Brad Marchand and NHL referees aren’t exactly the best of pals.
Marchand, who’s been no stranger to crossing the line over the course of his career, is a consistent recipient of highly questionable calls, in all likelihood due to his reputation.
A shining example of this trend surfaced Friday night in the second period of the Boston Bruins-Dallas Stars matchup at American Airlines Center. With just over seven minutes remaining in the frame, Marchand quite literally tapped Ben Bishop on the pads, which led to a bit of acting from the Stars netminder. Bishop’s theatrics helped send Marchand to the penalty box for a slashing infraction.
Marchand understandably was miffed by the call, but he allowed his frustration to get the best of him. Upon entering the box, the star winger put a white towel on his stick and waved it, effectively asking for mercy from the officials. The refs clearly weren’t fans of Marchand’s stunt, tacking on a 10-minute misconduct.
The Bruins ultimately fell 1-0 in overtime, but aside from being disappointed with the result, head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t thrilled with how Marchand was treated.
“I think a linesman called him for 10 minutes. I don’t know, I wouldn’t be surprised if the video review guys in Toronto nailed him for a 10 one of these days,” Cassidy said, as seen on NESN’s Bruins postgame coverage. “I mean, it’s unbelievable that a linesman called him on kind of a very iffy thing to begin with. But he’s got to have better discipline and I think they have to show him more respect.”
Marchand is in a tough spot. It’s no secret that he has a short leash with referees, but his edge is part of what makes him a great player. There’s no doubt the Bruins and Marchand himself can do without some of his antics, but asking him to be a saint on the ice wouldn’t be of much benefit to the player or the team.
Marchand has earned the respect of everyone on the ice, including officials. He’s a perennial All-Star candidate whose game stretches far beyond being a pest. But at this stage in the game, it’s hard to imagine Marchand ever getting the benefit of the doubt from refs.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Bruins-Stars game:
— With the Bruins’ blue line decimated with injuries, a pair of young defensemen made their NHL debuts. Jakub Zboril logged one shot on goal and three hits over 10:53 of ice time, while Connor Clifton racked up four hits and a blocked shot over 18:53 on the ice. Clifton also went toe-to-toe with 16-year veteran Jason Spezza to earn his first career fighting major.
“When you dream it up I don’t expect to have nine penalty minutes in my first game,” Clifton said. “Obviously emotions were high. I don’t really know what happened, ended up getting in a scrap.”
— Tuukka Rask made his first start between the pipes since Nov. 5 following his brief leave of absence. The veteran netminder was sensational, denying 36 of Dallas’ 37 shots.
— Bruins fans’ stomachs likely dropped when Patrice Bergeron went down in the second period. The veteran center was on the wrong end of a brutal hit from Radek Faksa and laid on the ice for a moment before making his way back to the locker room. Bergeron returned to the ice later in the period, but he appeared to be favoring his shoulder on the bench.
— The Bruins were 0-for-2 on the power play.
— Boston concluded its regular-season meetings with Dallas. Both contests went into overtime, with the Bruins winning the other matchup, and only featured four goals combined.