Bruins forward Brad Marchand  made his weekly appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday afternoon and talked at length about the Bruins’ visit to the White House, time off from hockey during the All-Star break and the team’s prospects for the second half of the season.
On Monday, the Bruins visited the White House and President Barack Obama to celebrate their 2011 Stanley Cup  title. For Marchand, it was an incredible opportunity that he and the team cherished.
“That was pretty cool, it was almost surreal,” Marchand said of being on stage with the president. “You see him on TV and obviously he’s such an iconic figure and it’s a room filled with cameras and everything. It was a good time.”
The visit, however, did not come without some controversy, as goaltender Tim Thomas , the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, did not attend the ceremony. In a Facebook post, Thomas noted that he believes “the Federal government has grown out of control,” but stressed that his decision was “not about politics or party.”
Marchand said that Thomas’ absence did not take away from the Bruins’ day in Washington.
“I had fun,” Marchand said. “Timmy made his decision and that’s that.”
With the Bruins sitting at 31-14 and in first place in the Northeast Division, Marchand also stated that he feels good about the direction of the team heading into the season’s second half.
“Definitely,” he said. “We’re sitting in a very good position right now. We haven’t been as hot of late, but with a little bit of a break right now and we get back into things, hopefully we get back to the way we were playing before. We’re in a great position, especially after how we started.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, including Marchand talking about his trip to Disney World over the break, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page .
On President Obama referring to him as the “Little Ball of Hate”: “[Laughs] When the President gives you a little shout-out , I think you’re definitely going to have to keep that nickname. That might have to stick for a bit.”
On extracurricular activities at the White House: “We were actually trying to find some secret passageways. We were walking in the library and trying to pull books out, pushing the wall. [We] didn’t find any, though.”
On if it’s a good time right now for a break: “For sure. Every season, there’s a lot of ups and downs and you just have to be able to keep an even keel. You don’t get too high and you don’t get too low. When you’re winning, like you said, sometimes you forget it’s the little things that matter and that’s what wins games. You can stray away from that when you’re really hot. It’s definitely a good time to take a break here right now and get back to business and be a little more focused when we come back.”
On potentially changing his style of play in the wake of his five-game suspension: “I’m on the team for a reason. That’s how I play and I can’t change that just because of the suspension. It won’t affect my game and I just have to do what I have to do to be effective. If I start changing things, it could really ruin my game.”