Bruins’ Marchand makes distinction between gritty play & cheap shot

Marchand/By S. Bradley

Listening to Brad Marchand respond to a question today about whether his two-game suspension will change the way he plays, you might’ve started to think the Bruins winger wasn’t getting the message.

But by the end of the rookie’s response in Nashville, where he will not be able to play for Boston against the Predators tonight, you could tell that he has developed a decent concept of  the line he crossed in Columbus Tuesday and the line he has to toe going forward to contribute to the Bruins’ cause.

Marchand started out with his answer like this:

“You go out there and you can’t let this change your game because that’s how I’ve had to play to get here, that’s how I’ve had to play to stay here. If I start changing things, then maybe I won’t be as effective. It happens, it’s hockey and that stuff happens. It’s part of the sport, it’s always going to happen. There’s always going to be hits to the head, especially with how fast guys are and how big and strong they are, and how physical guys are. It’s always going to be there.”

Gulp. Hearing this response, I had to wonder if Marchand was planning on a few more head shots and a few more suspensions before the season is out. But then he made an important distinction:

“But the big thing is you can’t be taking cheap shots, and I think that’s where you’ve got to draw the line. But it’s not going to change my game, it’s not going to affect it. I still have to play the same way.”

OK, so Marchand understands that what he did to Columbus’ R.J. Umberger could be considered in some circles as “cheap,” and he has to avoid those types of play. Whoosh. I wasn’t looking forward to playing the “waiting for the NHL discipline department to issue a verdict” game many more times this season.

What Marchand said showed that he might’ve learned his lesson. We’ll only know by watching him play down the stretch of this season and in future campaigns.

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