Brad Marchand has been suspended for five games for his hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo during Saturday's emotional Stanley Cup rematch at TD Garden. But was that the right call by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan?
Marchand delivered the hit in question late in the second period of Vancouver's 4-3 win. Salo trailed the Bruins winger into the corner, at which point Marchand looked over his shoulder and saw the Canucks blueliner heading toward him. Marchand then upended Salo, resulting in a clipping penalty, a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Canucks general manager Mike Gillis called the hit "a dirty play by a dirty player," and said Salo suffered a concussion as a result. It marked the latest instance of the Bruins and Canucks getting physical, as not only did the two teams battle for seven games last June, but the first period of Sunday's showdown was filled with a great deal of emotion.
Marchand said on Sunday that he didn't mean to injure Salo, and that he was instead just trying to protect himself in the corner against a bigger player.
"We had a meeting with [Brendan] Shanahan [earlier this season] and he told us the call on the referee has no impact on a suspension," Marchand said. "I read the rulebook [Saturday] night, and it said if a guy's hurt on a play when a guy goes underneath a guy, it's a five-minute major. It was the right call. He was hurt and I was ejected from the game."
Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault, like Gillis, wasn't shy about sharing his thoughts on Marchand's playing style.
"Some day, he's going to get it," Vigneault told the Vancouver Province. "Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will."
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien were quick to come to Marchand's defense, but it did nothing to minimize the damage, as the Bruins winger will be forced to sit out five games for the B's.
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