BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins will be without forward Brad Marchand for the next five games.
The NHL slapped Boston’s leading scorer with a five-game suspension for the elbow he delivered to the head of Devils forward Marcus Johansson in the third period of Tuesday night’s win over New Jersey. The hit came after netminder Ken Appleby covered up a puck with Marchand skating hard to the crease. Johansson stepped in front of Marchand, who appeared to launch an elbow into the head of Johansson at the same time that Johansson contacted Marchand with a stick to the midsection.
The NHL said they acknowledged Marchand’s argument that he was attempting to defend himself from oncoming contact, but it was Marchand who initiated the contact on the play.
Wednesday’s punishment should come as no surprise for the repeat offender. This is the sixth time Marchand has suspended during his nine-year career.
He was most recently suspended for two games last April for spearing Toronto’s Jake Dotchin, costing him a chance at a 40-goal season. Marchand was also hit with a three-game ban the previous season for clipping, which kept him out of the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium against the Montreal Canadiens. He was suspended for two games in 2015 for slewfooting, five games in 2012 for a low hit on Sami Salo, and two games way back in 2011 for elbowing.
In addition to all those lost games, Marchand has also been fined by the league three times for illegal hits.
Marchand has 21 goals and 50 points on the year, leading the Bruins in both categories. This month, he was named an NHL All-Star for the second straight season.
The Bruins next play Thursday night, before the schedule takes a four-day break for All-Star weekend.