Unfortunately, it’s as much a part of the game as hits to the head, hits from behind and goalie collisions — all no-no’s but all a product of what happens when you ask professional athletes to go 110 percent at all times in the world’s fastest, most physical game.
But when Brad Marchand pulled the old dipsy-doo in the corner on Matt Niskanen during the Bruins’ win on Monday night in Pittsburgh, he pulled off a rare feat that many slew-footers avoid.
He “answered the bell,” as Andy Brickley likes to say.
No, I do not condone ye olde slew. I hate it — it’s cheap and dangerous and anyone that does it probably deserves more than two minutes in the slammer. While trying to persuade anyone outside of Boston to appreciate anything Marchand does, hockey fans have to give a stick tap to the little guy for basically saying: “Sorry bro … wanna punch me in the face?”
Sure, Marchand likely called Niskanen bad things and told him that he left his purse behind the net, but regardless of what Marchand said, it’s what he did that should be appreciated. The fact that he offered the (much larger) Penguin a chance to fight should put a smile on my fellow old school hockey fans’ mugs. That’s hockey.
A classy move that follows an unclassy act like slew-footing is missing in today’s snaky game. Gone are the days where it was your duty to stick for pugilistic ramifications after pulling a dirty move. Nowadays, a slew-footer is usually complaining to the ref or knocking on the penalty box door begging to get inside for a cold drink and shelter. A quick breather, praying the two minutes will be just long enough for the opponent to forget it ever happened.
Or, Marchand was probably just looking to rope the Penguin into a penalty. Either way, I applaud his decision to answer the bell.
You be the judge: