Many will say it's part of his character: Brad Marchand is a
big bad Bruin and the six suspensions and five fines on his resume is just part of the player he is on the ice. But when will enough be enough? During a once-again very interesting podcast from the gang at The Hockey News, one very important question is being asked about the Boston Bruins best player: when will he get the Raffi Torres treatment from the National Hockey League?
You know who we mean: Torres is likely remembered by most fans for the on-ice actions that led to him being suspended for what’s nearly the equivalent of a full season. All told, Torres missed 74 games between April 2011 and January 2016 due to suspension, and he was handed some of the most severe punishments of any player over that span. The most infamous of his two suspensions came as the result of two incidents which saw Torres deliver high hits.
The first, for which the NHL handed down a 25-game ban that was later reduced to 21 games, which took place during the 2011-12 post-season when he delivered that devastating hit on Marian Hossa, who was stretchered off the ice. The second was a high hit on Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg that came days before the start of the 2015-16 campaign, and Torres was handed a record 41-game suspension as a repeat offender. It was after Torres returned from that lengthy suspension that his career seemed all but over. He finally announced his retirement in 2016.
So, should Marchand get the Raffi Torres treatment from the National Hockey League?
The NHL announced on Monday that they fined Marchand $5,000, the maximum allowable under the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, for the hit on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald.
"That's 11 times he has been punished supplementarily in his career, and I am just wondering, I mean, one of the mantras of the players' safety department is supposed to be if a player is not showing signs of learning or changing their behaviour you have to punish it," explains THN's Matt Larkin.
"But that usually rings true to someone repeating the exact same behaviour, that's why Torres got 41 games, it was always head shots. But I think Marchand, I am started to wonder if it does not matter if it's not always the same play...Dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty...Personally, I just think it's time to throw the book at him and say 'listen, you are not learning, you are not respecting this, and we give you a 30-game suspension', or something like that."
Senior writer Ken Campbell went even further in the evaluation and wondered what other mantras the players' safety department that would come ahead of the one Larkin had presented, since he feels that because Marchand is valuable to his team, he will not be as severely punished as others could be in the same situation.
Maybe like Torres was too.
"They bailed, they bailed big time on this," yells Campbell in the podcast. "And yes, should we give him the Raffi Torres treatment? Yes, that came a long time ago, a long time ago. I hear a guy on the radio say how much of an idiot Brad Marchand is. I couldn't disagree more: he is a genius. An evil genius."
"Brad Marchand is a dangerous, dangerous player. He is a danger to everyone on the ice when he is, and I just think he does this because he can do it."
Do you believe it's time for the NHL to come down hard on Marchand for his antics on the ice?