If you want proof that history repeats itself, watch the guy wearing No. 63 for the Bruins.
If there are two things Brad Marchand is known for on the ice, it’s pestering opponents and scoring. Yet amidst all the pestering and scoring, he’s bound to cross the fine line he skates so dangerously close along each game. He’ll do something dumb and he’ll get punished, one way or another. Then, he'll make up for it with a big performance.
Whether it’s being suspended by the league for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head last season, being benched by Claude Julien for taking an ill-advised roughing penalty in the offensive zone last month, or being fined for slew-footing Matt Niskanen last week, Marchand is no stranger to both committing the crime and doing the proverbial time.
On Tuesday, Julien had no problem voicing his displeasure with Marchand’s actions, saying he deserved Monday's $2,500 fine for the slew-foot, and that he had told Marchand he didn’t want his players pulling the dangerous stunt.
“When it happened, I addressed it right after the period,” Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “You know, there’s certain things that we all can deal with, with certain players and what they do but slew-footing is certainly not something that I like to see, whether it’s for or against us. If he’s going to be doing that, then he’s going to get fined. He’s deserving of it and he has to own up to his mistakes, and he’s done a good job of doing that.
Marchand’s also done a good job of responding to his mistakes and subsequent punishments. As he did when he followed his late-second-period benching on Nov. 15 with a goal six seconds into the third period, Marchand showed up big-time on the stat sheet. Tuesday saw the forward give a two-goal effort on the same day that Julien said he wanted him to be a “good brat” rather than a “bad brat.”
“It is a very fine line and there's going to be times when you cross it and times when you don't,” Marhchand said. “I know when I do. I know there's consequences and I've dealt with getting benched plenty of times throughout my career. It's nothing new. The big thing is you have to respond and make sure you learn from it. That's what I'm trying to do.”
HAMILL FRONT AND CENTER
You can call it organization depth, or you can call it an eighth overall pick doing far less than the team would have hoped, but the Bruins have to be taking a glass-half-full approach to the way Zach Hamill’s been able to contribute despite limited NHL chances.
The latest case was Tuesday night, as Hamill was recalled to fill in on the fourth line for the injured Gregory Campbell. On his second shift of the night, Hamill threaded the needle to Rich Peverley in front of Jonathan Quick’s net to create an easy goal in which the gasps were caused more by the pass than the tally itself.
“Right on my tape,” Peverley said of the pass from Hamill. Great pass by Ham. I just tried to go back door, the guy kind of had me and I just tried to beat him to the net. [Hamill] threaded the needle there.”
Now 23, Hamill obviously has not panned out as a top-10 selection in the 2007 draft. After three seasons in the AHL, he was called out by Providence coach Bruce Cassidy at rookie development camp this summer as being a player had been passed on the ladder by younger players, and that he needed to show that he could be an NHL player.
Cassidy suggested the team could “think outside the box” and move him from center to wing, and that’s what the team did. Hamill began the season at wing, got off to a strong start, and when Rich Peverley was hurt last month, the B’s were able to recall him and plug him in as a third-line winger. The results were good, as he assisted a Jordan Caron goal and got to stick in the lineup for the next game.
Said Julien: “We’ve been playing [him at] wing this year because we feel he’s got a better chance of cracking our lineup down the road playing on the wing, and we’re pretty deep at center. That’s something that he’s adjusted well [to], and when he came up as a winger this year it certainly didn’t take away from his playmaking ability.
“We needed a center-man and from what I was told he was the best candidate to come in here and help us out. They obviously made the right choice because he certainly made a great pass on that goal and it’s something we haven’t done in a long time, is score the first goal. He allowed us to play with the lead tonight.”
Moving back to center didn’t seem to be an issue for the Vancouver native Tuesday. He made the most of his 9:48 of ice time and was part of a scoring opportunity that yielded a power play for the B’s.
Hamill now has two assists in three NHL games this season, and four assists in seven career NHL games. He plays on the penalty kill in Providence and feels that he has become a more complete player. Whether that means an every day NHL player remains to be seen, but it’s also very unlikely to be seen here. At any rate, Hamill thinks he’s been able to show the Bruins that he can handle the different things they’ve thrown at him.
“It's hard to say [whether I’d be in the NHL with a different team],” Hamill said. ”Just coming up here, the last time I was called up here, I was called upon to play third-line wing, and that's what I did. This time, I was called upon to play fourth-line center. That's what I did. Whenever they need me or wherever they need me, I'm willing to go to.”