Four Things Gary Bettman Decision Revealed About Brad Marchand Appeal

Marchand is out until Thursday

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Feb 18, 2022

The NHL on Friday — via the release of a 13-page document — announced the six-game suspension Brad Marchand currently is serving would not be cut short, despite the Bruins winger’s appeal.

In the document, commissioner Gary Bettman laid out his reasoning for upholding the suspension, which ranged from Marchand’s lengthy disciplinary history to the fact that his run-in with Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry — in which Marchand was called for roughing and high-sticking — came with seconds left in what was a 4-2 loss for Boston.

While it’s not the result Bruins fans — or likely the team itself — wanted, considering the Bruins have gone 1-2-1 in four games Marchand already has served, the lengthy document did reveal some interesting details about the appeal process.

Here are four things we learned about what went down Wednesday, when Marchand made his appeal.

The who, where and when
The hearing took place in person at the league offices in New York City. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was in attendance, as was Marchand, his agent Wade Arnott and several NHL Players Association and league representatives.

The appeal began at 3 p.m. and ended at 5:15 p.m.

Marchand acknowledged he was wrong
In several instances, Bettman uses direct quotes from Marchand to acknowledge his side of the situation. In explaining that there was “no evidence of provocation” from Jarry that would have incited a reaction from Marchand, save for Jarry saying “How about that (expletive) save?”, Bettman wrote:

“Mr. Marchand himself admitted as much, testifying that Mr. Jarry’s comment was ‘nothing really out of line or derogatory in any kind of way.’ Mr. Marchand also admits that he overreacted, stating: ‘my emotions got the best of me and I made a poor decision.'”

Marchand didn’t mince words about his behavior. According to the decision, he said his conduct was “stupid.”

Sweeney thought Marchand was wrong, too
In a footnote, Bettman, citing the transcript of the appeal, pointed to direct quotes from Sweeney:

“Mr. Sweeney aptly characterized the conduct as an ‘immature move’ that was ‘completely unnecessary.'”

The quote was used to defend Bettman’s opinion that the incident “was far from a ‘hockey play.'”

The NHLPA tried to get the suspension reduced to a maximum of four games
In its defense, the NHLPA suggested a maximum penalty of four games and even took Marchand’s disciplinary history into account in that argument. The defense pointed to two 2019 incidents: one in which Milan Lucic was suspended two games for punching Kole Sherwood, and another in which Joe Thornton was not suspended for punching Petr Mrazek.

The NHLPA suggested a one-game punishment for Marchand’s punch on Jarry, since it is in the middle of those two incidents. Then, they relented another game for the high-sticking call, then doubled the proposed suspension in light of Marchand’s history.

Bettman rejected the proposal because he did not think the incidents were comparable, nor was Marchand’s disciplinary history.

“There simply is no player who has a disciplinary history comparable to Mr. Marchand’s,” Bettman wrote.

Marchand can file another appeal through an independent arbitrator, but as of now he will not rejoin the Bruins until Thursday when they travel to face the Seattle Kraken.

Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand
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