Brad Marchand: ‘I was definitely fighting back tears’
|04.18.13 at 11:19 am ET|
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand could not have picked a more emotional night to make their returns from concussions.
Bergeron hadn’t played since April 2, a span of six games. Marchand missed the last two games since being elbowed by Anton Volchenkov of the Devils.
Neither player figured in the scoring but both had a positive signs of bouncing back on a night the city of Boston looked to bounce back.
“They both played well and they both played hard,” their coach Claude Julien said after Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Sabres. “You know, it’s unfortunate they didn’t get rewarded with anything tonight, but they had some great opportunities. And you’ve got to give their goaltender credit; he played extremely well for them tonight and allowed them to stay in that 2-1 game for a long time. I think had there been another goaltender it could have been a totally different story.”
Marchand, like everyone in the building, wasn’t thinking about himself but rather being part of something bigger during the national anthem.
Never were the emotions higher than during the national anthem for Marchand.
“It was extremely emotional. I was definitely fighting back tears,” he said. “To see again how everyone was reacting to that video, it obviously touched not only people who were here tonight but everyone at home, too, watching. It’s something that we’ll never forget. For everyone to show their respect and obviously give their thoughts and prayers for everyone, it’s great that everyone is kind of coming together at this time and helping each other out.”
Teammate Shawn Thornton echoed those sentiments.
“Tough to keep a dry eye after the memorial on the big screen,” Thornton said. “To hear the crowd singing like that is pretty special. It was great to see the support by the 18,000 or whatever here. It was definitely a different experience but great to see everyone rallying around each other which doesn’t surprise you in this city.”
“Emotions were high,” Bergeron said. “Obviously it’s something that you want to do for the city, for the fans and the feeling was great. The fans were awesome. I thought the ceremony was what Boston’s all about, proud. I thought it was great. I thought we had some really good energy throughout the game and the fans were awesome as well.
“We feel like the fans deserved it tonight and we couldn’t get it done for them so it’s hard right now to feel like you’ve won because they deserved better but the city is a winner for sure. That’s for sure, the fans, everyone, that’s. It was something very special to be part of.”
Marchand kept going back to the video that saluted first-responders and the victims of Monday’s attacks.
“It was incredible,” Marchand said. “To see how everyone was reacting and watching that video was obviously very emotional for everyone. Your really see why Boston is such a special city. How everyone has come together and really united through all this, and tonight is another example of it. You’re around thousands of people you don’t know, but it’s like we’re all one. It was special there tonight and very emotional.”
Those emotions continued to the postgame stick salute by both teams to the crowd after the game was over.
“Buffalo staying out there and us staying out there, we just wanted to show our respect and give thanks to our fans,” Marchand said. “I know it’s a tough time right now, we know that. For them to come out and support us, to take their minds off everything for a couple of hours and come in tonight, we just wanted to say thanks. We’re thinking of everyone and they’re in our thoughts and prayers.
“There was a ton of emotion in the building. It was almost like a playoff game as well with the intensity of the game. It was just different. There was a different feeling in the building for sure.”
Like Bergeron, Marchand skated short shifts, averaging just 40 seconds each during his 23 cycles on the ice. The crowd helped get him through his first game back.
“Yeah, definitely, and they definitely give you goose-bumps throughout the whole game,” Marchand said. “It really gives a ton of emotion. Every time I heard that chant going it really got us up, and you could see how we picked our game up at different points throughout the game. It was definitely because of that.”
As for how Bergeron felt, he skated 29 shifts but averaged just 41 seconds on the ice each time.
“I felt really good,” Bergeron said. “I had to keep my shifts short. I got caught out there a couple of times but overall felt really good actually. I felt fine out there. I felt like myself. Obviously, I guess it was even more special I guess coming back in circumstances like tonight. Like I said, it was very special to be part of that.
“The energy was and the emotions were high obviously but I feel like we were in the game right away. We got some good legs, good energy but like I said, it was really playoff atmosphere in here and was something special and definitely something I’ll remember.
“It was about the city coming together and I guess that it was very special to be part of it. Very disappointing to not get that extra point, feel like everyone deserved it but at the same time we got to see the positive of it. We get the point and you clinch a playoff spot so that’s definitely something to take away from it and find ways to finish the games. We were pretty much 30 seconds before getting a huge extra point.”