SEATTLE — After his second suspension of the season, Boston's Brad Marchand knows there's little room for acting out given the next level of discipline could be far more punitive.
Marchand returns from his six-game suspension on Thursday night when the Bruins open a lengthy road trip with a game against the Seattle Kraken. Marchand was punished for roughing and high-sticking Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry in a game on Feb. 8.
With 25 seconds to play, Marchand threw a punch at Jarry's head and poked the goaltender's mask with his stick as a linesman was escorting him away from the fray.
"Obviously, I think what I'm taking away from this is my threshold is very low right now," Marchand said after morning skate Thursday. "So I really just have to stay away from anything at all, which I can do. I've been able to do it for a number of years now. And again, it's just wrapping my mind around that and accepting it, whether you agree with it or not, and move forward within the rules that I now understand are set for me."
Marchand appealed the suspension but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld it. Marchand said he will not appeal the suspension any further, choosing to put the latest incident in the past rather than take it to an independent arbitrator.
Marchand was previously suspended three games for slew-footing a Vancouver player in late November. He's been suspended eight times in his career.
"I wanted to kind of get a better understanding of where they were coming from, how they got to the decision, because we felt like it was a little excessive. Not just this one, but the last one as well. So we wanted to, again, just hear them out," Marchand said.
Despite missing nine games this season due to the suspensions, Marchand is still tied for the team lead with 49 points and is second in goals with 21. He'll have a new linemate beginning Thursday night with Boston elevating Jake DeBrusk to play alongside Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on Boston's top line.
But Marchand's return also came with a message from coach Bruce Cassidy that his behavior needs to improve if the Bruins are going to make a run. Boston is fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference.
"He's paid the price for it and he needs to keep his nose clean," Cassidy said. "We've said it a lot, he's got to play on Brad's edge but not cross it. We've said that a lot so this is nothing no one's ever heard. But he's really got to be careful. We're getting into almost March. The next one could be even more punitive. So I think he understands that as well."