I loved every minute of watching Brad Marchand wreak havoc in the 2011 Stanley Cup final, but there’s a difference between now and then. In 2011 Marchand was a twenty-two year old rookie still trying to prove his worth in the NHL. But now, he’s a superstar that the Bruins need on the ice. As the team’s leader he can’t keep making dumb decisions like this.
Marchand shattered his career high in points during the 2016-17 season and is on pace to do just the same this year. Even with his missed time earlier in the season factored in with the recent suspension, he is still on pace to finish with ninety points. The 1.32 points per game that he’s produced this year leads the league and emphasizes his value in each and every game. He’s on the best line in the NHL. Their production is something that Bruins fans haven’t seen since the days of Marc Savard. The trio of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak have been white-hot since early December and have led the way during the B’s current eighteen game point streak. But thanks to his own stupidity, Marchand may have just tampered with the momentum of the entire team.
What it comes down to is that the hit was both stupid and selfish. I know it’s a split-second decision, but the well-being of the team should instinctively come first. Even in just that half-second he should’ve known what he was about to do would only hurt the team. Marchand was lucky enough to avoid a penalty on the ice, but the suspension is well deserved. He needs to realize that his style of play has put a target on his back. Because of his track record he is rarely going to be given the benefit of the doubt. He’s now been suspended six times for a total of seventeen in his career. Every offense that he makes from here on out will consequently be magnified.
Ryan Whitney said it perfectly on Friday’s episode of Spittin’ Chiclets. He explained that he doesn’t “think this will ever stop because he can’t just not play with this anger”, and that it’s “in his DNA”. Everybody in the hockey world would love to see Marchand smarten up. His antics benefit absolutely nobody. There’s no benefit for himself, the guy he’s hurting, the team, or the other guy’s team. But Ryan Whitney is spot on. It’s just part of the package with Brad Marchand and the Bruins are lucky to have him in the end.
Cover image courtesy of www.masslive.com.