Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand made headlines for the wrong reasons during the NHL playoffs, and he knows it.
Marchand, who was told by the league to stop licking the faces of his opponents, told reporters Wednesday that he wants to clean up his act in order to avoid embarrassing the team.
“The biggest thing for me is taking a pretty hard look in the mirror and realize that some of the things I’m doing have much bigger consequences,” Marchand said. “The last thing I ever want to do is bring embarrassment to my teammates and the organization like I did.
“I have to be a lot better. I know I have said that in the past, but I think that’s got to be the thing that I really work on the most.”
Marchand first licked Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first round of the playoffs, then repeated the act on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ryan Callahan during the second round. The Lightning were none too happy with the gesture, with coach Jon Cooper saying, “There is absolutely no place in our game for that.”
“Some things I’ve done clearly need some fixing,” said Marchand. “So I think that’s going to be the biggest thing that I take away from what’s happened the last few days — to actually take a look and really understand these things have much bigger consequences.
“When you play a certain way with no consequences for 25 years, it’s hard to flip a switch and have it all be gone. Maybe I haven’t paid enough attention to it, because I thought I could get away with it because I was being a good player. If I wasn’t having the years that I was having, would I be in the league? I don’t know. Would the Bruins put up with it? Probably not.”
Marchand, who turns 30 on Friday, led the Bruins with 85 points (34 goals, 51 assists) during the regular season. He was second on the team with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in the playoffs.
Marchand noted he must improve his behavior if he’s ever going to grow into a leader on the team like Patrice Bergeron or captain Zdeno Chara.
“That’s something I’ve wanted to work on for the last few years, to move more into that role,” he said. “I gotta figure some out before that’s really going to happen. To get to that next level. I gotta get rid of that stuff.”
Chara, for one, believes Marchand will take the steps needed to get there.
“He realizes he needs to get better,” said Chara. “And he will. I am sure that he is going to have some thoughts about some of this stuff ... and he will be better.”
—Field Level Medias