Bruins forward Brad Marchand had his phone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan early Monday afternoon in regards to his clip on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. After a lengthy waiting period, the Bruins were informed that Marchand will be suspended for five games.
Marchand has developed a reputation as a player who plays right along that line without crossing over. After Saturday's loss to Vancouver, he may have crossed that line. He will lose over $152,000 in game checks from the absence.
The hit took place with around one minute left in the second period. Marchand and Salo had been jousting and shoving each other earlier in the shift. As the puck was wrapped around the boards, both players skated after it and Marchand went low with a clip. A five minute major and a game misconduct was issued. The Canucks went on to score two goals during the five minute power play en route to their 4-3 victory over the B's.
As far as the hit is concerned, it was a horrible hit. There was no need for him to go after Salo's legs the way he did. Some would argue that the two players were getting into it earlier in the shift and Marchand thought Salo was going to come head hunting for him. However, if you watch the replay you will notice that Salo had his eyes directly on the puck, not Marchand. Salo allegedly received a concussion on the play.
Should he have been suspended for the hit? Absolutely. Is five games too much? Possibly. Shanahan took into account that Marchand is a repeat offender. Earlier this season, he was fined $2,500 for slew-footing Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen. He was also suspended two games last season for elbowing Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger.
Since it was a phone hearing, the suspension could not have exceeded five games anyway.
No one should pay attention to what the Vancouver staff and players are saying about Marchand because they are a bunch of hypocrites. But the kid has to learn. If a player from another team clipped a member of the Bruins, we all would be outraged. It is not right for someone to throw a hit like that no matter what team they play for.
The Bruins have to put this behind them. In fact, they are probably the only team that can do that due to their great depth. Boston will be back in action Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets. Marchand is eligible to return from his suspension on January 19th when the B's play the New Jersey Devils.