Bruins notes: Brad Marchand calls latest punishment from NHL ‘a joke’
Opponents haven’t been able to stop Bruins forward Brad Marchand from cashing in lately.
The left wing has nine points (five goals, four assists) in the past four games, including the game-winning goal in each of the Bruins’ past three victories that extended their winning streak to five games heading into their matinee against Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at TD Garden.
But the NHL on Friday found a way to make Marchand pay up.
Marchand was fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64, which is “designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties.”
Marchand received a warning, which doesn’t cause a fine, after the Bruins’ Nov. 29 game against Tampa Bay. He earned the fine for an incident against Pittsburgh on March 1, when Olli Maatta was called for tripping and Marchand received an offsetting minor for embellishment. Every future infraction comes with a fine increased by $1,000 more than the prior one
Although he’d been warned months ago, Marchand said he never gave it a second thought and he wasn’t fazed by the financial penalty.
“It’s very small and minor. It’s the last thing that I’m going to worry about, even this,” he said after practice Friday at the Garden. “I don’t care about this. It’s a joke but it’s a small amount of money and pretty stupid, but it is what it is.”
“It’s very easy to dictate someone out there saying you fall a certain way,” he continued. “How are they to tell how a guy’s on you, how they’re balanced on a certain area of the ice and when sticks are between your feet and you’re being pushed in different angles. They forget how to play the game pretty quickly. They go from being players to management and running the league very quickly and forget what it’s like to play. But that’s the way it is.”
Marchand has 67 points (29 goals, 38 assists) in 52 games, and he’s fourth in the league at 1.29 points per game. Earlier this season he earned his sixth suspension of his career when he received a five-game ban for elbowing Washington’s Marcus Johansson in the head.
After a player or team accumulates four fines for embellishment, the coach gets hit with a $2,000 fine, which increases by $1,000 for each subsequent violation. So coach Bruce Cassidy has a personal stake in Marchand avoiding further discipline.
“Kids need to go to college, so I will have a chat with him, to be honest with you,” Cassidy said.
“You want him to be Brad Marchand and how he’s gotten this far. We’re just trying to temperate it in certain situations. … Hopefully moving forward he understands the league’s watching him.”
Windy City rematch
The Bruins acquired forward Tommy Wingels from the Blackhawks on Feb. 26 for a conditional draft pick in 2019. Less than two weeks later he gets to face his former teammates in a home-and-home, with the Bruins visiting Chicago on Sunday.
“It’ll be a lot of fun,” said Wingels, a native of Evanston, Ill. “A great group of guys there, I enjoyed my time there very, very much. It was a huge, huge honor being from Chicago, playing for the Blackhawks. I can’t say that enough how much I enjoyed the experience, it meant so much to me to be able to play in front of friends and family on a nightly basis. That being said, it’s in the past now. … Hopefully Sunday we’ll be talking about the Bruins getting four points.”
Wingels has been used in several different positions while picking up a goal and two assists in four games for the Bruins.
Cassidy said after Tuukka Rask made 31 saves in the Bruins’ 3-2 win against Philadelphia on Thursday that the biggest test would be how the goaltender felt the morning after making his first start in three games. Rask had missed two games because of a lower-body injury. He practiced Friday and Cassidy deemed Rask ready to start on Saturday, which will make Anton Khudobin the scheduled starter at United Center on Sunday.
“Good to see him back and healthy and ready to roll,” Cassidy said about Rask.