|Brad Marchand, James Wisniewski still talking as playoffs roll on||04.20.11 at 7:59 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Brad Marchand stood straight-faced in the hallway at Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center Wednesday and spoke about what the playoffs mean to him, not even acknowledging how ridiculous he looked.
Marchand, the Bruins’ 22-year-old rookie wise guy, was sporting two different shoes — a white one on the right and a taped-up black one on the left — as he touched on his first taste of playoff hockey at the professional level.
“The amount of emotion and energy of the crowd, it’s so exciting and you get such an adrenaline rush every time you’re on the ice,” Marchand said. “It’s a special time of year.”
Of course, Marchand’s quirks are why he’s become a fan favorite in his rookie campaign in Boston. Off the ice, he isn’t afraid to blast a player or team (he called out Matt Cooke and essentially called the Canadiens divers at different points this season), and on the ice his mouth is just as active as his legs.
Chippy and chirpy, Marchand is the type of player referees keep an eye on, and when going against similar guys, provides great entertainment.
That’s part of what has made this year such a great year (injuries and ugliness aside) for the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry. The additions of Marchand, James Wisniewski and P.K. Subban have provided proof that when it comes to the Bruins and the Habs, the hatred is just as apparent among the players as it is with its fans.
“I know a lot of fans and media like to build it up, but we do [too]. We try to use it to our advantages,” Marchand said of chirping. “It’s a different asset, and in a seven-game series, you can use it to your advantage. Even if the other team takes one penalty, you can capitalize on that one opportunity and it can change the game. Every guy who plays that role — me and Subban and Wisniewski — whoever it is, you definitely want to use it to your advantage.”
Marchand and Wisniewski have been frequent partners in the game of trash-talk. After all, it was Marchand’s hit on Wisniewski after a whistle on Feb. 9 that led to the line-wide scrap that culminated in the world’s worst goalie fight between Tim Thomas and Carey Price. Subban also crushed Marchand in the Dec. 16 game, causing Marchand to miss some time.
Wisniewski was acquired by the Habs back in December in a deal that sent a couple of draft picks to the Islanders. Like Marchand, he is known for using lip as an asset on the ice, so despite their history from the Feb. 9 game, Marchand sees the similarities between the two players as the biggest reason as to why they’ve developed their yapping rapport.
“I don’t know if it’s been like that [just because of Feb. 9]. He’s one of those guys who likes to chirp a bit, and I’m the same way,” Marchand said. “We’ve just kind of been at each other a little bit. It’s just part of both teams’ games to kind of chirp a bit. They play that same style, and we do too.
“When you get two teams like that, there’s always a little bit more after-the-whistle stuff. Maybe at some point it’s kind of taken away from my game, so I might settle down a little.”
The regular season was an exercise in not going over the line with his extracurricular activity on the ice. He would often admit that it could be difficult to know when he was crossing it, and that Claude Julien had a stare reserved for when he did.
Now in the playoffs, Marchand hasn’t seemed to change the way he’s gone about trying to bug the opponent. He can thank the nature of the playoffs, which generally sees referees more lenient, for that.
“I think that kind of helps a little bit, but at the same time, you are always aware of what you’re trying to do out there. You don’t want to be the guy that takes that bad penalty that ends up in a bad goal. You’re always a little extra careful, but at the same time, you don’t want to change the game too much.”
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