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The NHL has suspended Brad Marchand five games for his hard elbow to the head against Devils forward Marcus Johansson on Tuesday at TD Garden.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety first reported Marchand’s suspension via Twitter on Wednesday. Marchand’s elbow came with just 2 minutes remaining in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-2 win over New Jersey.

Watch the Dept. of Player Safety’s explanation for Marchand’s suspension below:

Marchand’s status as a repeat offender certainly didn’t help him. It’s the second five-game suspension of his career; Marchand also got hit with five games for a dangerous clip on the Canucks’ Sami Salo in 2012. He’s up to 19 games lost due to suspension in his career. His other suspensions:

— 2 games for elbowing the Blue Jackets’ R.J. Umberger in 2010-11
— 2 games for slew-footing the Rangers’ Derick Brassard in 2014-15
— 3 games for clipping the Senators’ Mark Borowiecki in 2015-16
— 2 games for spearing the Lightning’s Jake Dotchin in 2016-17

Unfortunately for the Bruins, “Brad Marchand Suspended” has become an annual occurrence. And there’s also the three fines: $10,000 for a slew-foot on the Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall last season, $5,000 for punching the Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog in 2015-16, and $2,500 for slew-footing the Caps’ Matt Niskanen back in 2011-12.

Protecting Himself?

Bruce Cassidy understands that Marchand wanted to protect himself from taking a hit from an opposing player. But the Bruins head coach also sounded like he spoke with a player who admitted intent to throw his elbow.

“I wish he’d scored off the rush,” said Cassidy, smirking. “Talking to Brad this morning, he just felt that he saw a Devils sweater and was going to protect himself from contact. And from there, it’s in the league’s hands now.

“Brad’s taken a couple of hits this year and missed some time. So, I absolutely agree that players should protect themselves if they see a hit coming. And how they do that is up to the league to determine if it’s legal or not.”

The Bruins Without Marchand

Cassidy sounds content to take the good with the bad as it goes with Marchand. Ideally he could play like the elite scoring winger he’s become (which he also showed Tuesday night) without ever resorting to moves like the one he pulled on Johansson. But at the end of the day, Marchand needs to play on the edge to be at his best. And sometimes he’ll go overboard.

Still, the problem is that the elbow to Johansson was a completely unnecessary move that gave the Devils forward a concussion. It’s also unnecessary for Marchand at this point of his career. There’s just no need for it. His skills have reached a level where he shouldn’t feel compelled to do things like his elbow on Tuesday night in order to impact the game.

Marchand essentially does this stuff instinctively, without thinking, and so do a lot of other players in the league. But these are the consequences. Now he’ll make no impact on five straight games for the otherwise-surging Bruins, and he injured a guy’s brain for no good reason in the process.

The way they’re playing as a team right now, the Bruins could even win the majority of their games without Marchand anyway. But losing him once again, because of another egregious act, can only hurt the team in the short-term. It wasn’t going to be easy with the Ducks, Blues, and Maple Leafs coming up on the schedule, and it just got a lot harder.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.