May 9, 2018 | 9:15pm ET
By Shawn Hutcheon, The Fourth Period

MARCHAND OFFERS MEA CULPA

 
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Brad Marchand, winger

 
 

BOSTON, MA -- Three days after the season ended for the Boston Bruins at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the organization held its exit meetings along with the players being available to the media before heading off to their summer homes and workout plans.

The members of the press eagerly waited to meet with each player in order to get updates on their health and plans for the off-season, as well as they’re hopes and expectations for next season – but the one member of Boston’s lineup whom the media, arguably, anticipated the most was Brad Marchand.

Marchand led the Bruins in scoring during the regular season with 85 points on 34 goals and 51 assists.

In 12 playoff contests, he added four goals and 13 assists for an additional 17 points, second to David Pastrnak’s 20 points. Marchand led Boston with eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in the five game series versus Tampa Bay after developing a groin injury in Game 6 in the First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the time of the Bruins’ Break Up Day, Marchand was fourth in NHL scoring.

Despite the nine-year veteran’s scoring accomplishments, Marchand drew the most attention to himself when he licked the face of Lightning defenseman Ryan Callahan during a scrum of players in Game 4 of the series. This, coupled with Marchand’s kissing Toronto’s Leo Komarov on the cheek, drew the ire of many throughout the hockey world.

Marchand was not penalized for his actions in either instance, but he did receive notice from the NHL’s Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations, Colin Campbell, to stop and desist such actions or he would face consequences.

In his meeting with the Boston media, Marchand who has been on the receiving end of said fines and suspensions for other on-ice infractions in the past including this season, said his mea culpa.  

“I had no idea it was going to get this big,” Marchand said in a remorseful tone. “It was not my intention by any means so maybe after the media hype, it’s even bigger now. I tried to stay away from that. I didn’t really pay attention to it a ton, at the time. I never thought for a second it was going to get like this.

“After having a couple of days kind of looking back on the year and seeing what’s happened in the last few days, I think the biggest thing for me now is to really take a pretty hard look in the mirror (and) realize some of the things I’m doing have much bigger consequences than I may ever really think or believe will come out of it. I’ve always been a pretty easy-going guy and there’s not a whole lot that phases me at all so I think it’s got to the point where, especially when the last thing I want to do is bring the embarrassment to my teammates and the organization that it did. I need to be a lot better. That’s gotta be the thing that I really work on the most. I think I’ve gotten my game to a pretty decent spot, but I’ve got some character things that I’ve done that clearly need some fixing so I think that’s going to be the biggest thing that I take away from what’s happened. 

“The last few days I’ve actually taken a look and really understand that these things have much bigger consequences clearly, like that situation. At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal at all. I couldn’t believe where it was going, that people were talking about it but again, that’s just the situation where you gotta actually really look at it and be better so, that’s the biggest thing I’m going to take away, it’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror and fix some issues.”

As mentioned, this was not the first episode in which Marchand drew attention to himself but in the past, he has had the attitude of accepting his punishment and moving forward. This time, the 29-year-old realizes this is not the same.

“It’s different for the fact that it’s one thing when I’m kind of bringing heat down on myself, but when you’re bringing some heat to the team and the organization and being a distraction, that’s when it hits you a little bit harder,” explained Marchand. “It’s tougher when you disappoint the team and everyone. That’s a bit of a wake up call.”

The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia has always been known to play with what is called an “edge.” He likes to get under the skin of his opponents and throw them off their game but Marchand acknowledged that, going forward, it is time to tone that edge down.

“There’s a difference in having an edge and just being stupid,” said Marchand. “It’s the biggest thing and it’s where I get into trouble, controlling my split-second reactions. I’m at that point now where, if you look the last few years, if I have to cut out that edge and drop 15 to 20 points maybe that’s worth it. Those are things I’ll have to work on over the summer. It’s not going to happen in six months. It may happen in a year and a half or two years, but if it can turn it around the last half of my contract then it’s going to be worth it.

“I feel like, now, I’m in a position where I don’t need to do that. I’ll never say it didn’t get me into the League because it definitely helped. I got here playing a certain way and I’ll never look back and say that I wished I changed it because I wouldn’t be here but at the end of the day, I don’t need that anymore and (I’m) in a different position, different player, different time in my career, and it’s also a different game, a much different game than back then. It was played a different way. It was coached and reffed a different way and you were allowed to get away with different things. You gotta kind of adapt your game.”

It will be that adaptation that will see Marchand become the leader that he aspires to be.

“That’s been something I’ve wanted to work on the last few years, try to work more in that role,” commented Marchand. “I gotta figure some (stuff) out before that’s really going to happen, to get to that next level where Bergy (Patrice Bergeron), Zee (Zdeno Chara), Krech (David Krejci) and Backs (David Backes) are. I gotta get rid of that stuff so the next few years, my biggest thing is a turn-around on the character side of things than my game.

“I don’t think I’m that far off the page. I’ve worked myself into a position where I’m there. I still do a lot of good things too, you know I’m not all bad. I can continue to be in that role and work towards that role and I feel like I have, it’s just there are some things that happen now and again that (I) gotta learn to not do.”      

Although, Marchand did bring some of that heat he mentioned down on the organization, captain Zdeno Chara is confident the Bruins have seen the last of it.

“Brad is one of the most competitive players I’ve played with,” Chara said. “He’s a good person, great father, great teammate. He competes. He plays on the edge, he’s always played on the edge and that’s what got him to this point and that is, he’s one of the best left wingers in the League. He’s got to realize that his contributions on the ice for this team is very important and he’s got to enjoy this kind of moment or the times when he’s on top of his game. He’s most effective when he’s playing and focusing on playing but at the same time, you can’t really blame him because he’s such a strong, competitive guy but that must be something that he realizes that he needs to get better and he will. 

“I’m sure that he’s going to have a some thoughts about some of this stuff and make sure that these things don’t affect his game and this team and he will be better. He’s a very intelligent guy and he will make the proper adjustments so that these things will not be happening.”

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Shawn Hutcheon is the Boston Correspondent for The Fourth Period.
Follow him on Twitter.