By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins winger Brad Marchand is at again.
And not in the way the Bruins, now in a 2-1 hole in their second-round series against the Blue Jackets, want.
With the Bruins on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss in Tuesday’s Game 3 head-to-head at Nationwide Arena, Marchand chose the closing moments of the loss to deliver a cheap punch to the back of Columbus defenseman Scott Harrington.
Where this ranks on The Marchand Scale is interesting, and 100 percent depends on your view of Marchand.
The punch to an unsuspecting Harrington is certainly worse than stepping on Cam Atkinson’s $300 stick in Game 1, and it’s probably worse (though not as gross) than Marchand’s licking bonanza last spring. But it’s not as bad as spearing Jake Dotchin in the Jake and Dotchins in 2017 or elbowing Marcus Johansson into an early summer in 2018.
Trying to legitimately compare this incident to the truly dirty stuff Marchand has pulled in his career (and there’s an awful lot of that) is hyperbolic., but then again, that’s the internet in 2019.
Is it dirty? Sure, 100 percent. Is it unnecessary? Absolutely.
But is this something we’re even talking about if it’s any player besides Marchand jabbing Harrington? Of course not. Hell, this is something that almost every player does to an opponent after a whistle this time of year.
It’s just stupid, is likely going to a shine a light on the already-struggling Marchand for the wrong reasons (from the refs and league alike), and is just the complete opposite of what the Bruins need out of their top-line winger. Especially with the 5-foot-9 winger held without a point in four straight games for the first time since Mar. 2016, and with penalties that have led to Columbus power-play goals in back-to-back games (both losses) for the Bruins.
In essence, it’s not what the Bruins have in mind when they talk about Marchand bothering the opposition.
It also comes just a few days after Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy defended his player. And strongly at that.
“[Marchand] had no penalty minutes in the playoffs before [Saturday] night. None. Zero,” Cassidy said on Sunday. “Leading scorer on our team. All of a sudden I’ve got people in the NHL [saying] ‘keep an eye on him.’ What are you talking about? Why are you going down this road on a guy that’s kept his nose clean?
“I have a bit of a problem with the treatment of [Marchand] with certain officials. He’s earned obviously some of his reputation, but not right now. He’s been clean all year. He’s been clean all playoffs.”
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, meanwhile, opted not to comment on Marchand’s latest sideshow act.
“I’m not giving you my thoughts,” said Tortorella. “I don’t need to give you thoughts. You can come up with something there.”
The Bruins will look to even the series at 2-2 on Thursday night.
Whether or not Marchand is part of that roster or lighter in the wallet come puck drop, however, remains up in the air.