The Nose Face Killah is back. Brad Marchand has served his 5-game suspension. A stretch where the Bruins went 4-1 during #63’s absence.
I expect Marchand will come back with a vengeance on the league as well. He’s rested, his chomping at the bit to get going, he’s ready to return. Look out Rangers, you are going up against a pissed off Brad Marchand tonight.
I haven’t been able to voice my opinion on Marchand’s recent suspension but at first look I didn’t think he would get one. At full speed it looks like he almost gets tripped up by the goalie’s stick and then inadvertently elbows Marcus Johansson in the head. But in the video that the league released with the suspension I have to agree it looks pretty bad. Was it 5 games bad? I’m not so sure about that.
There is no denying that Brad Marchand is one of the Bruins best players and they are better when he is in the lineup. Christ, he is one of the best left wings in the NHL. At least top three. But the suspensions are piling up for him and even he has said he needs to change. That’s something we have heard him say many times.
I am not sure I want Marchand to change though. I think he can stop doing the physically unnecessary bullshit that gets him suspended without changing and sacrificing the pest, mental edge, he brings. He just needs to control it better.
It doesn’t make it easy for Marchand to change attitude wise in the sense that he’s become a marked man by other teams. And not just because he’s dirty, but because he’s a top player now. He now naturally draws more attention from the other team. He is going to be put in altercations, take more hacks, and be targeted more than the average player.
I feel he still needs to mentally toe that line he does in order to be himself and be effective, especially as his stature grows and teams zero in on him. I hope he keeps that edge that has always got him, and keeps him, going.
I also think Marchand likes being the villain. It gives him the chip on his shoulder that makes him one of the best in hockey. Again, the true challenge comes in can he control himself physically and stop doing things away from normal play, away from being targeted, that get him suspended?
I love that Marchand drives fans and other players nuts. He gets in their heads so bad and I love that about him. It’s just unfortunate it is at the point where you kind of expect that he will probably serve a suspension every season.
Now that he’s gotten past this recent suspension it’s time to remind ourselves Marchand has a history of coming back from suspensions on fire. In the 2015-2016 season when he was suspended three games for clipping Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators Marchand went on a tear. It’s of note that Marchand missed that miserable Winter Classic at Gillete Stadium against the Canadiens during that suspension. In the 17 games after returning from the suspension Marchand scored 13 goals and 4 assists for 17 points. During that stretch he had 13 goals in 13 games.
Yes, Brad Marchand may be viewed as a piece of shit by many but he is our piece of shit and I love that about him. He can avoid suspensions without changing what drives him. And the haters can continue to bring on the hate.
Follow us on Twitter @BostonPucks and let’s talk hockey.