Brad Marchand’s reputation precedes him.
So even though the Boston Bruins winger has toned down his antagonistic antics this season, there still are plenty of players across the NHL who view Marchand as a pesky pain in the you-know-what.
Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele has a very different opinion of Marchand, though, having played with him on Team Canada at the 2016 world championship.
“For sure he’s misunderstood,” Scheifele recently told ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan. “If you just watch him on TV, you don’t get the full respect, because you see some antic that he does. But if you watch a full game of Brad Marchand, you see some pretty special plays.”
Marchand is an elite talent, racking up a career-high 100 points this season after back-to-back campaigns in which he totaled 85 apiece. Still, not everyone appreciates his all-around game, perhaps thanks to the number of feathers he’s ruffled throughout his NHL career.
Scheifele, however, is very impressed by Marchand’s evolution. Marchand, who turns 31 next month, hasn’t just matured in terms of his behavior. He’s also worked hard to hone his craft, making him far more than just a goal scorer who occasionally ticks off opponents.
“Everyone sees he has great hands, a great shot, great vision, but what a lot of people don’t see about his game is how well he takes pucks off the boards, how good he is in traffic, how good he is getting on the right side of guys, taking contact on the right side of them so he can get to the offensive side of it,” Scheifele told Kaplan. “He understands how to take that contact, and use it to his advantage. That’s something he does better than probably anyone in the league other than (Sidney) Crosby.”
Marchand recently was voted the best and worst trash talker in the league by his NHL peers, so he hasn’t completely shed the “agitator” label in his 10th NHL season. But regardless of the widespread perception that persists, he’s an amazing player still developing and still pushing to remain among hockey’s best.