It takes time to build a strong reputation - whether it be good or bad. Just ask Brad Marchand. The gritty forward has faced much criticism and consequences for his dirty play on the ice. Just this season, he was was suspended five games for his elbow on New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson in January, and fined several times. And we are sticking to this year: it was the sixth time 29-year-old has been suspended in his NHL career.
He also found himself find himself in hot water once again this past weekend after an awkward collision with Anthony Duclair sent the Chicago Blackhawks forward to the dressing room. Marchand was skating with his back to Duclair and appeared to turn blindly. As he pivoted, though, Marchand left his feet and collided head-on with Duclair's upper body, leading with his left forearm.
It seems that Marchand's action were making someone else jealous in the Boston Bruins dressing room. It now seems that another Bruins forward wants to take over as the dirty player in the roster. David Backes. Just last week, he suspended for three games for a shoulder to the head of Detroit's Frans Nielsen, who had already unloaded the puck when the Bruins veteran drove his shoulder into the Wings forward, who fell to the ice, left the game and did not return.
Then again last night, Backes was ejected for his hit on Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck.
Alright, Backes has not been suspended as many times as Marchand. The three-game ban for his actions on Nielsen was Backes’ first suspension in 848 career NHL games. But twice in a season, it would be something Marchand never did. Before his sixth suspension for his hit on Johansson, the Bruins best player was suspended on these dates:
March 17, 2011: Suspended two games for blindside elbow on Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger.
Jan. 9, 2012: Suspended five games for low-bridging Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo.
Jan. 16, 2015: Suspended two games for slew-footing New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard.
Dec. 30, 2015: Suspended three games for clipping Ottawa Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki.
April 6, 2017: Suspended two games for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jake Dotchin.
While Backes could face discipline later today for his hit on Trochek, the Bruins veteran does not believe he will be suspended, despite getting ejected from the contest.
“It’s the kind of hit that I’ve been doing for years,” Backes said following the Bruins’ 3-0 loss. “So if this is the new NHL, the new standard, then I hope I can have my old league back.”
“My agent did all the numbers and I think I had over 2,400 hits in this league over 12 seasons and never even had a hearing, let alone a fine, let alone a suspension,” Backes said in the aftermath of his first career suspension. “If we’re trying to teach a lesson — or critique — one out of 2,400 hits that I was really trying to really avoid and that’s kind of been acknowledged as well … I don’t know how effective that is. That’s a small little decimal if you do the division. So, that’s where we’re at. It’s the situation we’re in. That’s the world we live in, as the league likes to say a lot. So, that’s the world we live in.”
We shall see...