Let’s be honest readers. A lot of you didn’t think that Brad Marchand would be having the breakout year this season. (I did.) The ‘Little Ball of Hate’ has become the ‘Little Demon that can Skate.’ Does he still instigate. Yes. It’s just part of his skill set now. Instigation has taken a back seat to serious game play and co-ordination with his fellow Bruins on the ice. He put in two assists last night, one for Seguin and the other for Bergeron. While we in Bruins Nation see this as the evolution of an all around player, others will only see him as a punk.
“I think Brad is a real good player,” Julien offered before the game. “He probably doesn’t get enough credit because of his demeanor on the ice, how he’s a bit of an agitator. Certainly, that kind of tarnishes a little bit of the good things he does, but that’s what makes him a great player. He’s a very emotional guy, likes to get under people’s skin sometimes, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with the skill level that he has, he’s a great player, good passer, great goal scorer and he has a quick release. He’s a real good player. I think he’s an even better player than what people perceive him to be.”
One of the reasons for Marchand’s success is the tempering influence of his center, Patrice Bergeron. #37 (in my opinion) been the true captain of the team this year. He has been a stabilizing force for his line. He’s had Marchand and Seguin as his wingers since they’ve joined the squad, and his influence is there. He’s been a mentor to players like them and Jordan Caron(who was just called up today by the B-Bruins, likely to get his shot at the spot vacated by Chris Bourque.) He is one of the reasons the second line has been playing like the first. He put in one of his own, and assisted on both of Seguin’s goals last night. “He’s incredible,” Marchand said of Bergeron. “He’s an elite player in this league, and you saw he played for the Olympic team, and he’s got a Cup, and he’s won at every level and it’s because of how great of a player he is. When you have your top scorer playing defensively the way he does, it’s very encouraging, and it makes a lot of guys follow.”
The third man of the line, Tyler Seguin rounds out this three man squad of point production. Seguin’s hands finally arrived from Switzerland, and he’s lighting the lamp for us. He put in two goals and an assist for us last night against the Leafs. It’s glad to see a more mature Seguin on the ice as well. He’s a part of Julien’s program, and the coach really likes what the second line brings to the Bruins.
“The goals that [Bergeron and Seguin] scored were, besides the empty-netter, pretty indicative of what we’ve asked of our players,” Julien said. “The first one was a great effort by Marchand, right in front of their bench, battling for the puck in front of their net. He had two guys around him and finally let Seguin get loose with the puck and he did a great job of taking it to the net and cutting in. … Another one again, Marchy does the work along the boards, chips it past their pinching D and makes a great pass to Seggy again. So, it was just one of those games that that line did a great job as far as getting pucks past their [defensemen] and working through it and doing the grunt work.”
The Bruins are 15-3-3. They are still one point behind the ‘undisputed’ Montreal Canadiens in the Northeast. They play again tomorrow afternoon against the Philadelphia Flyers, with the puck dropping at 1:05 pm