Boston Bruins

Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins shoots the puck while playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Boston 2-1. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins shoots the puck while playing against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Boston 2-1. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Brad Marchand won’t be suspended for rabbit-punching the Blue Jackets’ Scott Harrington in the back of the head. But he has gotten a stern talking-to. And if he loses his head again he could actually be in trouble.

That’s what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in his testimony before Parliament in Canada, which focused on the issue of head injuries in pro hockey. Bettman at one point was asked about Marchand’s jab to the back of Harrington’s head near the end of the Bruins’ Game 3 loss to the Blue Jackets, which won’t result in supplemental discipline.

Via TSN’s Rick Westhead, Bettman said if Marchand repeats similar antics, “he should look forward to a suspension.”

Mar 10, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) at the face-off circle against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Pittsburgh won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The individual act against Harrington was not egregious enough to warrant a suspension, as many overreacting fans demanded. But although Harrington took the high road and described it as a “hockey play”, Marchand’s rabbit-punch was ill-advised and unnecessary – and ratty, considering Marchand quickly skated away after he did it. Bettman also said it should have been a penalty and the officials erred in not sending him to the box for the final minute of the game.

If Marchand got suspended for it, the league essentially would have done it to him for pure stupidity. There’s no need for him to do what he did in that fashion at that point in the game. But the league and Bettman have made it clear: he needs to do something worse than that to actually sit games out.

Still, Marchand is now under a microscope as much as ever. His name was literally invoked during a parliamentary hearing. The Bruins need to show signs of life in their series against the Blue Jackets in a crucial Game 4 on Thursday, so Marchand needs to be careful. And if things go south again, he can’t lose control like he did on Tuesday or he and the team could pay dearly for it.

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.