The Boston Bruins need Brad Marchand.
Let me make that perfectly clear, before you accuse me of trying to run him out of town. That, I am not.
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The Bruins need Marchand. So I will not even listen to a conversation about a potential trade. I don’t care what you have coming back in return. He’s untouchable. You can’t have him. Marchand is not going anywhere.
But he needs to stop licking people on the ice.
Before you blow a gasket, I should stress that I’m not calling for a suspension or even a penalty during a game if it happens again. I’m just simply calling for it to, well, not happen again.
I’m not the only one. The NHL spoke to Marchand and the Bruins during their second-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning last week, after Marchand licked Ryan Callahan as if Callahan’s nose was a popsicle.
To be honest, it’s crazy that I even have to pussyfoot around this subject, in an attempt to convince people in Boston that licking somebody on the ice during a hockey game is ridiculous.
Can you imagine if Yanni Gourde dragged his tongue up Patrice Bergeron’s schnoz? Everyone in this town would want Gourde kicked out of the league. He’d have to delete his twitter. Crown him our newest villain. We’d hate his guts and call him a little weasel.
But it wasn’t Gourde, or anyone on Tampa Bay who was doing the licking. It was Marchand, who had a team-high 85 points in the regular season and had the second-most goals on the Bruins with 34.
I realize it sounds like I’m taking time out from yelling at cars for driving down my street too fast when I say this, but whatever, it’s true: the Bruins need Marchand to do less licking and more scoring. I also realize that the two things aren’t necessarily connected. He could lick faces and quite possibly score goals all in the same game, I guess, if he really wanted to.
But every time I type “lick,” it feels ridiculous. Like, what the heck are we talking about again?
I’m amazed at how many knowledgable hockey fans in Boston are upset that the NHL wanted to talk to Marchand about it, or that the Bruins might also not be too pleased to see it. These fans don’t think it should even be a topic of discussion.
Well, the only reason people are talking about it is because he did it. And it’s stupid.
Having asked a few NHL players about it over the last week, I get a sense that they feel the same way. It’s stupid. They don’t want to answer questions about it. They don’t want to have to talk about it at all. But that’s because they don’t want him doing it. They think it’s stupid.
If Marchand was on another team doing it to the Bruins, we’d be calling for his head and tweeting about how licking somebody’s face after a whistle has no place in the game. And we’d be right. It doesn’t.
The Bruins met with the media one last time on Wednesday, just three days after being eliminated by the Lightning in five games. Marchand said, “I’ve got to cut that [bleep] out.”
Yes, he does. And I’m willing to bet that somebody in the Bruins’ dressing room told him the same damn thing.
Marchand scored just one goal in the second round. The Bruins need him to be better than that. Perhaps if he was, he’d still have a chance to put his mouth on the ultimate prize.
You want to get under the rest of the league’s skin? Lick the Cup.
Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” at dannypicard.com. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard.