The NHL didn’t buy Brad Marchand’s “duck” defense Monday. That meant Marchand could not duck a five-game suspension.
After a conference call with the Bruins forward Monday, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan concluded that Marchand’s upending clip of defenseman Sami Salo during the Bruins 4-3 loss to the Canucks on Saturday was not a defensive or evasive move.
That, coupled with Salo’s resulting head injury — and that Marchand was a repeat offender — led to the sentence of five games, starting tonight when the Bruins face Winnipeg at TD Garden.
Shanahan’s was the final say after a volley of warring words between the Bruins and Canucks.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault fired the first shot, all but placing a bounty on Marchand’s head after Bruins coach Claude Julien offered the “duck” defense after Saturday’s game.
“That’s a stupid comment,” Vigneault said. “Marchand … someday he’s going to get it. Someday, somebody’s going to say enough is enough and they’re going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players.”
Julien and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli responded forcefully Monday.
“Sometimes you got to look in your backyard,” Julien said. “We all know he’s got the same type of players on his team. It’s hypocritical and we’re stupid and we’re idiots and they’re the smartest team in the league. I guess we need to listen to all the gab they have to say.”
Said Chiarelli: “[Marchand’s] no dirtier than maybe two or three of their players. We generally try to take the high road when it comes to this stuff, but we have to respond. I’m friends with Mike [Gillis, Canucks GM] and I’m friends with Alain, but I don’t like the way that it’s come out. That’s a real inappropriate comment. It’s an unprofessional comment.”
The Bruins are playing every other night over the course of the next week, jamming in a bunch of games prior to the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 29 in Ottawa.
Winnipeg enters tonight’s game (7 p.m., NESN) as the ninth-best team in the Eastern Conference and has 45 points on the season.