Foxborough, MA. — The Boston Bruins will not appeal forward Brad Marchand’s three-game suspension, which was handed down by the NHL’s department of player safety Wednesday evening following an incident with Ottawa Sentors defenceman Mark Borowiecki in Tuesday night’s game.
Marchand’s low hit in the first period shook Borowiecki up, but the Senators defenceman was able to complete the game.
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"It’s very disappointing," said Marchand Thursday morning. "It’s obviously something we were all looking forward to. I respect the decision that the league has made and I’m going to live with it."
Marchand and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with reporters ahead of Boston’s practice.
It was Marchand who requested the opportunity to address the NHL’s decision. He delivered the following statement before taking questions:
"I just want to acknowledge the situation that I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined and affecting the game for them, taking away from the excitement for the fans—being part of this rivalry and taking that away from them— and also for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in a situation to not be a part of this. So I want to apologize, and I truly am sorry to everyone about, again, the situation. It was not my intent to make a hit or try to injury anyone on that play."
Marchand, who is leading the Bruins in goals with 15, won’t be the only forward missing the 2016 Bridgestone Winter Classic for Boston. David Krejci, who suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 27, is week-to-week.
"I understand that I’ve put our team down where we have some injuries and, again, I’ve put them at a disadvantage," said Marchand. "That is frustrating, yes."
Marchand had been suspended five games in 2012 for a similar hit, this one on Vancouver Canucks defenceman Sami Salo. He was also suspended two games in 2015 for a hit on New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard.
"The intent was not to make a hit on that play and it differs from past incidents, so I still don’t think this is changing how I’ve approached this season."
Marchand told reporters at the beginning of the season his intention was to change his behaviour on the ice and to mature. Sweeney feels he’s made strides off the ice as well.
"I think it speaks a lot for Brad to want to be out in front of this today," said Sweeney. "He knows the impact that it’s had on the game itself and the fans. He asked us if he could sort of address in front of his teammates going out for practice and getting ready for this game, and I think it speaks to answer the question of maturity. It says a lot to where Brad is and the impact he has in our lineup. We can leave it at that.
"We respect player safety’s decision on the play. It’s unfortunate for Brad and our team and our fans, but we’ll leave it that."