The Bruins seem to have finally figured out what they need to do to win without their defensive workhorse, Dennis Seidenberg. Since losing two games during their West Coast trip, the Bruins have ‘righted their wrongs’, and seem to have found their way. But it was not the fact that they took 3 out of 4 points against Chicago and L.A. in back-to-back games that has taken hold of the Bruins fan’s mind. In fact, the improved play of Bruins forward Brad Marchand has got everyone talking.
Brad Marchand’s night life status is a hot topic around Boston sports media, which has – by default – placed him at the brunt of trade speculation for over a year. Marchand has been nothing short of disappointing since his breakout year in 2011-2012. Marchand exploded for 28 goals and 27 assists, making him the Bruins-team leader in goals per game. However, after that season, Marchand’s production dropped, and the “Little Ball of Hate” soon became the topic of debate. Essentially, the question everyone was asking was whether he was truly ready to be an NHL player on and off the ice.
Marchand’s slow start to the ’13-’14 season prompted the fans and media surrounding the Bruins to call for a trade involving Brad Marchand before it was too late. In early December, many reports about Marchand indicated that the Bruins were shopping the 25 year old winger. The departure of Brad Marchand seemed imminent at the time, and many were bracing for the deal that would take away one of the faces of the organization. Peter Chiarelli would not allow reporters any insight on his plans, if any existed, but did tell the media he had no plans of trading Marchand.
Nearly one month after Chiarelli denied any Marchand trade speculation; Marchand took the lead in shorthanded goals in the NHL, Marchand became the leading scorer for the Bruins, but, more importantly, Marchand seems to be revived. The player that every player in the NHL hated to play against, and caused controversial national attention nearly every week. Though the “old” Brad Marchand comes with a lot of baggage, the one thing Peter Chiarelli sees in his young winger is the ability to energize the team.
Maybe a trade still may be in order for a defenseman, but one thing is for sure: Marchand is back, and so are the Bruins – for now.
-Tyler Jones, Causeway Crowd