LOS ANGELES — The past few days have really embodied all that is Brad Marchand.
Prior to playing in his first-ever All-Star Game, Marchand was in a familiar place — meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety about a dangerous trip on Red Wings d-man Niklas Kronwall.
Ultimately Marchand would avoid suspension for the incident but, on Thursday, was still hit with a hefty $10,000 fine. Later that evening, he scored a pair of goals — his 20th and 21st of the year — in a big 4-3 win over the Penguins.
That put No. 63 in a tie for ninth-most in the NHL, an impressive feat.
And now he’s (rightfully) among the game’s elite at an annual showcase for skill and speed.
So, what does Marchand think of the internal dynamic at play?
“It’s a little Jekyll and Hyde effect, I guess,” he said on Saturday, during All-Star media availability. “You can be good for 81 games of the year, and it takes a two-second play — and that’s the one everyone remembers.
Marchand certainly has a history of plays that folks remember.
— March 2011: Suspended two games for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head.
— December 2011: Fined for slew-footing Matt Niskanen.
— January 2012: Suspended five games for clipping Sami Salo.
— January 2015: Suspended two games for slew-footing Derick Brassard.
— November 2015: Fined for roughing Gabriel Landeskog.
— December 2015: Suspended three games for clipping Mark Borowiecki.
At the same time, Marchand has emerged as one of the league’s best offensive weapons. He finished sixth in the NHL in goals last year, with 37, and further established himself among the league’s elite with a terrific performance for Team Canada at the World Cup.
In announcing the deal, Boston GM Don Sweeney was effusive in his praise. He called Marchand “a core guy,” and was hopeful he’d spend his entire career in Boston.
On the subject of his career, Marchand admitted things were still a work in progress — at least when it came to discipline.
“One hundred percent,” Marchand said, when asked if he acknowledged the need to make better decisions on the ice. “The play last week [on Kronwall] is something that can be avoided and again, it’s just about being smarter in a situation like that. And again, it is something I’m going to continue to work on.”
Work on it? Yes.
But change? Expect some, just not too much.
“I can’t change the way people view me, or the way they think. I’m not interested in doing that. I just want to play the game,” he said. “I still don’t think I’ll ever be liked.
“And that’s fine.”