By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Brad Marchand has a power us mere mortals wish they could have: he can make even the most rational mind melt into complete goo.
Now, I’d argue that this is nothing new, especially when talking about a player with as many controversial plays to their name as Marchand. But what he’s been able to do most recently is downright incredible, if only because this latest round of mind-melting required just 10 crispy words. (This column is gonna be like 800 words and will not come close to matching the impact of Marchand’s postgame interview with Sportsnet. And I do this for a living. How I sleep at night knowing that is anybody’s guess.)
First, the “incident” itself.
Wow. What true horror. I hope Kyle Bukauskas has been able to eat a meal since this disgraceful act on the part of Marchand, but I understand if he cannot. It was that scary. (Thoughts on the potential rift between Marchand and Bukauskas can be found here.)
Now, my favorite part: the absurd outcry.
“He’s just so immature and he’s not that clever,” Sportsnet’s Kelly Hrudey said into a working microphone. “He thinks he’s above everybody else.” Hrudey, apparently mistaking giving a mediocre interview with throwing acid at Bukauskas, went on to bring up Marchand’s age and said it’s time for him to grow up. Somebody on the panel also suggested Marchand face a fine for the interview, and it was at that point that I had to physically remove myself from the situation.
Montreal Gazette journalist Stu Cowen used the interview to suggest that Marchand was ‘too stupid’ to do anything besides play pro hockey (that tweet has since been deleted, because of course it has). Based on his replies since dropping that one, I’m sure he needed a big push to have such a take and it’s not at all based on his audience. Global News Toronto’s Mackay Taggart actually brought up Marchand’s $6.1 million salary to say his actions were “a joke.” I don’t really understand the correlation he was trying to alert of us there, but damn is Marchand underpaid.
Now imagine how they’d all feel if Marchand did something truly horrible? The Bruins would have to call Timmy’s bunker guy until it was safe to come outside (probably sometime in 2028, when Ontario finally got over Nazem Kadri’s suspension).
“But the media has a job to do and Marchand should have respect for that! He’s wasting their time!”
No, no, no.
Let me assure you: If you needed Marchand’s quotes to make your Game 6 story pop, you’re bad at your job. Raffle off your press pass and get out with a couple of dollars to your name. Tuukka Rask, David Backes, Marcus Johansson, Torey Krug, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and even David Pastrnak (the giddiest child to ever make an Eastern Conference Final). I just gave you seven players you could and should have talked to before landing on Marchand, and I wasn’t even in the building. (Hey, speaking of that… Mr. Sports Hub, can we go down to Carolina? I really like BBQ and I promise to sneak you some ribs or some corn on the cob on the plane ride home, so #LetTyWriteInRaleigh2K19.)
Marchand didn’t make or break your story that night.
Acting like he ruined a media member’s job by being short with them or not giving them the answer they wanted is some high-level faux-rage. Take it from me, y’know, the guy Marchand got crispy with last weekend. (It actually helped my story.)
And don’t kid yourself into thinking Sportsnet didn’t know exactly what they were doing by bringing Marchand into frame. He was hot after Game 5 (again, I’d like to think the general crispiness of Marchand isn’t my fault), and it was his last interaction with the media. Given the last interaction between Marchand and Bukauskas before Game 2, and the way the Sportsnet panel straight-up laughed at Bukauskas’ interview-ending chirp in Game 2, walking away from that Game 6 interview with the outrage of a thousand suns is so hypocritical and fraudulent it’s actually insane. It can’t be “respect our jobs no matter what we do to disrespect you while you get ready to perform yours.” That’s not respect. It’s nonsense.
Not only that, but Blue Jackets John Tortorella did the same thing in his postgame press conference. That same night! He even swore! In fact, we’ve hit the point where Tortorella’s dickish attitude towards the media has been not only accepted, but celebrated. TSN even made a countdown of Tortorella’s best moments, and the top two were fights with the media. Jets captain Blake Wheeler told a reporter to “f–k off” after the Jets were eliminated in the first round. This happened not even a month ago, and I do not believe Hrudey brought up his age, and I’m not sure Cowen has his IQ test results in just yet.
It’s almost as if it’s cool depending on your own view of the person committing the atrocity of ruining a vanilla postgame interview.
Then I sat down and really thought about. And oh my, is it all just plain brilliant.
Think about it: The Bruins are in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2013. And this playoff has seen a ton of pressure (sometimes blame) thrown the way of guys like DeBrusk and Pastrnak (and Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy on defense), all players who have yet to skate on a stage like this in their NHL careers. But we’re not talking — or even worrying — about that.
We’re instead focused on Marchand’s latest antics and why they make him the worst person in the world, all while knowing that it won’t stop him from being who has been for the Black and Gold for almost a decade now.
Marchand is actually Batman circa minute 150 of “The Dark Knight” right now, but with Joker-esque qualities.
Was it the intent? Nobody ‘cept No. 63 knows, and his Chelsea smile can only confirm so much this time of year.
But it’s a definite result, leaving me to simply admit that the man is a genius.
If only your mind wasn’t melted to goo to realize it.