Bruins forward Brad Marchand  spoke to the media following Tuesday’s morning skate, making his first public comments since being suspended five games by the league for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.
“I’m obviously a little disappointed,” Marchand said of Brendan Shanahan’s ruling. “I wasn’t expecting as many games as I got, but that was the decision and now I just have to move on.”
Marchand had asked Shanahan for clarification on the legality of such hits prior to the season so as to be sure that he would not commit the infraction.
“I’m a smaller guy, I play low to the ice. That’s the way I’ve protected myself in the past and I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry,” Marchand said of his preseason inquiry. “I brought it up to him and when I walked away from the conversation he told me to protect myself was OK in that situation. When that situation arises I felt I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it and that’s why I did it.”
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli expressed frustration Monday night over the confusion given what Marchand had been told before the season, but the 23-year-old said he now knows how to handle the situation the next time he’s in it.
“It’s clear that I’m not allowed to do that,” he said. “Guys in the league aren’t allowed to do that. They tried to make that clear and I’m going to have to do something else next time.”
As for the rule that the hit was “clipping” — which is the act of taking a player out across or below the knees — Marchand still disagrees with both the officials and Shanahan, who called it such in the video explaining the situation.
“We brought it up,” Marchand said of letting the disciplinarian know his stance on the hit. “Clipping is what I believe it says when you hit the guy at the knee point, around the knee. We felt it was very clear in the video I got him right on the buttocks and it seemed very clear on the video that was the case. Maybe he viewed it differently and at the end of the day he makes the call.”
Marchand also said that he took Canucks coach Alain Vigneault‘s comment that “someone is going to hurt” Marchand as a threat. He also responded to Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa‘s post-game assertion that the B’s play a “stupid” style of hockey.
“We play stupid? Yeah, we play stupid, “Marchand said. “I guess smart enough to win a Cup.”
Here’s the rest of what Marchand had to say:
On the team’s reputation:
“We play a hard game. We have a lot of physical guys, a lot of tough guys on our team. It’s tough for other teams to play against, and some teams may not like it but that’s our style of hockey and we’re not going to change it.”
On whether there’s a double-standard with other players not being punished for similar hits:
“I expect if there’s any more hits like this it will be penalized the same way, otherwise it will be a double-standard. But until we see more hits like this we can’t say that, so hopefully hits like this will be [viewed] and be penalized the same way.”
On whether he’ll change the way he plays:
“I’m still going to play hard. That’s my game, to play hard. At the end of the day I have to protect myself and so does everybody in the league, so that’s not going to change the way I play.”