It looked like Brad Marchand may have had a case that his alleged slew-foot on Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson was incidental. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety didn’t agree.
The league came down pretty hard on Marchand for the play, announcing Monday that the Bruins winger has been suspended three games. So, turns out those calling for such a punishment were correct and got what they wanted.
This marks the first time Marchand has been suspended since 2018, when he got five games for swiping at the back of Marcus Johansson’s head with his elbow and giving him a concussion in the process. Ekman-Larsson was shaken up but appears to have avoided any injuries that would limit him beyond Sunday’s game.
Looking at the play, it’s not a blatant slew-foot like the league has seen before, but he’s obviously sweeping the leg a little bit. Player Safety saw this as added leverage on what began as a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.
Brad Marchand slew-foot on Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Should he be suspended and if so, how many games🤔— Everything Hockey (@EHClothing) November 29, 2021
The video explanation for the suspension says: “It is important to note that there are many occasions during the course of a game where players use either their legs or their stick and upper body to restrain or impede opponents, or to gain leverage during a puck battle. When these plays rise to the level of being illegal, the vast majority of them can be adequately punished with in-game penalties. What causes this play to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is Marchand uses both his upper and lower body to take Ekman-Larsson to the ice in a dangerous fashion.”
Player Safety also says it factored Marchand’s history into the equation, which seems wonky, because Marchand hadn’t been punished for anything in almost four years. But maybe that’s why they’re giving him “only” three games.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy probably won’t be happy about the suspension. He described the play as “two guys battling for the puck.”
The Bruins will have at least one significant test on their schedule in the three games without Marchand, when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. He’ll also be out for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, and for Thursday against the Nashville Predators.
MORE: Brad Marchand controversy turns into bigger discussion on how fans and media treat players
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