Now that the Boston Bruins have been eliminated in the second round series by the Tampa bay Lightning, players, coaches and management can look back at what went wrong. National Hockey League fans can easily pinpoint something that did go wrong in that specific series as we can all easily recall Bruins pest Brad Marchand's on-ice antics.
On Friday night during Game 4 of the second round match up between the Bruins and Lightning, Marchand was up to his hold tricks again as it all started when Marchand tried to hip check Lightning veteran Ryan Callahan. The hit ended up catching the Bolts forward quite close to the knee, and he was not happy about it. However, he was even more infuriated when Marchand licked his face from the chin up during another altercation between the two men.
The following morning, the league had no choice but to address the issue, especially seeing that it wasn't the first time Marchand attempted such a controversial move. The gritty forward made headlines during the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he got a little too intimate with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov. During the incident in question, Marchand was seen licking the man's face, after he had planted a kiss on his cheek earlier in the regular season.
On Saturday, it was announced that NHL’s Colin Campbell had spoken with Marchand and GM Don Sweeney, and that the League put the player on notice that his actions were unacceptable and that similar behavior in the future will be dealt with by way of supplemental discipline.
On Thursday, Sweeney and head coach Bruce Cassidy were asked point blank about their best forward’s actions, and their answers might surprise you.
“Yesterday was eye-opening for me that this one's hit a lot harder than some of the other things that have come his way,” said Sweeney per the Boston Herald. “I think he realizes the impact. We spoke a little about his family and how it reflects on him as a person, more so than him as player. I think he's gained a tremendous amount respect around the National Hockey League, worldwide as a matter of fact for him as a player. And I think that's where the attention needs to be 100 percent focused on, his impact as a hockey player...and as a leader of our hockey club. The things that he does to take away from that really don't need to exist anymore. And it'll be up to him. The proof will be if he can find that line and never really cross it anymore. Because he doesn't need to. He's accomplished things as a hockey player and now hopefully he wants to accomplish things as a leader and quality person. He was honest about it.”
Coach Cassidy took the opportunity to raise an important question on Marchand’s future.
“Then it goes to 'Well, what do you want your legacy to be?' He's at a stage in his life and maturity where he understands, he truly gets it that he doesn't need the other stuff to make him to truly be an elite player,” said Cassidy.
“Having discussions with him, he does have a family now and that's part of it as well. There's a certain level of behavior he needs to get to. And he's admitted it. That's where we're going with Brad. We want him to keep being an excellent hockey player, without some of the other stuff. And we're going to work with him to do that.”
While Cassidy raises the question of Marchand’s legacy, it is surely reassign to Bruins fans that they do see his future bright in Boston.