Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended by the NHL for two games for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin in the first period of Tuesday’s 4-0 win over the Lightning. The NHL announced the suspension Thursday morning.
This one looks like it hurt.
With under a minute remaining in the first period, Marchand speared Dotchin right between the legs (Ouch!). Dotchin dropped to the ice, and was down for a while, understandably so. Marchand went to the penalty box, but was taken out and given a major penalty and game misconduct for the incident.
Video courtesy of Sportsnet Canada:
According to director of player safety Patrick Burke, Marchands history of suspensions and the intent of the play led to the suspension. Quote from the Boston Herald:
“The intent, the amount of force used, and Marchand’s substantial history of attacking the lower body of unsuspecting opponents. This is not accidental or inadvertent contact,” noted Patrick Burke, director of player safety. Burke added, “Marchand drives his stick both up and into Dotchin, with substantial force.”
The Bruins have already clinched a playoff spot, but are in a heated battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators for seeding. With only two games remaining for the Bruins, they will be without Marchand until the playoffs. Bruins alternate captain and Marchand’s penalty kill partner Patrice Bergeron seemed confident during Wednesday’s morning skate, before the announcement, that the Bruins can be fine without Marchand.
Bergeron’s comments via NBCSPORTS.com:
“If [we lose Marchand], it’s about doing what we did [against Tampa] with everybody stepping up,” said Bergeron, who showed good chemistry with Dominic Moore on the penalty kill and during 5-on-5 play at points in Marchand’s absence. “I thought everybody did a good job of stepping up and staying positive, and doing our jobs. That’s how we have to approach it.”
Marchand is having the best season of his career so far, scoring career highs in both points (85) and goals (39). Marchand now has two straight 35+ goal seasons, solidifying his spot as one of the NHL’s elite scorers.