Boston Bruins: Marchand Vows To Change His Ways

BOSTON - JANUARY 6: From left, Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand celebrate teammate Patrice Bergeron's first period goal. The Boston Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 6, 2018. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JANUARY 6: From left, Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand celebrate teammate Patrice Bergeron's first period goal. The Boston Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 6, 2018. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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On Wednesday, the Boston Bruins came together for the last time this season during Breakup day. Players showed up to Warrior Ice Arena to clear out their stalls and speak to the media before heading home for the offseason.

Despite tying his career high mark in points this season with 85 (34-51-85), when the majority of the hockey world looks back on Brad Marchand‘s 2017-18 campaign for the Boston Bruins, one image will come to mind. The All-Star forward licking other players.

Three times it happened this season, once back in November, when he licked Toronto Maple Leaf Leo Komorav, a follow up incident with Komorav in the first round of the Playoffs and lastly, licking Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Four of the second round.

Bruins
BOSTON – MAY 9: Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand walks through a locker room as Bruins players give end-of-season interviews at their practice facility in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston on May 9, 2018. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

What first was seen as disgusting but still funny by most of us watching, quickly turned into the star forward embarrassing himself, the Bruins, and the game. Over this past weekend, leading up to Game Five against the Lightning, Colin Campbell, the Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations for the NHL reportedly had a conversation with Marchand and Boston GM Don Sweeney regarding the “friendly” antics Marchand on the Ice.

Marchand and the team were put on notice, (Bruce Cassidy also spoke to Marchand regarding the incidents) it was clear the league had had enough.

Can you blame the league? Put yourself in the shoes of someone in the League Office, having to actually have a serious discussion about a player, a very polarizing player at that, licking other players multiple times.

Marchand Speaks

Marchand spoke to reporters at Breakup Day today, basically saying he needs to re-evaluate his character

"I think the biggest thing for me now is to really take a pretty hard look in the mirror and realize some of the things I’m doing have a much bigger consequences than I may ever think or believe will come of it, I’ve always been an easygoing guy and there’s not a whole lot that phases me at all. It’s kind of gotten to the point where especially the last thing I want to do is bring the embarrassment to my organization and my teammate that I did.I think it’s different for the fact that it’s different when I kind of bring the heat down on myself, but when you start kind of bringing some heat to the team and organization and being a distraction that’s when it kind of hits you a little bit harder, It’s tougher when you start to disappoint the team and everyone. That’s a bit of a wake-up call.Even if I drop to 25 (goals), but I cut the s— out, it’s worth it"

Finally Getting Through?

What has caused Marchand to finally realize that he’s gone too far? Was it the phone call with the league office? I doubt it, Marchand has had his fair share of disciplinary dealings with the league. Perhaps the sit down with Sweeney or Cassidy. Or maybe it was the President of the team, Cam Neely who said something to him.

I think however, it came from one of the leaders in the room, like Patrice Bergeron. We all know by now how close the two are, and how much Marchand respects his line-mate. Last month in his Player’s Tribune article, Marchand wrote “If you say anything bad about my brother, or about Patrice Bergeron, I’ll fight you.” Maybe Bergeron, the consummate professional had finally had enough of his teammate and best friend’s antic and told him to take a good long look at himself in the mirror.

Regardless of who or if anyone said anything too him, there is without a doubt a negative Marchand effect on the ice with the officials. The most blatant instance of a no call was in Game Four of the Second Round against Tampa Bay, Marchand skates in on a breakaway, gets hooked, resulting in the play being broken up, the official’s arm remained at his side, no penalty shot awarded.

There is no question that Marchand is a damn good player and is at his best when he is both agitating the other team and putting the puck in the back of the net at the same time. Perhaps this was finally the wake up call he needed to stay within the lines and not bring anymore negative attention to himself or the Bruins.