The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens represent one of the oldest rivalries in all of professional sports. Most days the rivalry is on a warm simmer, but during the hockey season that rivalry heats up. Leave it to the Bruins resident pest to stoke the coals of the rivalry before the season even starts.
Yesterday, Brad Marchand was at the 2014 Phoenix House Champs for Change dinner in his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. During the show, Marchand was asked by AHL President Dave Andrews which NHL player is on his personal least-loved list. It’s a loaded question of sorts. Brad Marchand has done a lot of questionable things in his career. He has dived on occasion, he has made some plainly bad calls when it comes to getting under the skin of other NHL players. He’s racked up a long list of people who really don’t like him as a player (and possibly as a human being). But he’s never had a blatant dive move becoming a hit on social media.
Anyone up for a little #Plekanecing?
Let’s do a little comparing for those of you who like to argue that Tomas Plekanec is a better player than Brad Marchand. Last season Tomas Plekanec put up forty-three points (twenty goals) for Montreal. He earned thirty eight minutes in penalties, had a plus/minus of +11, and had a shot percentage of 10.10%. Not bad for a notorious diver. With the amount of diving Marchand does (according to his critics and ninety percent of the Montreal fan base) there is no way his stats are better, right? Wrong. Brad Marchand had a fifty-three point(twenty-five goals) season in Boston. His plus/minus was +36. He put up sixty four minutes in penalties for the Black and Gold, and had a shot average of 16.8%.
My math might be off here, but statistically speaking this Bruins player was clearly better than that Canadiens player.
Brad Marchand has his own hit list as well. He’s got a few people he’d love to see knocked down a peg. No surprise here that a member of the Canadiens leads his list.“There are a few guys who really irritate me … Tomas Plekanec from Montreal, I hate him,” said an openly smiling Marchand. “Oh, I can’t stand him.” Marchand realizing what would likely follow changed his tack slightly. “No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much. Someone’s [Peter Chiarelli, or even Cam Neely] going to call and get mad at me for saying that tomorrow.”
Just another case of Brad Marchand being Brad Marchand. When the President of the United States calls you a “Little Ball of Hate”, I guess you got to live up to the moniker.