize it, but Brad Marchand didn’t make the NHL based on skill alone. The then 5-foot-9, 170-pound forward arrived at his first Boston Bruins training camp in 2007, and it took two more camps and 113 games in the AHL with the Providence Bruins before Marchand cracked the team’s NHL roster, playing 20 games in the 2009-10 season. Marchand was known more for his scrappy play than the superstar talent he’s displayed since he had 19 points in the Bruins’ 25-game run to the 2011 Stanley Cup. That playoff run and playing with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Mark Recchi changed Marchand’s career, but that hard-working scrapper remained. That’s probably why Marchand sympathized more with Hodgson than Stone when asked about the incident on Friday.
“If you’re going to play in the preseason, you have to be aware that guys are going to be trying to make a name for themselves and doing whatever it takes to make a team. Not everyone has the ability to make it as a top 6 forward. You have to be able to play physical and play hard; play with emotion and show that you can do other things. If a kid, his job is out there to hit and be physical, then you gotta know that that’s a possibility.”
“It’s easy to get comfortable in this league when you’ve been around for a while, and I understand both sides but when you’re out there, there’s going to be kids trying to make it, but yeah if I get hit like that, I would probably react the same way,” Marchand said.
The Bruins captain was then asked if he would make his feelings public as Mark Stone did, taking a shot at Hodgson’s status in pro hockey.
“It depends on the situation if it was dirty or not; I thought that was a clean hit,” Marchand opined. “But again, I was that kid one time, and I was doing that same stuff in intra-squad games, so I don’t feel bad doing it to guys on opposing teams. So, that’s part of the gig. It has kind of left the game a little bit because they’re trying to get physicality out of hockey, but there’s still kids that are going to do it. So, if you get comfortable out there not getting hit, it’s going to happen at some point, but we’re in training camp, and like I said, to make a team out of camp, you need to steal someone’s job, which is ultimately someone’s career and you’re not going to let that happen easily so regardless of whether it’s intrasquad, or practice or during games, you’re going to get everybody’s best, and everyone’s highest compete. If you’re not, then those guys don’t deserve to be here.”