Despised by the greater majority of NHL fans, Brad Marchand is constantly in the spotlight. His antics on the ice are different from that of any other player in hockey. One moment he could be wailing on the star player of the opposing franchise. Then, five minutes after his trip to the box, he scores the game tying goal late in the third. The list of reasons Marchand fills opposing fans with fuming anger is immense. But in the eyes of Bostonians, number 63 is looked upon with admiration, nearly in a heroic sense.
FROM ROOKIE TO VETERAN
Throughout the course of his NHL career, Marchand has matured from a young 21-year-old spending 20x the amount of time in the box than in the points column. This season, he’ll be the fourth highest paid player on the Bruins’ roster (capfriendly.com). A Bruin throughout his entire career, fans watched him develop into the stud he has become today.
His aggressive demeanor has lead Marchand to success through both his physicality and his offensive wittiness. Boston fans perch on the edge of their seat when 63 hits the ice, knowing he could very easily make a huge play for the B’s. Last season Marchand led the team not only in assists and points, but also penalty minutes. This only glorifies the uniqueness he brings to the city of Boston.
One of the most memorable Marchand moments for Boston hockey fans occurred during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. After dropping the first two games on the road in Vancouver, the B’s needed a home-ice win in game three. With a two goal lead just past the halfway point of the second period, Marchand went the length of the ice to sneak a short-handed wrister past Roberto Luongo. This set the course for the rest of the series. The Bruins eventually went on to win game three 8-1 before shutting out Vancouver in game seven on their own ice.
THEATER ON ICE
Marchand’s impressive performance during that Stanley Cup series allowed him to display his theatrical side of the game in Vancouver a few years later. After chirping back and forth on the bench with some Canucks fans, Marchand proceeded to remove his glove and kiss his ring finger while staring down the men in the stands. Marchand’s history with Vancouver epitomizes the hatred he brings out with NHL fans all over the country, with the exception of Boston, of course.
The only time cities like Vancouver can tolerate Marchand? When he nets the winning goal in the World Cup Finals for their home country of Canada. In every other scenario, Marchand is looked upon as a frustrating pest threatening the opposition’s players and win column. But for Bostonians, few things compare to the thrill of looking up and seeing number 63 skating down the ice in that black and gold.