"I said that no one in Russia likes him," Marchand told reporters in Boston on Tuesday. "So if that is now what is setting guys over the edge, then this is the softest league in the world."
Added Marchand: "And no one should be allowed to say anything. Because there's a lot worse things said out there than that. If that's what he's crying about, then it is what is is."
During the third period of the Rangers' 5-2 victory over the Bruins on Friday, Panarin was seen arguing with Marchand from their respective benches. The Rangers star eventually took his glove off, whipped it across the benches and nailed Marchand in the centre of his chest.
Both players received misconduct penalties after the glove toss took place right in front of a linesman.
"I didn’t really understand what he said in the moment because we had a little conversation with bad energy," Panarin later said. "Then I hear something about Russia in that moment, and then with that energy, that can’t be something good about Russia. So, that's why I lose my mind and then I did what I did."
Panarin was fined $5,000 by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for unsportsmanlike conduct as a result of the incident.
Marchand is no angel, of course, as he is fresh into serving a three-game suspension for slew-footing Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and recalled a different conversation with Panarin when asked after the game.
"We were just asking each other how Thanksgiving dinner went and he didn’t like what I ate," said Marchand.
Panarin didn't speak to reporters after the game, and linemate Ryan Strome chose not to share what was actually said between the two stars.
"No comment, it'll all come out one day," said Strome. "I just don't want to comment, I don't think it's my place, I guess we'll just see what happens."
The rematch between the Bruins and Rangers is April 23.