I could make a separate bog just on incidents involving Bruins forward Brad Marchand this season. He’s been in my articles for both very good and very bad reasons. This past Monday in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Marchand got possession of the puck using what may or may not have been a high stick. I have mixed feelings on what happened next.
After the official blew the play down, Marchand wound up for a wrister and fired the puck into the corner against the boards, obviously not pleased. He then said something. At the end of the day, he was tagged with a 10 minute misconduct penalty. As it was more than halfway through the third period of the game, that meant he wouldn’t come back unless the game didn’t end in regulation. The Bruins lost 6-4, so his night was essentially over on this call.
I was going to leave this alone as I had done an article on shooting the puck after the whistle in anger earlier this month(Hedman Puts Ref In Bad Spot). I made the point in that earlier article that, right or wrong, if you don’t shoot the puck, the ref can’t call it. After seeing some of the online reaction to the Marchand play, I wanted to see if my general conclusion applied here.
There are some subtle differences between the two incidents. Marchand already had possession of the puck and was attacking the net. Hedman was at his own net, and had to retrieve the puck after a goal. He didn’t go far to get it, but the mentality of someone who already has the puck and heading to the opposing net with speed is much different than that of a player who’s just been scored on, is stationary, and didn’t have the puck just prior. Hedman passed the puck down the ice into relatively unknown circumstances, in very close proximity to an official. Marchand shot it into a clearly empty corner of the rink.
Personally, bringing an emotion to a close game, and playing on the edge, especially as close to or over the edge as a guy like Marchand does day in and day out, I think in general over the entire league, you just have to set the threshold a little higher as an official. The point dos remain though, you need to control yourself, and he still put the official in a spot where there was something he could call. If you don’t shoot the puck and keep our mouth shut, you don’t get a penalty.
To all those Bruins fans out there, even if you still disagree with that: Keep in mind, Marchand is always in the ears of officials explaining to them how to do their job. He’s always getting himself in tight disciplinary spots and showing little or no remorse for any of it. Sometimes, if a person presses too many buttons, eventually the smallest little extra push is enough to cause a reaction, even if the thing that eventually causes it wouldn’t necessarily bring that reaction out as an isolated incident. If you don’t like the call, consider this a make up for all the times he’s gotten away with whatever it is he does on a regular basis that makes you love him.