By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Sometimes, Brad Marchand crosses the line. Other times, he doesn’t. Yet in those times when he doesn’t cross the line, his history of actually crossing the line tends to color a whole lot of people’s opinions on what he did or did not do.
The latest case for Marchand came Tuesday night in Columbus, when he delivered a heavy hit on Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke. With Peeke pinching down along the wall in the Bruins’ zone, Marchand lined him up for a body check against the boards. The resulting collision was heavy-duty.
Brad Marchand with a big hit that injures Andrew Peeke pic.twitter.com/C99yaQJVGo
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) April 4, 2022
The Blue Jackets were incensed by the hit, both because it left Peeke down on the ice and because it immediately led to a breakaway goal for Boston.
Jakub Voracek earned a 10-minute misconduct penalty for harassing the officials after the goal, and the temperature of the evening was significantly raised from that point forward. That was evident when Oliver Bjorkstrand finished a hit on Patrice Bergeron a little late at the end of the first period, leading to a response from Bergeron and matching roughing minors for both players after the horn sounded.
It was also evident later in the second period, when Marchand halfheartedly pursued a puck that was covered up by Elvis Merzlikins before a tremendous scrum broke out behind the Columbus net. Peeke — who recovered from the first-period hit and returned for the second — delivered a gloved punch to Marchand just before Jake DeBrusk entered the frame and took out Peeke and Cole Sillinger in one fell swoop.
DeBrusk with the 2-for-1 special. (Ref penalizing Marchand for this doesn’t say much for refs.) pic.twitter.com/RUPd3O4Yol
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) April 5, 2022
Peeke was rightfully penalized for roughing. Marchand was penalized for roughing, despite his role as a bystander. And DeBrusk wasn’t penalized for his role as a bowling ball.
Peeke was penalized again in the third period for roughing, after pushing Marchand to the ice with a shove to the face.
Taylor Hall was also on the receiving end of a Vladislav Gavrikov high-stick to the face, which left Hall bloodied in the middle period.
That doesn’t look very fun pic.twitter.com/IXYm7Bl052
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) April 5, 2022
The Bruins ended up winning the game with an overtime goal from DeBrusk.
As tends to happen with any big hit in the NHL these days, the discourse on this particular moment of contact lasted through the night. As always happens when Marchand is involved, it included a wide array of colorful language and strong feelings.
Ultimately, though, Marchand’s hit was within the rules, and played a major role in Boston generating a quick scoring chance. The Department of Player Safety does have Marchand’s number on speed dial, but he’s unlikely to receive any call on this one.