BOSTON — Brad Marchand is happy to live with lighter pockets if it means avoiding yet another suspension from the NHL.
The Boston Bruins agitator was fined $10,000 on Thursday—the highest amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement—for slew footing Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
While the play was initially missed by on-ice officials, Marchand got the news around dinnertime on Wednesday that he would have a hearing for his actions.
That the punishment was a fine, and not the fifth suspension of his career, came as very welcomed news.
“I feel very fortunate,” Marchand said ahead of Boston’s home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. “I think they might have given me a bit of a break. I’m just happy to play the game tonight and move on.”
Marchand scored a career-high 37 goals last year and is presently tracking a 75-point season, which would mark another personal best. He skated alongside Sidney Crosby on Canada’s top line at the World Cup of Hockey in the fall, and is set to be an NHL All-Star Game participant for the first time this weekend.
But if he’s ever going to shake the reputation as a guy who needlessly—and, sometimes, dangerously—shades the rules, something has to change.
“Maybe some smarter decisions,” said Marchand. “The last thing I want to be doing is continually going back in front of those guys [the NHL Department of Player Safety]. I’m sure they’re getting sick of seeing me.
“That’s a little bit of stupidity there. A little unnecessary. I can play the game without doing that stuff.”
Maybe that’s true, but it has not historically been the case. Just over a year ago, Marchand earned himself a three-game suspension for clipping Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators. The incident occurred on Dec. 29, 2015 and, as a result, the first game Marchand missed was the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day versus the Montreal Canadiens.
The first suspension of his career occurred during his rookie season in 2010-2011, when he was handed a two-game sentence for elbowing R.J. Umberger, with the Columbus Blue Jackets at the time, from behind.
His longest sentence stemmed from an incident with Sami Salo and the Vancouver Canucks back in January of 2012, when Marchand submarined the Canucks defenceman and prompted a five-game ban from the league.
He was also suspended for slew footing Derick Brassard when the latter was with the New York Rangers in January of 2015, and the same offence earned him a $2,500 fine when he knocked out the legs of Matt Niskanen, a member of the Penguins at the time, in 2011-12.
The rap sheet is well known in Boston, where there’s some sense you may have to take the good with the bad when it comes to the town’s peskiest player.
“He’s been a difference-maker all year and you can’t really take that edge out of his game,” said Boston centre Patrice Bergeron earlier in the day. “At the same time, there are ways he could curb it and going about his business.”