Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand drew the ire of the NHL for his antics during the playoffs — namely licking the faces of his opponents.
Turns out the Bruins weren’t too pleased with Marchand’s actions, either.
Speaking with reporters alongside team owner Jeremy Jacobs and his son, Charlie Jacobs, Bruins president Cam Neely said Wednesday that Marchand was spoken to about his behavior during the playoffs.
Following the Bruins’ elimination from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marchand said he wants to clean up his act in order to avoid embarrassing the team, which Neely noted.
“Brad should be contrite,” Neely said. “He was spoken to — I don’t want to go into the details — but he understands how it put a negative focus on him, his family, the organization, his teammates, coaching staff.”
Marchand first licked Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first round of the playoffs, then repeated the act on the 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 last week. “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 noted he must improve his behavior if he’s ever going to grow into a leader on the team. For his part, Neely believes the 30-year-old is a better man than how most may perceive him.
“The thing that people don’t understand, Brad is a really good guy,” Neely said. “If you don’t know him, you see this other stuff and you don’t really think highly of him. And he’s a tremendous hockey player. So he’s got to the point now where his game on the ice without the antics should speak for itself.”
Jeremy Jacobs also issued praise for Marchand while addressing his actions.
“I saw humor in it,” Jacobs said. “Then I thought, as it went along, it got pretty silly and not productive towards the team. This is a player that I can only think of 30 other teams that would love to have him, so there is a margin you give him, but I think he used up that margin.”
Marchand led the Bruins with 85 points (34 goals, 51 assists) during the regular season, in which Boston went 50-20-12 to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with 112 points. Despite the team’s unexpected success, Jacobs isn’t satisfied and hopes to see better results next season.
“I think we should improve on it next year,” Jacobs said. “But not everybody’s myopic in the league, as I wish they were, and they see the same handwriting. Some will move faster than others, I think we’re further ahead in that line right now. And I’m really hopeful that next year is an improvement on this year.”
—Field Level Media