‘A master troll job’: Leafs GM enjoyed Marchand’s Tweet on Marner’s next contract

3 Comments

Brad Marchand‘s elite pest skills don’t work just on the ice, and with a likely first-round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs coming up next month, the Boston Bruins tried to stir the pot on Twitter Tuesday.

Responding to an NHL PR account Tweet about Mitch Marner reaching 80 points, Marchand put on his free agency speculation cap as the Leafs forward could be a restricted free agent on July 1.

The Leafs face an interesting off-season in trying to not only re-sign Marner, but also RFA Kasperi Kapanen, if they choose to do so, as general manager Kyle Dubas navigates a tight salary cap picture. But Marchand says he was just showing some respect to a great player.

“Some people really took that the wrong way,” Marchand said after Tuesday night’s win against Carolina. “You gotta give the kid credit. He’s a great player that’s all I was trying to get at. He’s having a great year. It’s a big milestone for him. Just giving some credit where credit’s due that’s all.”

Dubas was appreciative that the Leafs were on Marchand’s mind one month before the start of the playoffs, and he also respected the attempt.

“I think it was a master troll job, to say the least. You have to respect that element of it,” Dubas said from the NHL GMs Meetings. “From my end, I think the part that I liked about it was that there’s over a 90 percent chance we’re going to play them in the playoffs if you just take the probabilities of it, so that he woke up the morning of a game day and was thinking about the Toronto Maple Leafs. I thought was a positive thing for us.”

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Johansson, Marchand attempt to move on from elbowing incident

10 Comments

Marcus Johansson‘s brief time with the New Jersey Devils was ultimately derailed by injuries, the most significant of which was a concussion that cut his 2017-18 season down to just 29 games.

He suffered that concussion when Brad Marchand elbowed him in the head back on Jan. 23, 2018, resulting in Marchand being suspended for five games. It was one of the nine times in Marchand’s career that he had been fined or suspended for an on-ice incident.

Later in the season Johansson had some pretty harsh words for the play, Marchand, and the length of the suspension.

Just a quick refresher for you:

“It was stupid. There’s nothing else to say about it. I think there was no point in doing that,” he told reporters after Monday’s practice. “There was no hockey play whatsoever there. It’s sad to see that there are still guys out there trying to hurt other guys… It’s sad. It’s stupid. I hope it doesn’t come to him ending someone else’s career before it’s enough. It’s not why we play the game.

“I think there are always situations where you try to hit someone, you try to make a hockey play and things go wrong. Then there are plays like this where I think it’s got nothing to do with hockey. It’s sad to see. I guess I’m unfortunate to be on the receiving end of that.”

This all relevant now because on Monday the Bruins, who still employ Brad Marchand, acquired Johansson from the Devils in an effort to bolster their scoring depth and make a potential run at the Stanley Cup.

Given the history between the two players it was definitely one of the most interesting trades of the day, and on Tuesday Johansson addressed the elephant in the room that is that history.

Johansson said, via Matt Porter of the Boston Globe, that he received a call from Marchand shortly after the trade along with an apology for the hit.

Johansson said “it was great” and, basically, “these things happen,” and he just wants to put it all behind him.

“Most teams you have guys you’ve bumped heads with a little bit,” Johansson said. “For me, it’s something I’ve put behind me. I’m happy that I’m just playing hockey right now. I’ve just heard great things about Marchy, that he’s a great guy and a great teammate, and he’s a hell of a hockey player.”

So, there is that.

Given the impact the play had on Johansson’s career and life and how strong his emotions were in the aftermath it’s hard to imagine those feelings have just simply gone away in the blink of an eye. He is human, and humans hold grudges against people that have wronged them either physically or emotionally. But he is also correct that if you play enough NHL games on enough NHL teams you are probably going to have a teammate that you have had some sort of on-ice issue with in the past.

Your only choice at that point is try and put it behind you as best you can and work together toward your common goal.

Johansson, now fully healthy, has been on a roll over the past month and joins the Bruins riding a 13-game stretch where he has recorded 12 points. That is exactly the type of secondary scoring his new team needs.

Given how top-heavy the Bruins’ lineup has been this season, especially at forward, he and Charlie Coyle could prove to be huge additions for a Bruins team that has very quietly climbed near the top of the NHL standings.

More: Bruins reunite Johansson with his buddy Marchand

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

 

Off the Ice: Brad Marchand makes cannoli, explains licking opponents

2 Comments

This week’s edition of Off the Ice with Kathryn Tappen featured Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. The two headed to Mike’s Pastry in Boston to make some cannoli and talk about his career.

The topic of licking opponents came up and Marchand explained why he took a taste of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan‘s face during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“His visor was in my face and I was like ‘this will probably piss him off,’ so I tried to do it, tried to get him to hit me and draw a penalty and it kind of went the other way,” he said. “Yeah, that was definitely a decision that [you] go back in time and you would play out a little differently.”

Check out the episode above as Tappen and Marchand also talk about where his edge on the ice comes from and his penchant for pranks. Episodes will premiere exclusively on NBCSports.com/OffTheIce and YouTube each week.

Previous Off the Ice episodes:
Duncan Keith
Mika Zibanejad

Off the Ice with Kathryn Tappen takes viewers away from the rink and behind the scenes with some of the NHL’s most intriguing players, as they share their personal lives and unique hobbies with NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-Winning host and sideline reporter Kathryn Tappen.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Bruins, Capitals meet for first time since blowout, Marchand-Eller

8 Comments

For a technically low-stakes game* in mid-January, Thursday’s bout between the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins brings a lot of sizzle to the table.

You’re forgiven if this might sneak up on you, but this is the first time these two teams will face off since the memorable season-opener when the Capitals bombarded the Bruins 7-0.

Naturally, this also means that this is the first time that Lars Eller can exact revenge – or, perhaps, take a foolish penalty trying to exact revenge – on Brad Marchand, who memorably went after Eller after the Dane rubbed him the wrong way with a goal celebration during the blowout.

The Bruins might (secretly) hope that Marchand can get the Capitals off their games, which is plausible with Eller holding that grudge, and also considering that Tom Wilson was unavailable during that opener thanks to his suspension. Boston might want that distraction when you realize that the Capitals have dominated the Bruins for quite some time, even beyond that 7-0 drubbing.

As NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty notes, the Bruins are trying to brush off the fact that they want to break Washington’s 13-game winning streak against the B’s.

“It’s more about that this team has had our number for the last number of years, and we need to get over that hurdle,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We’ve got to get over the hurdle. They’re the Stanley Cup champions, and if you want to be the best then you’ve got to beat the best. I know it’s a long season, but we’re playing good hockey and I’d like to think our guys are going to be confident going into the game. Not thinking about what happened opening night or over the years, but still have a bit of an ‘Enough is enough’ type of attitude as well. You just don’t want to overthink and go ‘Here we go again’ if the first 10 minutes don’t go your way.”

That’s the thing when it comes to Eller and Marchand, and the potential mistakes that can come from score-settling. While the Bruins and Capitals are comfortably placed in playoff position, there are carrots dangling for both teams. Washington can strengthen its grip over the top spot in the Metro. Meanwhile, the Bruins are only two points behind the Maple Leafs for the second Atlantic seed (though Toronto has a game in hand), yet the Sabres are only two points behind Boston for the third spot (with both teams at 43 games played).

This is more than just a chance for the Bruins to finally clear the obstacle that is the Capitals. They also can give a glimpse of what they’re capable of as a healthier team, something they’ve already done by rattling off five consecutive wins.

Rather than going after Marchand, the Capitals have a chance to instead hurt the Bruins on the scoreboard — once again.

Not bad for the “dog days” of the NHL season, right?

* – After all, both teams would make the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs began right now, and they’re comfortably positioned to stay that way.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Marchand imitates Sissons’ reaction after high-sticking penalty (Video)

Twitter
17 Comments

Who knew Brad Marchand could act?

After Saturday night’s performance in the first period against the Nashville Predators, the Boston Bruins star might be getting a call from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Known for slick goals, questionable hits and even a lick or two every now and then, Marchand pulled another rabbit out of the hat after taking a high-sticking call against Predators forward Colton Sissons.

Marchand was hardly pleased after what appeared to be a phantom call and as he was getting ushered off the ice, decided to do his best Sissons impression.

Three times.

It was pretty funny.

Marchand’s best Hollywood moves netted him a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute unsportsmanlike misconduct penalty on top of the two-minute call for getting his stick up a little too high.

And the Oscar goes too…

His thank-you speech should be interesting.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck