BOSTON (CBS) – It may have taken a little longer than most expected, or wanted, but winger Brad Marchand is officially a Boston Bruin once again.
Marchand signed a two-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday, ending the summer—long drama of “when will a deal get done?”
“We both knew something was going to get done, it was just a matter of time and that’s all it was,” Marchand said on a conference call to announce the deal. “I was never worried that it was going to drag out and prolong into camp.”
Getting signed before camp starts on Friday was important for both sides, but especially for the 23-year old forward who is chomping at the bit to start Boston’s Stanley Cup defense.
Missing the beginning of camp was never an option.
“From the get-go, I never was going to miss a day of camp. I never wanted that. I wanted to be here first day, I wanted to show them all I wanted to be here and go through the whole camp with the guys and be part of the team,” he said. “I’m very happy that it didn’t have to come down to that and we were able to get the deal done before camp. You know again, now we can move forward.
Marchand is coming off a rookie season where he not only reached his expectations, but surpassed them. In his exit interview at the end of the 2009 season, Marchand told GM Peter Chiarelli he would score 20 goals in 2010. After going goal-less in 20 late season games, it seemed a little far-fetched at the time.
“I told Brad today that at the end of last year he told me he was going to score twenty goals and he scored more than that. I told him I was proud of him and he deserves it. He’s a good kid and we’re happy to have him in the mix,” said Chiarelli. “He was a terrific performer in the playoffs, a clutch performer and just loves to play, plays on the edge and we’re really excited to have him with the Bruins for two more years.”
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In the regular season, Marchand scored 21 goals and finished with 40 points. He started the year on the fourth line, and worked his way up to the second, alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
His play improved throughout the season, and he became a major contributor when the playoffs rolled around. He scored a franchise record 11 playoff goals in 25 playoff games, as the Bruins went on to claim the most famous trophy in sports.
Even with all his success, Marchand knows he still has plenty of room for improvement.
“I think a big part that I still want to improve is my defensive game. You know you watch guys like Bergy and (David Krejci) and you know they’re a couple of the top guys on our team and in the league and they’re so defensively strong, so that’s another big area I want to continue to improve on. But you can always improve every area of your game,” he said.
Then there are his emotions. Marchand wears them on his sleeve, and sometimes uses that sleeve to display them. He gets in the opposition’s head, and make sure to kicks around (a lot) while in there. He’s known as a “pest” around the league, but is far more than just a small agitator.
Keeping his emotions in check though will be another important step towards his development.
“I feel like throughout the year I got better at controlling my emotions. There was times in playoffs where they got the best of me but you know, for the most part the coaching staff did a great job at leading me in the right direction,” said Marchand. “I feel as if the older you get, the more mature you get and the more you play in this league, the better I’ll be able to learn how to control it.”
“I’m still a young player; I’m still trying to learn. That’s all part of the game for the most part,” the Bruins winger continued. “For the rest of my game I just want to get better all around. You know I said, you want to work towards being the best player and to do that you got to fix, you got to continually work on every area of the game so that’s a goal.”
Of course with all the personal goals comes the bigger goal: defending the Stanley Cup. The Bruins did not have much turnover from the team that hoisted the NHL’s famed chalice in June, and Marchand is hoping they can do it again next year.
“I know around the room we all definitely agree that we have a great opportunity again this year,” Marchand said of a possible repeat. “Everyone’s very excited. We’ve only lost a couple of guys but (Benoit) Pouliot and (Joe) Corvo have come in, they’re both great players and from what it looks like in camp there’s a lot of great young guys that are going to be battling for spots.”
“We have a great opportunity again this year and, again, we are going to have to come in and make sure that we don’t take it for granted and think that it’s going to be easy because we won last year,” he said. “But the way it looks, everybody’s very hungry and I do believe that we have a great opportunity again this year.”