The National Hockey League gave Bruins winger Brad Marchand a tongue-lashing of their own Saturday, officially telling Marchand that his days of licking opponents have come to an end.
Spoken to by the NHL’s Colin Campbell this morning, Marchand (as well as Bruins general manager Don Sweeney) were told that Marchand’s actions were no longer considered acceptable, and that an additional lick or similar behavior would come with supplemental discipline, such as a fine or suspension.
This fallout comes the morning after Marchand planted a lick on the face of Lightning forward Ryan Callahan in the second period of Friday’s Game 4 overtime loss to the Bolts. And with Callahan and the Lightning throwing an absolute fit to the media following the win, which gave them a 3-1 series lead heading back to Tampa Bay.
“I don’t know what the difference between that is and spitting in somebody’s face,” Callahan said after Friday’s game, a 4-3 overtime final for the Lightning. “If I’m not mistaken, spitting in a game misconduct, if not gross. I just don’t know what the difference is there, if not worse. It’s unfortunate he goes that low to that.”
“There is absolutely no place in our game for [licking],” Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper, struggling to find the perfect answer to the question, offered. “I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. I don’t.
“How would you feel if I walked over to your right now and gave you one big lick from the chin up?”
Marchand said that he only decided to lick Callahan after the Callahan punched him in the face four times.
“Well, he punched me four times in the face,” Marchand said. “He just kept getting close. Nothing big.”
It was previously reported that the NHL told to Marchand to stop licking opponents after he licked the Maple Leafs’ Leo Komarov in the first round, but that was denied by both Marchand and the NHL.
Marchand and the Bruins will look to stave off elimination in Sunday’s Game 5 against the Lightning.