Sunday, January 8, 2012
Brad Marchand awaits NHL's ruling
By James Murphy
The NHL has notified Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand that he will have a hearing Monday to determine if he will be fined or suspended for the five-minute major for clipping and game misconduct he was assessed in Boston's 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Saturday.
Marchand claims he was trying to protect himself from a potentially dangerous hit from Canucks defenseman Sami Salo when he went down low to upend Salo, who was injured on the play and is day to day.
Bruins coach Claude Julien supported Marchand's position following the game, and Marchand said Sunday that he felt his hit was legal.
"I did go under him," Marchand said Sunday. "But I felt the base contact was about his hip point. That's usually a pretty legal hit from what I've seen in the past. I have no idea how the league feels about it. I guess we'll see."
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told The Province (British Columbia) on Sunday that he didn't agree with Julien's backing of Marchand.
"That's a stupid comment," said Vigneault. "What Marchand did there, you could end a player's career doing that and I've never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL. All I've seen Sami Salo do is play with integrity and play the right way.
"Marchand -- this is just my feeling on this -- some day he's going to get it. Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will.
"Sometimes it takes the league time to figure things out and there's a difference between a good hip check when the player is coming down on you one-on-one with the puck and what we saw Marchand do with his definite attempt to injure. Something needs to happen."
Marchand has already been fined $2,500 this season, for a slew-foot on Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen in December, and received a two-game suspension for an elbow to the head of R.J. Umberger last season, so his history could be a factor in determining any discipline.
The hearing will be conducted via telephone, meaning Marchand will not be suspended for more than five games.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.