By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Marchand sounded reasonably accountable for his horrible spearing penalty when he addressed it right after the game on Tuesday. But he undid a lot of that accountability when he addressed the resulting two-game suspension.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, hours after the league announced Marchand’s suspension, Marchand essentially excused his actions due to the work of his teammates clinching a playoff spot in his absence. Perhaps even worse, he further excused himself when he turned the criticism back on the reporters asking the questions.
“Things happen quick out there,” said Marchand. “If any of you have ever been out there in the NHL on the ice, you realize how quick things happen. Until you’re in that position, you don’t really understand. But again, things happen quick.”
It’s true … most reporters (in Boston, anyway) weren’t also NHL players. It’s hard to understand the pace of NHL games without actually being out there. But what is very, very easy to understand is that Marchand’s first instinct in his situation was to whack a guy in the crotch. That he did it in the first place, let alone in a virtual must-win game with massive playoff implications, shows plainly that Marchand, at best, has poor impulse control and judgment in those moments.
Marchand also made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t care what we think. Not that he should – but team president Cam Neely said on Felger & Mazz on Thursday that Marchand has to “grow up a bit” with his behavior on the ice. And it would be surprising if some of his teammates didn’t feel the same way – but he implied otherwise.
“I’m not really concerned about how anyone feels outside of the [locker] room,” said Marchand. “Things happen in hockey. Again, the only people I care about in this world are my teammates and my family. I think they have different thoughts about me. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”
When asked if he felt he let his teammates or family down with his actions, Marchand dug the hole a little deeper.
“Not so much my family,” he said. “The team did the job. So we’re in the position we need to be in the playoffs, so we’ll move forward.”
[graphiq id=”kuhxc8A3kpv” title=”Brad Marchand 2016-17 Game Log” width=”600″ height=”564″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/kuhxc8A3kpv” ]
But again, the fact that his teammates were able to cover for his stupidity doesn’t excuse that he made a colossally dumb mistake that could play a role in the Bruins finishing in the Wild Card instead of second or third in the Atlantic Division. Marchand’s actions, at the very least, could make their first-round playoff matchup infinitely harder than it needed to be.
Marchand apparently felt that the team could afford for him to be so undisciplined at the worst possible time, but the ensuing loss to Ottawa on Thursday night showed that they could not.
A simple admission that he let his teammates down would have gone a long way for Marchand in the public eye. Not that he cares about that. Maybe he should, though, because these sound like comments from a player who’s never going to grow up like his president wants him to.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.