Bruins Captain Brad Marchand Discusses Dirty Secret of NHL Playoffs

Marchand said intentionally hurting players is part of the game in hockey's postseason

Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand.
Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand will likely be getting a call from the NHL.
Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty

The most-suspended player in the history of the National Hockey League (28 games, $1,419,568.33 in forfeited salary), 15-year veteran Brad Marchand certainly knows about skating the line (and crossing it) of what’s legal in the NHL. The Boston Bruins captain, who has taken the ice in more than 150 postseason games and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in hockey’s second season, also knows what it takes to compete in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Speaking to reporters this week ahead of his return to the ice after being sidelined for two games by a disputed hit to the head he took from Panthers forward Sam Bennett, the 36-year-old shared some of his knowledge about the NHL playoffs — and the league cannot be too happy about what he had to say.

After first saying Bennett “got away with one” with a blindside punch to the head that was not penalized and did not result in a fine, Marchand admitted the play was just part of the game in the NHL postseason because players are intentionally trying to hurt each other to gain a competitive advantage.

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“People don’t want to say it, but part of playoffs is trying to hurt every player on the other team,” Marchand acknowledged. “The more guys you take out, the more advantage your team has. And people don’t say that, but that’s just a fact of the game. Every time you step on the ice, someone’s trying to hurt someone. That’s just how it goes in playoffs. And any time you can get an advantage on a team, it’s gonna help your team win. And that’s part of the benefit of having a physical group and that’s why you see teams go the distance with big D corps and physical teams and it’s why you rarely see teams that are small and skilled go far because they get hurt. That’s part of it.”

Marchand would know. But the higher-ups at the NHL, who have been working hard to eliminate fighting and headshots from the game and must cringe to see a hit like Bennett’s (but not penalize or fine him for it), can’t be pleased about hearing him say it.

Hopefully that displeasure doesn’t influence the refereeing in Florida’s favor tonight as Marchand and the Bruins are going to need all the help they can get as they try to even their series with the Panthers at three games apiece. If the Bruins can do it, Game 7 will be Sunday, a game Boston lost to the Panthers last year.

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