Once again, the Rat King has made headlines for his bad behavior. Tuesday night, the Penguins visited the Bruins at TD Garden. With Pittsburgh up 4-2 in the last 30 seconds of the game, goaltender Tristian Jarry made a save on Marchand. After an unintelligible remark from Jarry, Marchand sucker punches him in the head. And as if that isn’t enough, as he’s steered away by a linesman, he jabs his stick into the chin of Jarry’s helmet.
I know Bruins fans are eager to jump to his defense, saying he wasn’t trying to hurt Jarry and that the 6-game suspension is overkill. But the reality is that as of Thursday, February 11, Brad Marchand became the most suspended player in NHL history.
On the Edge
There are plenty of players said to play “on the edge.” People seem to think that Tom Wilson exemplifies this, but I’d like to make a case that Marchand should be the face of “on the edge.” As I laid out a few weeks ago, Tom Wilson has made a conscious effort to clean up his act. He isn’t perfect by any means and he had a few setbacks last year, but compared to his early career, Wilson has been squeaky clean.
Marchand, on the other hand, has played the same way for his entire career and is lucky to have gotten away with as much as he has. For those who want an in-depth look at his “lowlights,” Ian Oland from the Russian Machine Never Breaks gathered some good material. To summarize, Marchand has slew-footed (multiple times), jumped a player who didn’t want to fight, licked multiple players (it was only funny once, bro), borderline threatened Panarin’s life, and has a league-wide reputation for diving. And he has never taken a break from playing this way.
For a guy who had 7 suspensions before, you’d think Marchand may have learned something. It only took Wilson 5 before he made a change, after all. But no, Brad Marchand does not think his rat ass stinks. He admitted his actions were “stupid” but does not believe that he should be suspended at all for his actions.
Let me spell that out for you: the man who just sucker-punched a guy in the head, then made to hit him in the face with his hockey stick, all after a whistle and in plain view of referees and linesmen, does not believe he should be punished for his actions.
Damn, I can smell the entitlement from 20 miles away.
For a first-time offender, maybe this play wouldn’t be a suspension (doubtful), or maybe it would only be a game or two. Wires cross, people snap, it happens. But for someone who has had 7 (seven!) suspensions previously, this is obviously a suspension.
Is It Worth It?
As I said earlier, I think this definitely is a suspendable incident. But is it worth it for Marchand?
I don’t mean that he should get off scot-free. I mean that with as many previous suspensions and fines that he’s gotten, is 6 games even worth throwing at him? Clearly, he hasn’t learned anything from the past.
If the DoPS wants to really crack down on meatheads and head hits around the league, they should have thrown 10+ games at him to show him that they are serious about his conduct. They want to emphasize intent when it comes to borderline hits mid-play, yet glaze over the fact that this was after a whistle and not a scrum. 6 games is like a collective shoulder shrug and “eh.” Marchand isn’t taking it seriously and the NHLPA is already appealing on his behalf.
And in terms of fines, clearly, those aren’t doing anything either. In 13 years, Marchand has forfeited $1.4 million in salary. The man is making $6+ million a year; $1.4 million over 13 years is a drop in the bucket for someone making that much. If the DoPS tripled the amount of his fines, maybe that might get his attention.
I think the base of my frustration is with the Department of Player Safety. Once again they have shown us that the fines and suspensions they throw out are arbitrary. And for Bruins fans who want to argue with me that Wilson deserved more suspensions in the past, you’re right! He did! Maybe he would have figured himself out sooner and matured faster if they had suspended him more. And all that just proves my point that decisions made by the DoPS are random, at best.
As for Marchand, he’s a loose cannon I wouldn’t want on my team. His antics are unpredictable and that spells even less predictability when it comes to punishment. He’s lucky to only have gotten 6 games and he should be grateful it wasn’t more. Off the ice, sucker-punching a man on his knees is assault.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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