FOXBORO, Mass. — Brad Marchand learned Wednesday that he would not be eligible to play in the NHL Winter Classic after the league suspended him three games for a low-bridge hit on Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
One day later, the Boston Bruins winger apologized.
“I just want to acknowledge the situation that I’ve put my team in for being undisciplined and affecting the game for them,” Marchand said Thursday morning before the Bruins took the ice for practice at Gillette Stadium. “Taking away from the excitement of the fans, being a part of this rivalry, taking that away from them. And also for affecting this game for myself and putting myself in a situation to not be part of this. So I want to apologize, and I truly am sorry to everyone about this situation. It was not my intent to make a hit or try to injure anyone on that play.”
Marchand made his Bruins debut early in the 2009-10 season, but he was sent back to the American Hockey League before the 2010 Winter Classic, which Boston won in overtime at Fenway Park. The winger expressed regret that he again will not be able to participate in the NHL’s marquee regular-season event.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Marchand, who maintained he did not intend to hit Borowiecki on the play in question. “It’s something we were all looking forward to. But I respect the decision that the league has made, and I’m going to live with it.”
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed Marchand would not appeal the suspension and commended him for owning up to his mistake.
“I think it speaks a lot for Brad to want to be out in front of this today,” Sweeney said. “He knows the impact that it’s had on the team and surely the game itself and the fans, and he asked us if he could sort of address it in front of his teammates going out to practice and getting ready for this game. And I think it speaks (to his) maturity. It says a lot as to where Brad is and the impact he has on our lineup.
“I think we can leave it at that. We respect Player Safety’s decision on the play. It’s unfortunate for Brad and our team and our fans, but we’ll leave it at that.”
The Bruins’ Winter Classic matchup with the Montreal Canadiens is set for 1 p.m. ET on New Year’s Day. Marchand, who leads Boston with 15 goals this season, will be eligible to return to the lineup Jan. 9, when the B’s visit the Senators in Ottawa.
Thumbnail photo via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports Images