FOXBOROUGH — A contrite Brad Marchand met with the media head of Boston’s Winter Classic practice on Thursday, attempting to make amends for the hit he put on Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki — and his subsequent three-game suspension.
“I just want to acknowledge the situation I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined, and affecting the game for them,” Marchand said, in what appeared to be a prepared statement. “Taking away the excitement from the fans, being a part of this rivalry, taking that away from them. Also, for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in a situation to not be part of this.
“I want to apologize. I truly am sorry to everyone about this situation and it was not my intent to make a hit or try and injure anyone on that play.”
Marchand was given a three-game ban for clipping, the same infraction that earned him a five-game suspension in 2012, when he low-bridged Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.
While he said missing the Winter Classic would be disappointing, the 27-year-old also said he respected the league’s decision.
Of course, he also insisted he wasn’t trying to injure Borowiecki on this particular play, and alluded to it not being in the same vein as the Salo hit.
“I didn’t see how it all unfolded afterwards, and the extent of the hit,” Marchand said, when asked how this suspension fit into his stated desire to be more disciplined and mature this season. “The intent was not to make a hit on that play.
“It differs from past instances. I still don’t think this is changing how I’ve approached this season.”
After Marchand spoke, Boston GM Don Sweeney explained that addressing the media was Marchand’s idea, saying it was a sign of the player’s growing maturity.
“I think it speaks a lot for Brad to want to be out in front of this today,” Sweeney said. “He knows the impact that this has had on the team, and on the game itself, and the fans. He asked if he could address it [before] his teammates were going out to practice and getting ready for the game. I think it speaks to the question about maturity. It says a lot to where Brad is, and the impact he has on our lineup.
“We respect Player Safety’s decision on the play. It’s unfortunate for Brad and our team, but we’ll leave it at that.”
With Marchand unavailable — now shelved with fellow forwards David Krejci and Joonas Kemppainen — Sweeney announced Boston had sent defenseman Colin Miller to AHL Providence, and called up forward Alexander Khokhlachev.