On Wednesday Boston Bruins agitator Brad Marchand surprised a great many hockey fans when he appeared to have a sudden and abrupt change of heart when it comes to his antics on the ice during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As just about everyone remotely interested in hockey knows by now Marchand made national headlines during the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup Playoffs for two very bizarre incidents in which he crossed the line with opposing players. The first such incident occurred during the very first game of the playoffs for the Boston Bruins, Game 1 of their first round match up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In that particular incident Marchand claims that he was being continuously harassed by Toronto Maple Leafs veteran forward Leo Komarov both during and after the play on the ice. Marchand said that Komarov really seemed like he wanted to keep getting close to him and in response he gave Komarov a big fat lick on the side of his face. It was a move that grossed out many a hockey fan but Komarov himself didn't seem too bothered about it after the game, likely something that helped Marchand get away with it.
The behavior did not repeat itself again during the first round but it popped up again in the second round when the Boston Bruins faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this time it caused a much greater furor. In Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning Marchand gave Tampa Bay Lightning veteran Ryan Callahan a lick very similar to the one that he gave Komarov earlier on in the playoffs, but this one was considerably more disgusting. Marchand's tongue appeared to go into Callahan's nose and mouth and needless to say that is a very unappealing prospect for a great many of us. To be fair to Marchand here though this was again clearly provoked by an opposing player getting in his face repeatedly.
Callahan, unlike Komarov, was very upset after the game and he called on the National Hockey League to step in and curtail this behavior from Marchand moving forward, something they did in fact do. The NHL reportedly warned the Bruins to keep a leash on Marchand and his behavior and although it's hard to tell given the fact that the ruins were quickly eliminated following that warning, the behavior did not occur again after the fact.
On Wednesday Marchand seemingly went a step further when he owned up to his mistakes and vowed not to repeat his actions again with a simple but rather poignant statement.
"I've got to cut that (expletive) out," said the notorious Boston Bruins' agitator.
Many viewed this as a serious apology from Marchand but as it turns out it may not have come from Marchand himself at all. Bruins insider Jimmy Murphy is reporting that an NHL source has informed him that this came down directly from Bruins ownership.
"Boston Bruins from owner down to team leaders made it clear to forward Brad Marchand he needs to play his game but with team standards of excellence, and they believe he can and will meet those because they know the person he is. Message sent and received. Moving on."
Marchand's act of contrition may have been one that was forced upon him.