Marchand/By S. Bradley

Classifying Brad Marchand’s clip of Vancouver’s Sami Salo as “a predatory low hit,” NHL disciplinarian this evening suspended the Bruins forward for five games.

Marchand was previously assessed a five-minute major for clipping and a game misconduct Saturday in the second period of Boston’s loss to the Canucks.

Shanahan also stressed that Marchand had other options on the play and that this was Marchand’s third bout with discipline, as the winger was suspended two games last season and fined earlier this year.

Here’s the video of Shanahan explaining his ruling:

In response, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli put out a terse statement expressing his club’s displeasure with the ruling:

“While we respect the process that the Department of Player Safety took to reach their decision regarding Brad’s hit on Sami Salo, we are very disappointed by their ruling.

“While we understand that the Department of Safety is an evolving entity, it is frustrating that there are clear comparable situations that have not been penalized or sanctioned in the past.

“It is equally disappointing that Brad sought the counsel of the Department this past Fall for an explanation and clarification regarding this type of scenario so as to adjust his game if necessary. He was advised that such an incident was not sanctionable if he was protecting his own safety. Given our feeling that Brad was indeed protecting himself and certainly did not clip the player as he contacted the player nowhere near the knee or quadricep, today’s ruling is not consistent with what the Department of Player Safety communicated to Brad.”

Now that the NHL has basically thrown the book at him, Marchand will be faced with changing his game at least a little bit despite comments to the contrary by him and others around the team. And considering the severity of this ban, it’ll be interesting to see how Shanahan handles future incidents involving the Bruins, regardless of the player who’s under scrutiny.