Brad Marchand: Boston’s Beloved Rat

A lot can be said about Brad Marchand.

Whether it’s positive or negative, and let’s face it, it’s typically almost always negative, Marchand is frequently talked about in the hockey world.

There is no denying the fact he is a talented hockey player. He’s fast, battles for the puck and is consistent with his goal scoring. He’s small (in terms of sports, 5’9” is still a giant to me) and uses his size to his advantage when it comes to battling for the puck.

Marchand’s 21 goals leads the team so far this season. He also has 29 assists – good for 50 points through 38 games.

He’s had at least 20 goals in every season since 2010 with the exception of the 2012-13 season where he only had 18. Marchand is consistent and seems to get better with each passing season.

But it’s his style of play that constantly gets him into trouble and gets NHL fans around the league riled up and talking about number 63.

Marchand was suspended for five games on Wednesday after he elbowed New Jersey Devils’ Marcus Johansson in front of New Jersey’s net. Johansson reportedly suffered a concussion and had to be helped off the ice.

As we all know, this wasn’t Marchand’s first rodeo with the Department of Player Safety. In fact, it was his ninth time. He’s been fined or suspended nine separate times in his career for his antics on the ice.

Nine. Freaking. Times.

But at the end of the day, Bruins fans love Marchand. He’s a gritty player who goes hard each and every game. He puts the Garden crowd on their feet when he scores and there’s always a plethora of Marchand swag worn by fans throughout the Garden.

If Marchand was on any other team, there’s not a lot of doubt that Boston fans would absolutely despise him, kind of like Sidney Crosby. Non-Pittsburgh Penguins fans loathe Sid the kid, but not because he is a dirty player.

Crosby is one of the best players the league has. Much like Marchand, he’s consistent (when not concussed) and helps his team win games. Fans of other teams will say he cries to the refs when he gets hit or doesn’t get a call, but, much like Marchand, if Crosby was on your team of choice, you’d love him.

If Marchand didn’t pull the stunts he has on the ice, he’d likely be respected around the league – but because he spears people in the groin and elbows players in the head, it’s easy to sit back and call him a rat – despite the numbers he puts up season after season.

But Marchy absolutely owns being the heel in the NHL. He knows the fans of teams that aren’t the Bruins mega-loathe him and he welcomes it with open arms.

We especially saw that at the All Star Game after he was introduced to the crowd in Florida and was warmly welcomed with a sea of boos. He came out and blew kisses to the crowd.

He waved to the crowd after he scored. He was enjoying every single minute of it.

He knows he’s hated. And he wants everyone to know that he knows. Like I said, he owns it. He even stood next to a fan holding a sign that said “Exterminate the rat.” 

He has fun with being hated all while being an extremely talented NHL player.

As a Bruins fan, it’s easy to appreciate what Marchy does for this team. As a non-Bruins fan, I can see why it’s just as easy to hate on him, call him a rat and take to social media to talk about how he’s a dirty player who doesn’t deserve to be in the league.

But please, for the love of everything holy, stop comparing him to people like Matt Cooke. Cooke is in the game to hurt players and end careers.

If Marchand was on your team of choice, scoring 20-plus goals every season and making an impact for your team, I can almost guarantee you’d cheer for him the same way Bruins fans do. If Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, P.K. Subban or Patrick Kane were on the Bruins, fans would bask in their greatness.

Just as any other fan base would with Marchand if he donned a different uniform.

There is no denying he plays a dirty game, but Marchand isn’t the dirtiest, classless player in the league. He won’t be the last dirty player the NHL sees either.

Every team has a villain – Boston’s just happened to be named Brad Marchand.

Written by: Lauren Campbell (@lalalalaurrrren)

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