BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Marchand has certainly taken a dive over the course of his career to draw a penalty. He’s even done it in the playoffs, notably against Washington in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals two years ago.
Though the agitating left winger hasn’t committed any such egregious acts in the past two years (likely at the behest of Bruins president Cam Neely), that’s a reputation that doesn’t exactly disappear very quickly.
That much was clear on Tuesday night, when Marchand and the Bruins were playing in Game 3 against the Detroit Red Wings.
Marchand was the recipient of a leg-on-leg hit by Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith. Marchand flipped to the obvious and expressed obvious pain in his leg, and Smith was issued a two-minute penalty for tripping.
Yet as Marchand was helped to his feet and then assisted to the Bruins bench, he favored his right leg, skating on his left without putting any pressure on the other.
Many astute viewers found that to be odd, considering Smith made contact with Marchand’s left leg.
Very quickly, a flurry of tweets and blogs began filling the Internet void, accusing Marchand of faking the injury. Marchand’s quick return to the game only fanned the flames of the web fire surrounding his reputation.
“In the Trollympics, Brad Marchand gets an ‘A’ for effort and an ‘F’ for execution,” wrote Sean Gentille of The Sporting News in his story, which wore the headline “Brad Marchand may have made world’s worst attempt to draw call.”
“It shouldn’t surprise or anger anyone to see stuff like this; it’s the playoffs, gamesmanship is real and Marchand has pulled off this maneuver in the past,” Gentille added. “Still, though — he got busted, and it’s hilarious. Shouldn’t he be better at this sort of thing by now?”
“If you get hit in the knee and want to sell it, don’t grab the wrong knee,” read the sub-headline on Adam Gretz’s SB Nation post.
Marchand was made aware of the accusations after the game, and he had an answer to the Internet critics.
“That’s why they’re on Twitter and I’m in the NHL,” Marchand said, according to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty.
Marchand explained that his right knee twisted when he hit the ground, which caused more pain than the leg-on-leg collision.
Those who choose not to believe Marchand are sure to dismiss his explanation, but there’s no denying that Marchand’s leg crumpled pretty violently upon impact with the ice.
“I tried to jump around him and he clipped me a little bit,” Marchand said of the hit from Smith. “It was just more how I landed . So it was the right call.”
As has already been mentioned, Marchand has put on some diving displays in his career. Yet he deserves the benefit of the doubt in this case, at least from those of us who have never experienced being the recipient of a full speed leg check in the NHL.
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