Brad Marchand confirms Artemi Panarin chirp: ‘This is the softest league in the world’
Suspended for a slew-foot on the Canucks’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Bruins winger Brad Marchand is back in the NHL clink.
But that didn’t stop Marchand from talking about his second-most recent incident with the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin.
Involved in a late-game spat with the New York superstar, Marchand got Panarin so heated that the Russian wing whipped his glove at Marchand from the Ranger bench. Speaking after the game, the word out of the Ranger locker room was that Marchand made a ‘xenophobic’ comment at Panarin, with Marchand allegedly telling Panarin that no one in Russia likes him.
On Tuesday, Marchand confirmed that he said exactly that. And he has no regrets.
“I said that no one in Russia likes him,” Marchand admitted. “So, if that is now what is setting guys over the edge, then this is the softest league in the world and nobody should be allowed to say anything because there’s a lot worse things said out there than that. So, [if] that’s what he’s crying about, then it is what it is.”
The comment likely set Panarin off due to his known issues with the Putin administration, which led to the 30-year-old taking a leave of absence from the Rangers last season to be with his family out of fear that the Russian government was going to ‘shut them off’ after Panarin criticized Putin.
Whether or not Marchand crossed a line likely depends on your point of view and whether or not you think Marchand knew the details of Panarin’s relationship with Russia and if that’s fair game on the ice.
But Marchand doesn’t think it played a factor in the league’s decision to suspend him for the incident with Ekman-Larsson.
“I didn’t do anything wrong in the Panarin thing,” Marchand said. “I had a glove thrown at me. I didn’t say anything out of line to him. He just reacted a certain way and he got penalized.”
Marchand and Panarin will have to wait quite a while to renew their rivalry, as the Bruins and Rangers don’t reconvene until Apr. 23 at TD Garden.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.