The last time Brad Marchand was involved in a controversial play, he didn’t know until the next morning that the league was looking into it.
Marchand was subsequently suspended for two games for his elbow to R.J. Umberger’s head in Columbus a couple weeks ago. When Marchand woke up yesterday, however, there wasn’t any similar news.
While some around the league were up in arms about his high hit on Montreal’s Scott Gomez in the third period Thursday, the league didn’t even deem it worthy of a hearing.
“You’re always relieved just to know you’re not in any kind of trouble,” said Marchand this morning before taking on the New York Rangers in a matinee at TD Garden. “But I didn’t think at any point it was a hit that was going to be looked at or even close to being suspendable. I think there was only a penalty because of the point of the game and maybe they’re trying to keep it from getting out of hand. But there’s always relief when you’re not going to get in any trouble.”
Marchand said he re-watched the hit and thought it was a “straight-on” hit and Gomez “wasn’t hurt” so it was just another play in the game. The rookie did collect a roughing penalty on the play, which canceled out his chance to put a hit on the score sheet.
The hit surely looked clean live and on replay. Maybe there’s some extra attention being paid to Marchand because of his reputation as an agitator in junior and the AHL, and because of his recent suspension. It probably also didn’t help that the hit came against Montreal in a game that had so much hype in the lead-up.
Nonetheless, Marchand might have to be more careful than some other guys going forward.
“No matter what, certain players have to be careful and he may be one of those players who has to be careful he doesn’t cross the line because he’s already been suspended for one of those hits,” said head coach Claude Julien. “So it’s easy to focus on those guys more than others.”
Now we’ll see what Marchand has in store against a Rangers lineup that’s scheduled to include super-pest Sean Avery.