Marchand made most strides this season, so Seventh Player no surprise

Marchand/By S. Bradley

BOSTON — Obviously, there were plenty of candidates for this year’s Seventh Player Award, which the fans vote on to reward the player that goes above and beyond expectations.

But really, when it came down to it, winner Brad Marchand raised his game the most of any Boston player. When a guy shows up at training camp in the mix to win a fourth-line job, makes the team and then finishes the season on the second line with more than 20 goals and 40 points, that’s what the Seventh Player Award is all about.

The fans got it right.

“Yeah, well it was a question mark whether I was going to be on the team this year. It’s a honor to win that award. It’s special,” he said after helping the Bruins clinch the Northeast Division with a 3-2 win over Atlanta at TD Garden.

Marchand proved this season he could be more than an agitator and penalty-killer with his goal total and occasional power-play time. Today he also proved that he’s something a Bruins historian, as he revealed that he knew a little bit about the history of the award before winning it.

“First summer I was in camp,” answered Marchand to a question about when he first learned about the Seventh Player. “[David Krejci] won it a couple years ago, and we were off for one day, and he was explaining how he won it, and it was pretty cool. Then last year I was up here when Tuukka [Rask] won it. So I kind of get the idea of how it all went.”

Now it’s up to Marchand to exceed even higher expectations going forward. Tim Thomas won it twice recently, so it can be done.

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