Bruins forward Brad Marchand made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday, two days after receiving a five-game suspension for his low hit on Sami Salo in Saturday's loss to the Canucks. Marchand explained the reason for his hit, called out Canucks coach Alain Vigneault for his "threat" against him, and explained how Shawn Thornton made Dale Weise look foolish by stepping in when Weise actually wanted to fight Adam McQuaid.
Marchand acknowledged that many people view his hit as a dirty play.
"Yeah, you're right. But in a case like that he's still 6-foot-4, he's 220 pounds. He's got 50 pounds on me. He's a big boy coming in. I still have to protect myself," Marchand said. "Obviously, if you get punched you might want to retaliate. So, I was just trying to protect myself.
"In a situation like that there have been guys who are a lot smaller than him who have come at me, and I've done the same thing and there's been no suspension. I thought I was just trying to protect myself, and that's how it is. I was bulldozed, and I'm allowed to protect myself in that way. That's all I was doing."
Marchand said he heard Canucks coach Alain Vigneault's comments that someone will eventually "hurt the kid" if he continues to play this way, and the winger said he wants the NHL to step in.
"You don't see stuff like that very often," Marchand said. "It's a clear threat. Last time something like that happened in Vancouver we all saw what happened [Avalanche forward Steve Moore got a career-ending cheap shot from Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi in 2004] and it turned out very bad. So, hopefully the league will take care of that situation."
Marchand also revealed why Weise appeared so surprised when Thornton dropped his gloves after a faceoff. Weise backed away and refused to fight but was given a penalty anyhow.
"I'm going to clear it up for everyone who's listening," Marchand said. "It was actually a really sneaky play by Thorty. Weise was trying to fight McQuaid, who was standing behind Thornton on the point. McQuaid was going to fight him. So, Weise was yelling and saying, 'Yeah, let's go, let's go.'
"Thorty just figured that at that point he'd drop his gloves and surprise Weise. And the ref just kind of heard Weise yelling 'Let's go' and thought he was talking to Thorty and conning him into a penalty. Thorty kind of surprised him when Thorty dropped his gloves. Weise had no idea Thorty was going to do that."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On his previous conversation with NHL discipline boss Brendan Shanahan when he was told he could check a player in similar fashion: "He told me it was OK to do a hit like that if I was protecting myself, and that's what I felt I was doing in that situation. He felt otherwise, and that's why I was suspended. It's an unfortunate play. By no means did I try to injure Salo on the play. I feel really bad that I did. I was just trying to protect myself. Coming out of our conversation, I did reference the hit on [Daniel] Sedin. When I spoke to him about it a month ago, he said that protecting myself in that situation was allowed. In our hearing he brought it up and said that the two hits were different, and he felt I was the aggressor in this situation, so that's why I'm being suspended."
On if he is concerned that he is getting a reputation as a dirty player: "The only time I'm going to worry about that is in disciplinary hearings, because it adds on to a suspension. Other than that, I don't care what anyone else thinks of me. My teammates know I'm not out trying to hurt guys. My management and coaching staff know the same thing. So, I could care less how anyone else around the league or any kind of fans think about that. That's their opinion. It doesn't affect me in any way. … I don't feel I'm that kind of player. I play hard and I battle hard. that's all there is to it."
On the emotion Saturday: "There was just too much that happened last year for it to be a quiet game. … Yes, we were the ones who won the Cup last year. They were still I think pretty upset about it. There's some chippy guys on both teams. When there's the kind of emotion that was there from last year and the kind of guys we have on our team, it usually doesn't end up too well."
On the Canucks complaining after the game: "There's a lot of emotion from both teams toward each other, a lot of hatred there. Sometimes when there's that hatred, you say a lot of things and do a lot of things. I think that definitely had a lot to do with it."
On his coach and general manager standing up for him in the media: "They obviously went to bat for me. They stuck up for me there. There was a lot of things said about our team that didn't need to be said. You didn't hear anyone on our team firing comments like that at their team. I think they might have just had enough and felt like something needed to be said."
On the Canucks-Bruins rivalry: "They're a very good team. They have an ego about them, and we're the same way. We play hard and obviously, we have a pretty big ego. … Both teams have big egos and when those type of teams mix and have a battle like we did, it's going to start some flames."
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg and Chris talk a ton of NFL Draft in hour 1 of the show. They discuss what the Pats might do with their early picks and get Mike Petraglia's thoughts on the issue as well.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Xander had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to get the Red Sox on top of the Baltimore Orioles 3-2, he talked with Joe and Dave after the game about what his thought process during the at-bat was and the excitement of a walk-off.
Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk discuss Ben Affleck's attempt to hide his family's history of being slave owners in a recent documentary.
The guys talk with Christopher McDougall about his best selling book, "Born to Run," and its future adaptation into a movie.
The guys talk about the David Ortiz ejection, the poor pitching performances and everything else from an ugly weekend series against the Orioles.
Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Celtics loss in game one, and whether or not they can steal game two before returning to Boston on Thursday.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound you may have missed.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
Ben and Alex break down Leg 1 of the quarter finals of the Champions League and talk about some of the most interesting transfer rumors.