|Brad Marchand on Justin Abdelkader: ‘By no means am I ever trying to be like him’||04.25.14 at 3:32 am ET|
DETROIT — Great goal-scorers respect other great goal-scorers. Great defensemen appreciate another blueliner who can take away half the ice. Great coaches may occasionally fear one another, but they become great by outthinking their counterparts. Even fighters have respect for one another and are thankful when the other obliges.
So what do pests think of other pests?
Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is not a fighter; he’ll do it once or twice a season. Yet he’s been the first in line to participate in post-whistle festivities, as the Bruins have seen in their first-round series against the Wings. In the last two games, the 27-year-old grinder has taken two roughing minors and drawn three.
Brad Marchand is one of the league’s most noteworthy pests, as he routinely gets chippy after the whistle but doesn’t drop the gloves often. Though both play on the top six for their teams, Abdelkader has never scored more than 10 goals in the a season in the NHL, whereas Marchand has scored 20 goals in each of his three full NHL seasons (he scored 18 in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign).
Asked about Abdelkader’s extracurricular work following the Bruins’ Game 4 overtime win, Marchand didn’t seem overly impressed.
“He’s really the only guy they have on their team that’s like that that plays a physical game,” Marchand said of Abdelkader. “I think he’s trying to play that role a bit and help the team a bit, but by no means am I ever trying to be like him.”
As for his own antics, Marchand, who cross-checked Henrik Zetterberg after a whistle in Game 4 and was accused of diving (which he probably didn’t) in Game 3, said he feels he’s better served toning it down for the remainder of the series. Marchand missed two open nets in Game 4 and said he needs to put all of his focus on performing better rather than mixing it up.
“I think I’m going to try to stay out of the scrums the rest of the series and just worry about playing,” Marchand said. “I might be focusing a little too much on other stuff, and that’s why I’m missing my opportunities. I think I want to help the team more on the scoresheet than in other ways.’
|Brendan Smith on Brad Marchand: ‘That’s why he’s great’||04.23.14 at 3:01 pm ET|
DETROIT — Add Brendan Smith to the list of folks who were suspicious of Brad Marchand‘s actions when Marchand held his right knee after receiving a leg check from Smith on his left leg in the second period of the Bruins’ 3-0 Game 3 victory over the Red Wings.
Though Marchand planted his right leg and twisted it as he fell to the ice, video of the hit made the rounds on the internet suspecting that Marchand, trying to fake an injury in an effort to draw a penalty, forgot which leg to sell.
Smith said he saw a picture of the play and found it “interesting.” Upon having Marchand’s explanation — that he had twisted the other knee — relayed to him Wednesday, Smith sarcastically said “oh” and said “I’ll let you guys be the judge of that.”
“That’s the kind of player he is and he’s lived off of it for a long time and that’s why he’s great,” Smith said. “That’s something that he’s going to do, but it’s kind of funny when you get caught like that when you go down on your left leg and you’ve got your right leg up. But that’s how he is and how he plays.
“It’s worked for him. You think about last year’s playoffs. He baited [Matt] Cooke into maybe fighting and then he wheeled up the wing and put it top shelf, but that’s something that he does. He’s an antagonizer, he’s like a pest kind of a guy, but he’s very good at it and he’s one of the best in the league at that. It’s good that the refs can understand that and go from that.”
Marchand has been going after Smith since the opening shifts of Game 1. Smith denied that Marchand was getting under his skin but did say he has a problem with his cheap shots.
“I don’t know him, so I don’t know,” Smith said. “I don’t like some of the cheap shots here and there. Nobody really does — name somebody and I’ll call you a liar because nobody really likes cheap shots. In that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that sense, I don’t like how he plays in that way. Other than that way, I don’t really know him, so I can’t comment.”
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about the hit on Brad Marchand‘s knee, flopping and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Even though the Bruins dominated on Tuesday, winning 3-0 and going up in the series 2-1, there was a moment during the second period when Marchand went down with what looked like a knee injury after Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith tripped him, hitting his left leg. The only issue was Marchand grabbed his right leg. Thornton isn’t sure what happened, theorizing that Marchand may have injured himself on the fall.
“When he tried to jump around him, I don’t know if he twisted something or if he just fell awkwardly when he came down,” Thornton said. “I don’t know. I know Marchy has a reputation that will probably follow him forever. After the penalty was called, I don’t think he would have laid there if he wasn’t in a little bit of pain.”
While hockey isn’t known for flopping, it does occur in the game. Thornton isn’t a fan of embellishing in general, but he admits that sometimes it helps to get the referees’ attention and get the correct call.
“You shouldn’t have to fall down every time you get slashed or cross-checked to get a call, but depending on where you are in the situation, it seems that sometimes you don’t go down, you don’t get the call,” Thornton said. “I think a lot of the reason we didn’t get as many power plays as maybe we should have during the year is because we, as a group, probably just played through things instead of rolling around on the ground.”
|Brad Marchand probably did not dive in Game 3 vs. Red Wings||04.22.14 at 10:53 pm ET|
DETROIT — Brad Marchand is a dirty player and we’ve all seen him dive in the past.
There. Now that you know this isn’t an ode to the Bruins resident pest, let’s get to the matter at hand: Marchand most likely did not fake an injury to the wrong knee in the second period of Game 3 against the Red Wings.
Just over five minutes into the second period, Marchand went to jump out of the way to avoid a collision between he and Brendan Smith. The result was a leg check from Smith, who made contact with Marchand’s left knee.
Marchand fell to the ice, was slow to get up and Smith was penalized tripping. Soon after, video began circulating of the play, noting that Marchand was grabbing his right knee while on the ice. Marchand was doing a poor job, the good ship internet alleged, of faking an injury to the wrong leg.
But that isn’t what happened.
Marchand was grabbing his right knee because his right knee was the one that twisted all funkily and hit the ice when he fell. In fact, if he grabbed his left knee it would have been faking given that Smith didn’t actually make contact with the knee.
“I twisted it when I landed there,” Marchand said of his right knee. “It kind of felt like a pop, and my leg was tingling a bit. I just wanted to make sure it was OK and moving right.”
Marchand said he told the official that made the call that he didn’t think Smith’s hit was dirty.
“I even said that to the ref after when he asked what happened,” Marchand said. “I just tried to jump around him and he clipped me a little bit, but it was just more how I landed, so it was the right call.”
|Andy Brickley on M&M: Bruins say they ‘have another gear’ to their game||03.19.14 at 1:41 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ 10-game win streak, Brad Marchand, Carl Soderberg and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Bruins have been on a tear recently, winning 10 straight games and outscoring opponents 41-15 in that span. Despite all their success, the team still is looking to improve.
“They’ve been able to do a lot of things really during this streak,” Brickley said. “But it’s amazing when you talk to the coaching staff and even to the players to a man, they say, ‘We’re not peaking, we haven’t hit our stride. Yes, we’re winning games because we’re playing team hockey, and we’re getting some good results, but we definitely have another gear.’ ”
Marchand has been quiet during the streak, only recording two goals and three assists. Brickley admits that while the 25-year-old winger has struggled at times, he has had a successful season.
“He’s having a terrific season really, on the whole, when you take a look at it,” Brickley said. “Certainly there were times, maybe, at different points in the season where it wasn’t going his way and he was kind of fighting it or searching for that balance.”
The B’s third line compares favorably to many of the third lines across the NHL. One guy in that line that has improved, according to Brickley, is Soderberg.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I’m back to the way I was before’ suspension||01.22.14 at 3:28 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about Canucks coach John Tortorella and his suspension, his own suspension and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Tortorella was suspended 15 days for attempting to enter the Flames locker room after the first period of Saturday’s game, angry that Flames coach Bob Hartley started his fourth line. Tortorella responded with his fourth line, initiating a line brawl right after the opening puck drop.
While the former Rangers coach has come under criticism, Thornton said Tortorella deserves credit for standing up for his team.
“I love the that he always has his players’ back,” Thornton said. “This has happened a few times with him, and it’s happened a few times in the league. Obviously the instance with him going down to the locker room probably makes it a lot more blown out of proportion, but this stuff happens.”
That said, Thornton said he isn’t sure Hartley’s intent was to have his fourth-line players mix it up.
“I don’t think that — and I don’t know because I’m not in the room — but I’m assuming when Hartley started his fourth line he wasn’t planning on a line brawl, he was just trying to start a line to get, maybe create some forecheck and then dump pucks in, get some momentum going for his team,” Thornton said. “We do it sometimes, too.”
Added Thornton: “You can start whoever you want. We [the B’s fourth line] used to start all the time, probably two or three years ago. Our line started all the time. It was more to create momentum, not to drop the gloves.”
Thornton, who was suspended on Dec. 14 for 15 games after attacking Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, says the suspension and league crackdown on violence hasn’t forced him to alter his style.
“I’m back to the way I was before. Nothing’s changed,” Thornton said. “If I need to stick up for a teammate, I’ll stick up for a teammate. That hasn’t changed.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘Now I go back to playing the way I played the last 600 games’||01.02.14 at 10:04 am ET|
Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning for the first time since receiving a 15-game suspension last month, and the Bruins enforcer acknowledged he “messed up” and is eagerly awaiting his return to the team on Jan. 11. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Thornton was punished for grabbing Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, pulling him down and punching him during a game on Dec. 7. Orpik was knocked out and had to miss eight games while recovering from the concussion.
It was the first suspension of Thornton’s career, and he hopes it won’t affect his reputation.
“I messed up. I know that,” Thornton said. “I talked about it the other day: I’m not going to let it define me. It’s a mistake I made after 600 games playing right on the line. To be completely honest, doing my job is not an easy one, as far as riding the line.
“It’s tough to talk about because I know I messed up, but I plan on playing a couple more years and playing within the rules. The outcome wasn’t was expected, either. A very unfortunate set of circumstances, why I messed up, it can happen. Yeah, the money sucks, the games really suck. But I’m going to put it behind me now and move on.”
Thornton said he was limited in how much he can discuss the appeal process, but he made it clear he still believes the suspension that league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan handed out — and commissioner Gary Bettman backed upon appeal — was too long.
“It’s tough for me to talk about, because we’re legally not allowed. There’s a provision in our CBA that I can’t really bad-mouth the decision,” Thornton said. “But I definitely thought that 15 was a little excessive. How many games? I don’t know. It’s not my job. And I know it’s not an easy job to assess those things. But I thought that being the lengthiest suspension he’s ever handed out was a little bit much for my first-time offense, I guess.”