Marchand makes do with awkward sweater number

Marchand/By S. Bradley

WILMINGTON, Mass. — The size of the digits and the curves of the six and the three on Brad Marchand’s back look like they fit as awkwardly as four players in the penalty box.

However, the diminutive Boston winger is in no hurry to change his number from 63 to something fitting of his size and his seemingly permanent spot on the Bruins’ roster.

“Maybe next year,” said Marchand, who’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t re-sign with Boston earlier. “Personally, I don’t think you should change your number in your first year.”

Just because he’s not pursuing an alteration of his digits doesn’t mean Marchand hasn’t contemplated a change now and then. He admitted that when he arrived back in Boston for this season, he thought maybe 63 was jinxed. After all, he skated in 20 games last season but registered just one point (an assist).

Things have turned in Marchand’s favor this season, first with him making the opening-night roster, and more recently with him surging to the league lead in shorthanded goals while skating a regular shift on the Bruins’ penalty kill and at even strength.

With the trade of Marco Sturm, the No. 16 is now available. Marchand said he’s not a big fan of that number, or the als0-available No. 6. When he played midget, Marchand wore No. 10. He then switched to 17 for junior hockey and part of his Providence stay. Obviously, he’s not getting 17 now that Milan Lucic has settled into it (Lucic was always 27 before coming to Boston and finding Glen Murray in that number).

Maybe 71 would work? Or maybe one of those smaller numbers could grow on him. Marchand’s thought of numerous possibilities. But no one has approached him about a sweater change and he’s not pursuing one. If he can continue to fly under the radar wearing a training camp number and keep his successful stint in the NHL going, he’s content to be No. 63.

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