By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Reporters and talking heads across the hockey universe chastised Brad Marchand for his behavior in postgame interviews after the Bruins eliminated the Blue Jackets. So it may shock those same people that Marchand actually gave thoughtful answers to reporters in his latest presser.
“We’re on to round 3,” Marchand deadpanned to the local media on Wednesday after practice at Warrior Ice Arena. That was a declaration that he’s not addressing any questions about his latest controversy, in which an extra-crispy Marchand gave an impressively short word count in his postgame interviews on the ice and in the locker room.
But despite the way Marchand has been portrayed by prominent hockey outlets and personalities in recent days, that’s not how he usually is when he speaks to reporters. He often gives thoughtful comments that help bolster their stories. That’ why you’re not hearing much vitriol from the people who actually cover him on a daily basis.
Perhaps it’s self-inflicted. Marchand has long been known as one of the league’s biggest pests on the ice, so it’s going to agitate some people when he doesn’t cooperate in an interview off it. He’s done himself no favors when it comes to his on-ice antics. He’s one of the NHL’s biggest lightning rods.
So if you’re a national media member reading this, you might want to sit down. Because to your utter shock and abhorrence, Marchand actually answered some questions on Wednesday. Perhaps you’ll cover that.
Here’s a rundown of the questions and Marchand’s responses…
On having a quick turnaround to the next series: “It’s good to continue to play. Right now you’re playing on adrenaline. The days off are nice, but I don’t think we’re looking for four or five. Having one or two is definitely beneficial. But I mean we’re at a point where we’re just excited to play. We don’t want to practice. We just want to play. I think that’s where the excitement is.”
On the Hurricanes’ similarities to the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs: “They’re similar to both teams we’ve played so far, in ways. They’re a very good skating team. But they’re also very physical, so they’re a mix of Columbus and Toronto. But I think one thing that they’re doing is playing extremely well right now. It’s going to be a very tough series. I think with the way that they played against Washington and obviously in their last round, they’re feeling good right now. So we’re going have our hands full.”
On getting to the conference finals: “It’s very exciting to be where we’re at. But we can’t get lost. We’re only halfway to where we want to be. We’ve done what we’ve wanted to accomplish to this point, but we’re not satisfied and we didn’t come into the year saying we want to get to the third round. We want to go the distance. We’re happy with where we’re at, but a long ways from where we want to be.”
On losing Charlie McAvoy: “You can’t replace what he brings. I don’t think you try to. Regardless of who’s on the ice, you expect each other and expect ourselves to do our job. So it’ll be a little different at times. But we still have a lot of great guys and a lot of great players. So you expect to do the job and we expect to have a good game. Obviously he’s a big void that we’re going to miss. I think it’s [Steven] Kampfer who’s coming in. If it is, he’s a veteran, he’s been around for a long time, he was here when we won before. He’s a talented offensive guy. He plays hard. He’s going to pull his weight.”
On Tuukka Rask’s ability to help with breakouts: “He’s been great at that. He’s done a great job stopping the puck, putting it in position where the defensemen can get it and break out. That’s great. It allows us to get our of our zone quick and start the transition.”
Marchand also side-stepped another question about the recent controversy and remarked “I’m not even going to go there” when asked how he’d react to Don Cherry calling the Bruins a bunch of jerks.
This is what Marchand is like most of the time. His curt postgame answers were jarring not because it’s Marchand up to his usual behavior, but because it was a departure from what you usually get. Sometimes he’ll get a little crispy, like when he reacted incredulously to a question about his line playing their best game of the playoffs after Game 5 against Columbus. But Marchand typically gives answers that are worth absorbing and using to your benefit as a writer.
And let’s be honest, even if steam shot our of your ears over Marchand’s postgame comments, it probably helped your bottom line. Let’s be real with each other. No reporter would want Marchand to be like that all the time, but he isn’t. In a career peppered with controversies, this is one that was overblown.
There’s some content that can be gleaned from Marchand’s answers on Wednesday. But they’re actually reasonable and measured and don’t give off any sort of attitude, so it probably won’t do much for the outlets looking to continue to feed off Marchand’s incendiary non-answers from Saturday.
More likely we get crickets.
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@example.com.