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Sunday, April 24, 2011
New 'Rat' in the making?

By Joe McDonald



BOSTON -- Moments after Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand erased a scoreless tie with his first career playoff goal Saturday night, former Bruin agitator Kenny “Rat” Linseman was spotted on the press level at TD Garden.

Marchand’s style of play has been compared to the way Linseman played during his career. There’s a reason why he was nicknamed the “Rat” -- because he would annoy the heck out of the opposition and played with such tenacity, it would enraged the other team. Basically, he was the type of player you wanted on your team but hated to play against.

Marchand’s the same way, and Linseman appreciates the comparison.

“It’s a compliment because I think he’s a good player,” Linseman said. “I get sick of hearing people talk about somebody playing like me that might not have that good of skills, so when I see [Marchand], it’s nice.”

When asked to describe what it was like to play that role, Linseman dismissed that notion.
Brad Marchand
Brad Marchand's first playoff goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the third period Saturday.

“It’s not really a role, it’s part of your personality,” he said. “He’s very driven and he wants to win. I think he’s a great player. He sees the ice so well.”

When former Bruins assistant general manager Jeff Gorton was responsible for the 2006 NHL Entry draft, Boston ended up with a few solid selections, including Phil Kessel (No. 5 overall), Yuri Alexandrov (37th overall) and Milan Lucic (50th).

The Bruins did not have a pick in the third round but had targeted Marchand. So Gorton traded the Bruins’ two fourth-round picks for the New York Islanders’ third-round selection.

The plan worked and Boston selected Marchand as the 71st overall pick.

The reason the Bruins wanted Marchand so badly was because of his ability to play like Linseman, a type of player Boston hadn’t had in a while.

Marchand, 22, scored 21 goals and added 20 assists for 41 points in his first full NHL season in 2010-2011. When he scored his first career playoff goal to help Boston to a 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Saturday, it was a satisfying feeling for Marchand.

“Yeah it was very exciting,” Marchand said. “It was nice to get the monkey off the back. It took a little while, but it was nice just to kind of -- again, I was just pretty excited about it.”

That goal came with a little bit of drama, too.

There’s no such thing as bulletin-board material anymore. Now it’s social media material.

After a second-period scrum between Marchand and the Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec, injured Montreal forward Max Pacioretty tweeted his thoughts on his Twitter account, saying, “This game is longer than Marchand’s nose.”

When the period ended and the teams went back to the locker rooms, Marchand saw Pacioretty’s comments, but said it wasn’t any more motivation to score. But he did anyway when he notched his first career playoff goal at 4:33 of the third period to give Boston a 1-0 lead.

“It’s always nice to just kind of rub it in a little,” Marchand said with a smile.

It’s safe to say Marchand won’t tweet any sort of response.

“No, Twitter is not for me,” he said. “I’ll try and stay away from that stuff, [it’ll] get me in trouble.”

Even before Saturday’s game was over, Pacioretty tweeted an apology, saying he was only trying to be funny and it didn’t work.

“I apologize to Marchand and won’t try to be funny that way in the future,” Pacioretty wrote.