This story was originally published on CLNSMedia.com
The most complete line in the NHL was minus a key component Thursday night in Ottawa as Brad Marchand served the first game of his five-game suspension forcing Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and the Bruins to make do without their leading scorer. The Bruins thankfully found a way to win, beating the Senators 3-2, but earlier in the day Marchand was extremely contrite that he couldn’t be on the ice with them for the final game before the all star break and the four after it.
“The last thing I want to do is anything to hurt the team,” Marchand told the media. “That’s obviously what I’ve done here. It wasn’t what I was trying to do. We have a great team. They’re going to battle hard and do everything can to win the games. I’ll be rooting them on. I put my team at a disadvantage again. I feel very bad about it.”
Marchand was suspended Wednesday for elbowing Devils forward Marcus Johansson in the head late in the third period of Boston’s 3-2 win over New Jersey Tuesday night.
Given Marchand’s rap sheet for suspensions and fines (five suspensions for 14 games), many in the NHL felt he was lucky not to get an in-person hearing, enabling the NHL Department Of Player Safety to suspend him for six or more games, but the D.P.S. made sure they gave him the max five permitted in a phone hearing.
On Thursday, Marchand said he understood and that while he feels he has cleaned up his game, obviously he’s still not where he needs to be for him, his teammates and fellow NHLers like Johansson.
“I’ve been trying to play a certain way for a while now. It was never my intent to get into a situation like this and to injure Marcus,” said Marchand. “Hopefully [Johansson has a full, healthy recovery very quickly. I’m just sorry that I let my teammates down. I know that. And I let my organization down, so I have to be better.”