Marchand on suspension: ‘I have to be better'


Brad Marchand has taken accountability for his actions during his previous five suspensions from the NHL, and the Bruins left winger did it again on Thursday the day after he was dinged with a five game suspension for elbowing Marcus Johansson.

Marchand said he didn’t intend to injure Johansson on the much-discussed play in Tuesday night’s game where he elbowed the Devils forward in the side of the head, and left him with second concussion of the season.


“I’ve been trying to play a certain [better] way for a while now” said Marchand, who had avoided any supplemental discipline this season until this incident in late January, while discussing his situation with reporters in Ottawa on Thursday morning. “It was never my intention to get into a situation like this and to injure Marcus. Hopefully he has a full and healthy recovery very quickly. I’m just sorry I let my teammates down . . . I know that. I let my organization down. I have to be better. There's no question.

“I respect the league’s decision on the matter. They’re in the right to make the decisions that they do, and I can live with it. The last thing I want to do is something that will hurt the team, and that’s what I’ve done. It’s not something I was trying to do. We have a great team, and they’re going to do everything they can to win games. I’ll be there rooting them on, but I put my team at a disadvantage. I feel very badly about that.”

The always complicated status for Marchand is that he’s also an All-Star, Hart Trophy-level performer when he’s not committing suspension-worthy acts on the ice. He leads the Bruins with 21 goals and 50 points, and still intends to represent the Bruins as their sole player at this weekend’s NHL All-Star weekend in Tampa.


“I’m going to go. I’m very proud of that opportunity,” said Marchand of his All-Star selection. “It’s something that I worked very hard for, and I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do. I’m going to go and enjoy every second of it.”

The unspoken penalty going along with the All-Star selection is that Marchand will now be in front of the national hockey media in Tampa this coming weekend. While that sounds like an enjoyable treat for anybody, for Marchand it’s going to include endless questions about his suspensions, his behavior and why he continues to take things in his game well over the edge.


It could have been all about Marchand’s transformation from “rat” to one of the best players in the NHL, and about his place on the Perfection Line that is also the NHL’s best trio right now. But it’s clear that Marchand still isn’t quite ready for that to be the only thing people think of when they see No. 63, and it’s still up to him to change that perception over the rest of his undoubtedly brilliant career. 


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