By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Brad Marchand isn't one of the NHL's biggest trash-talkers for nothing. Even the local media isn't safe from his wrath on social media.
His latest Twitter target is NBC Sports Boston Bruins writer and frequent Toucher & Rich/Sports Hub Hockey Show guest Joe Haggerty. He's garnered a reputation as the most controversial, polarizing Bruins reporter in the city. His writing and analysis often addresses provocative topics, laced with brutal honesty toward the Bruins and individual players. To some readers/fans it may be objective, critical reporting that a lot of journalists strive to achieve. To others, it comes off as an excessive focus on stirring controversy and attacking negative angles.
The newest column from Haggerty drew more anger from his Twitter followers, most notably from Marchand. The story carries the headline: "What we learned in Bruins' 5-0 win over Islanders: Are B's better off without [Torey] Krug?"
Marchand wasn't a fan, dropping a Twitter-bomb Haggerty's way:
What kinda garabage is this haggs...you dont even watch the games you just stand at the snack bar the whole time https://t.co/8celtkGxw6
— Brad Marchand (@Bmarch63) March 21, 2019
It's unclear if Haggerty even wrote the headline, because it suggests a stronger level of vitriol than the reality. The Twitter headline is even more to the point: "Are B's better off without Krug?" Also, the actual content of the article isn't quite as negative as the headline may suggest. But Haggerty does ask if the Bruins are "a more difficult team to play against with Torey Krug out of their lineup".
Haggerty posed the question after the Bruins' dominating 5-0 win over the New York Islanders. The B's ran a defensive clinic, limiting the Islanders to just 13 shots on goal - without both Krug and Matt Grzelcyk on defense.
It's not out of line to note Krug's limitations at the defensive end of the ice, and to suggest that the defense is tighter with bigger, more defensive-minded blue liners out there. Obviously, the Bruins are better defensively with Zdeno Chara or Brandon Carlo on the ice than with Krug. But the idea that they're simply "better off without Krug" is obviously strong and unfair to their power play dynamo with 48 points in 59 games. Can't blame Marchand for seeing this headline and considering this a harsh assessment.
Ultimately Marchand is messing around with "Haggs" and neither of them are likely to care much about this exchange. It's not the first time Marchand needled Haggerty on Twitter.
But it goes to show that you can't publish such a strong headline without the players pushing back. And it's especially treacherous to tweet anything that provokes Marchand, who was voted both the best and worst trash-talker in the league. Talk about polarizing.
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 [email protected].