Losing his cool in the final minute of a Tuesday night loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins will cost Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand six games and nearly half a million dollars. The NHL Department of Player Safety has announced that lengthy suspended for the star winger as a result of “roughing and high-sticking” Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Marchand will forfeit $448K of salary as he sits out for two weeks.
The incident in question occurred late in a heated game in which Marchand and Jarry had already had multiple conversations. With time expiring on a frustrated contest in which the Bruins outshot and outchanced the Penguins but could not capitalize, one final comment by Jarry set off Marchand. He punched the netminder in the head, knocking him to the ice. Marchand then fends off a linesman and jabs Jarry in the mask. Marchand received a match penalty and additional minor, but the seven minutes of penalty time was meaningless in the waning seconds of the game. Player Safety had a relatively easy decision to add supplemental discipline and summed up the situation simply:
On this play, Marchand is guilty of two violations that warrant supplemental discipline: roughing and high-sticking. It is important to note that these acts, both the punch to Jarry and the high-stick, were delivered well after the conclusion of play… This was also not a confrontation after the puck is frozen in which a goaltender initiates a physical altercation with an offensive player and is prepared – or should be prepared – for some kind of physical response. We find the totality of this play… unacceptable and warranting supplemental discipline.
Player Safety also specifically cited the CBA’s bylaw on repeat offenders, stating that “players who repeatedly violate league playing rules will be more severely punished for each new violation.” Marchand has a long history with Player Safety (seven suspensions and five fines), but had seemingly cleaned up his game entering this season. However, this is now his second suspension following a three-game ban for slew-footing in November. At the time, that punishment was scrutinized given that others have gotten away with far more without repercussions this season. There is no excuse this time around though; Marchand’s actions were blatant and given his history a suspension was guaranteed.
Marchand continues to be one of more polarizing players in the NHL. The ultimate heel, Marchand is a player that many fans love and many others love to hate. One of the most talented scorers in the league and with a propensity to get under opponents’ skin, Marchand is a player than no team likes to face. They even have to fear him off the ice, as Marchand has recently taken brutally honest shots at both the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes. However, Marchand’s image does not benefit from incidents like this, in which he clearly just lost his head and committed silly penalties that will now cost his team dearly. The Bruins may be comfortably in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but as they look to climb out of a wild card spot over the remainder of the season, it doesn’t help that they will be without a top contributor as they take on fellow contenders in the Hurricanes, Rangers, and Avalanche during Marchand’s six-game ban.