Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Bruins have been here before.

With Brad Marchand, too.

But after a postseason headlined by Marchand’s proclivity for licking agitated opponents (Leo Komarov in round one and Ryan Callahan in roudn two) — and with Marchand serving up a contrite end-of-year media availability where he said he needed to cut down on the antics — the Bruins are believing in No. 63 and his desire to truly change his ways.

“[Wednesday] was eye-opening for me that – I think this one’s hit a lot harder than some of the other things that have come his way,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said at a Thursday press conference at TD Garden. “I think he realizes the impact. We spoke a little bit about his family and how it reflects, really, on him as a person more so than him as a player. I think he has gained a tremendous amount of respect around the National Hockey League, worldwide, as a matter of fact, for him as a player, and I think that’s where the attention needs to be – 100 percent focused on his impact as a hockey player.

“People that have spent time around him as a leader of our hockey club, the things that he does to take away from that really don’t need to exist anymore. It’ll be up to him. The proof will be in whether or not he can find that line and never really cross it anymore, because he doesn’t need to. He’s accomplished things as a hockey player, and now, hopefully, he wants to accomplish things as a leader and a quality person, and he was honest about it.”

The 30-year-old Marchand has always been a player that seems to get in his own way at the worst possible time.

You’ve seen it with inexcusable mental lapses that land him in hot water with the league by way of fines and/or suspensions, and do nothing but take away from the positive strides and offensive game that’s made him among the league’s true elite over the last two seasons, with 73 goals and 170 points (the fourth-most points in the NHL over that span).

“Brad is an elite hockey player in the National Hockey League, so when I have conversations with him, it always starts there, and then it goes to, ‘Well, what do you want your legacy to be?'” Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy said when asked about Marchand. “He’s at a stage in his life and a maturity level where, I think, he understands, he truly gets that he doesn’t need the other stuff to make him an elite player, to continue to be an elite player.”

Cassidy also made it a point to say that Marchand is not going to be alone in his attempt to rebuild his public image.

“We have [Marchand]’s back; we always will,” Cassidy said. “As Donnie said, there are people around him, including his coach, his teammates – [Zdeno Chara] said it the other day, we love what Brad brings on the ice, and that’s what we want to be focused on. Having discussions with him, you know, he does have a family now, and that’s part of it, as well.

“There’s a certain level of behavior that he needs to get to, and he’s admitted it. So, that’s where we’re going with Brad, and we want him to keep being that excellent hockey player he is without some of the other stuff. We’re going to work with him to do that. And, that’s it, period, going forward. Again, he’s acknowledged it. That’s step one. We’re here to help him. That’s step two, and let’s get after it. It’s a day-by-day process, and we’ll see next year, once he gets on the ice, where it goes.”

Ty Anderson 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 Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.