(Source: Yahoo.com) – “When he (Marchand) was introduced before the Skills Competition Saturday night, he gave a royal wave to the AMALIE Arena crowd as boos rained down. When Tampa Bay Lightning fans held up a sign reading “EXTERMINATE THE RAT” and featuring a caricature of him eating cheese, he smiled and took a photo in front of it.”

I, like most, can’t stand professional All-Star games. The NBA’s, the Pro Bowl, the NHL’s game, they couldn’t serve less purpose if they tried. I never tune in, I’m disinterested, and even though players are deserving of some sort of all-star recognition, the game itself is relatively pointless.

Yet for the first time ever, today, I’m bummed I didn’t tune in to this year’s NHL All-Star Game.

I missed out on Brad Marchand blowing kisses to the crowd during a hail storm of boos. I missed his mocking royal wave to the packed house. I missed his flopping around on the ice, a fun attempt to give the game a shred of entertainment value, when Johnny Gaudreau tripped him up. I’m mad at myself for that.

The NHL has always felt anti personality. Heaven forbid the guys have a little fun (cough, Montreal, cough cough, P.K. Subban) and put away the cliché filled cue cards when they answer questions. Seeing Marchand embrace and ham up an almost WWE villain type of scenario at the All-Star game is refreshing. It’s exactly what the often stiff and stupid NHL needs.

With that being said, I hope Marchand cleans up the stuff that’s getting him suspended. It has to stop. Even though it’s allowed for his personality to shine, he can still do that without the NHL’s department of player safety pulling it out of him. He’s just as funny and great without the bullshit.

But regardless of whether he cleans it up or not, at the end of the day Marchand has already left his mark on the NHL. Many of the black and blue variety. It warms my heart to know that he’s forever firmly planted in the brains of the opposition and their fans. He rattles them. And to make it even sweeter, Marchand is often better than the opposition. He knows it. You know it. That’s the best kind of villain to be. Our villain.

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