Boston Bruins super pest Brad Marchand met with the media this morning ahead of his team’s pivotal Game 3 match up against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it wasn’t the game at hand that Marchand wanted to discuss. No, it was the face-off dot. More accurately, Marchand wanted to discuss the way in which NHL linesmen have enforced the face-off rule this post season.
“It’s a tough rule, the way they’re enforcing it… I guess guys will adapt in five or six years,” said the winger with a coy smile.
Marchand, who lines up on the wing and rarely takes face-offs, evidently is concerned with how often NHL officials are waiving centermen out of the drawing and forcing wingers to take their place. With both he and linemate David Pastrnak equally as bad at taking face-offs, it’s really up to Bruins center Patrice Bergeron to ensure that he doesn’t violate the NHL’s new strict policing of face-off rules.
It’s no secret that the NHL has been pretty relaxed in the way that it enforces face-offs over the years, but prior to the start of the 2017-18 season it informed its officials to crack down on face-off cheaters and waive them out of the circle. If the winger coming in to take the centre’s spot also violates the rules, the offending team will be dealt a two minutes delay of game penalty. Seems pretty harsh… but this is playoff hockey, after all. The teams have had a full season to adapt to the new rules, if Marchand doesn’t like it maybe he should be practicing face-offs in practice?
Of course, there’s also the possibility that Marchand is simply using this issue as a smokescreen to shield him and his teammates of any real questioning prior to tonight’s HUGE Game 3 matchup. Win and the Bruins will take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Leafs. But, thanks to Marchand’s deft bit of diversion, no one is talking about the mounting pressure on both the Bruins and the Leafs… radio waves and newsprint is all filled with hot takes and analysis on Marchand’s face-off opinions. Genius. EVIL genius. But really… would you expect anything less from the NHL’s most lovable pest?
Puck drop, assuming no one is waived from the dot, is tonight at 7pm in Toronto.