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."
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