Bruins' Brad Marchand disappointed
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand is not happy about his five-game suspension and the fact that he will forfeit $152,439.02 in salary as a result of the league's decision on the incident that occurred during last Saturday's game against the Vancouver Canucks.
"I'm obviously a little disappointed, but I wasn't expecting as many games as I got," Marchand said. "That's the decision, and we have to move on."
Marchand was assessed a five-minute major and given a game misconduct for clipping Canucks defenseman Sami Salo at 18:47 of the second period during Boston's 4-3 loss.
After participating in the morning skate on Tuesday as the team prepared to host the Winnipeg Jets, Marchand said he's not about to change the way he plays.
"I'm still going to play hard," Marchand said. "That's my game, I play hard. At the end of the day, I still have to try to protect myself and so does everyone in the league. It's not going to change the way I play."
Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said Tuesday that he thought the suspension was too long because there was no malice behind the hit.
"I personally believe with Brad that it was more of an instinctual move. ...," Neely said in his weekly interview on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. "From my perspective I don't think Brad's the type of player that's going to go out there and intentionally try to hurt somebody."
Marchand believes that his suspension should serve as a template for hits of similar fashion in the future.
"Hopefully (NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan) looks at all cases the same way," Marchand said. "He's just trying to make sure guys know that he wants it to be a clean game and guys are protected. That's what he's trying to do.
"I expect that if there are any more hits like this that they'll be penalized the same way. Otherwise, it will be a double-standard."
After Saturday's game, the Canucks' Kevin Bieksa called the Bruins' style of play "stupid" and when Marchand was asked to comment, he paused for a few moments before answering.
"Yeah, we play stupid, yeah, no," Marchand said. "We play stupid, smart enough to win a Cup. Whatever he feels.
"We play a hard game. We have a lot of physical guys, a lot of tough guys on our team and it's tough for other teams to play against," added Marchand. "Some teams may not like it, but that's our style of hockey and we're not going to change it because people don't like it."
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault also made some negative comments about Marchand over the weekend, saying that he'll "get his," which the entire Bruins organization was not pleased about.
"They are threatening, it sounds like a threat," Marchand said. "But, whatever."
Neely took issue with Vigneault's comments.
"It's irresponsible, to be honest with you," Neely said. "I think the league has had enough issues in recent history where coaches shouldn't be making comments like that, especially about other players and in that fashion. If the league hasn't already had a conversation with him, I would expect something like that to draw the attention of the league and to have a conversation with their coach."
Bruins coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli have said time and again since the incident that they believe Marchand was trying to protect himself from injury on the play. In a statement released by Chiarelli after the decision was handed down on Monday evening, the GM explained that earlier this season Marchand had a conversation with Shanahan and asked if a check like that was legal.
"I'm a small guy and play low to the ice and that's a way I've protected myself in the past," Marchand said. "I just felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. I brought it up to him and I walked away from the conversation (thinking) he told me to protect myself is OK in that situation, and when that situation arose, I felt like I was protecting myself, and I was allowed to do it, and that's why I did it."
There have been plenty of times during Marchand's career that Julien has had to pull him aside and help him figure out a way to play his style of hockey without being penalized or suspended.
Julien said Tuesday morning that he had no intention of another closed-door meeting with Marchand.
"I think Brad heard enough -- seen enough," Julien said. "He said he's going to try and adjust his game. Give him credit, he's a young kid that keeps trying to improve his game and get better in that area. It's not like he's denying anything. He tries to get better and we helped him along that way and I think that's what I appreciate about Brad."
"He's not hiding behind the fact and saying 'I don't do anything wrong.' He knows the referees will watch him closely and he knows he has to get better in that area. Not only does he get under teams' skin, but also the referees and he knows that stuff. At the same time, we know that his playing on the edge makes him a good player."
Team captain Zdeno Chara agreed that this ruling should not affect the way Marchand or any of the Bruins play.
"I don't think anything I say will change the ruling," Chara said. "We accept it and we'll move on. As a team, we know it's our identity and we want to keep playing hard and compete and that's not going to change."
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.