Is it time for Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand to reel it in again with his actions between the whistles?
Marchand has now taken seven penalties this season, but the first six penalties were taken in the heat of the battle during play. This past Saturday, though, Marchand was sent to the sin bin for unsportsmanlike conduct 4:48 into the third period after getting into it with referee Chris Lee on what he believed was a missed hooking call. This puck scribe is not a professional lip reader – and I apologize but I was unable to find and clip the video – but to the common eye, Marchand appeared to tell Lee: “Do your bleeping job!”
Whatever Marchand said to Lee, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was frustrated and ticked off that his captain would lose his cool like that with his team trailing the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in the final period of a 3-2 loss.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 12, 2023
“Can’t take those penalties. It’s inexcusable,” Montgomery told reporters after the game. “Refs ref games. Players play games.”
While Brad Marchand admitted he made a mistake, he still couldn’t resist taking another shot at Rooney.
“I don’t know how it gets any more obvious than the call that he missed there,” Marchand told reporters after the loss, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “But, I can’t let my emotions get the best of me there. It is what it is.”
To his credit, Marchand did atone for his lack of discipline by tying the game at two on a power play 12:58 into the final frame and ultimately earning the Bruins a point they really didn’t deserve, but this was not a good look for the first-year captain who has worked so hard to put his checkered past on the ice behind him. When Marchand was named the 27th captain in franchise history on September 20, he cited the infamous licking incident with then-Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan as a turning point in his career that made him realize he needed to change his ways.
“You know, again, it’s not something that you ever expect. And you know, my brother said something to me when I told him,” Marchand said. “He said something along the lines of four or five years ago, everybody hated you, you know, and now, you turning around, you’re the captain of the team. It’s been pretty incredible the way that things change. And, perhaps that incident with Callahan was kind of one of those moments where I realized that it kind of was getting away from me a little bit.”
Make no mistake, NHL referees seem to have had it with the constant verbal abuse they’ve taken more and more each year and now seem as empowered as MLB umpires. Two NHL head coaches have already been ejected this season, and at times, they almost seem to be out for blood. Knowing that, it’s on Marchand to not only bite his tongue but to make sure his teammates do the same so that the Bruins don’t find themselves having to kill off powerplays at inopportune times again. He’s shown he has the ability to do that and lead, and this could be a good early-season lesson of how much more disciplined he needs to be now as captain of the Boston Bruins.