NHL On TNT analyst and former NHL winger Colby Armstrong blasted NHL referee Garrett Rank for the two first period penalties he called on Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand in the Bruins-Sabres game Thursday night.
With his team up 1-0 early thanks to rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei’s third goal of the season, Marchand found himself in the sin-bin for four minutes just 7:31 into the opening frame. Marchand let up on what could have been a hard cross-check but was basically Marchand rubbing out his opponent, and yet was called for a two-minute cross-checking minor. The call received unanimous disapproval on social media and TNT wasn’t even showing a replay of it for people to share.
Brad Marchand then let Rank have it and didn’t stop yapping even when he sat down in the penalty box. Rank took offense and gave Marchand an additional two-minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
— HighlightHarbor (@HighlightHarbor) December 28, 2023
Thankfully for the Boston Bruins, their penalty kill unit found their way again and killed off the Sabres’ four-minute powerplay. Marchand actually hopped out of the penalty box and went in for a scoring chance but was denied by Buffalo Sabres goalie Devon Levi.
— 2 Goalies 1 Mic (@2Goalies1Mic) December 28, 2023
The Bruins’ captain did, however, pick up the secondary assist on a Charlie Coyle powerplay goal that put the Bruins up 2-0 13:42 into the first period.
Charlie Coyle made himself nice and cozy in front of the net. pic.twitter.com/xrnoy5gxgt
— Lauren Campbell 👾 (@lalalalaurrrren) December 28, 2023
That was the score heading into the first intermission, where Armstrong, a Marchand-like agitator in his playing days, absolutely ripped Rank for not just a phantom cross-checking call but also abusing his power with the unsportsmanlike minor. Studio host Liam McHugh started off out of the first break, asking about the call, and Armstrong came in hot.
Armstrong: “I’d be mad, too!”
McHugh: “Anson Carter, you didn’t love the call?
Armstrong: “Like brutal call. If you look at it, he was going to cross-check him – which is so on brand – but then he goes, ‘OK. I’m not gonna cross-check him; I’m just gonna bump him down. Give him the penalty; get it right. Get thicker skin! Big deal. The guy’s upset. Skate away. Call the two minutes.”