Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports

Brad Marchand's Players' Tribune piece gives the people what they want

Sara Civian
April 19, 2018 - 2:39 pm

Brad Marchand seems to have fully embraced his role as the NHL’s villain this season.

The All-Star Game crowd booed him, so he blew kisses. The NHL announced him as Second Star for March, so he tweeted a kissy face Emoji in acknowledgement of all the chirps underneath the announcement. He actually kissed Toronto’s Leo Komarov.

These are the harmless Marchand antics, but his controversial style of play has essentially secured him a spot on the Department of Player Safety’s speed dial. It’s been the question of the season: Can he stop getting in his own way? Can an otherwise elite player cool it with the elbows to the vital organs, slew foots, and questionable hits now that he’s proved himself?

He addressed that and more in a piece for The Players’ Tribune Thursday.

“If I played the game any other way, you absolutely would not know my name,” he wrote. “You wouldn’t care enough to hate me, because I wouldn’t be in the NHL. The way I played the game got me noticed by junior teams, and it got me drafted by the Boston Bruins at 5’9”.

It might not be as easy as it looks to deliver that smirk in the face of all the hate, but the love he gets from Bruins fans helps him lean into the villain role.

“You know, sometimes people ask me what it’s like to be hated by so many other fans. It would be easy to say that it doesn’t bother me at all. But it’s complicated,” he wrote. “Obviously, you want people to be able to separate who you are on the ice versus the real person off it. But you know what? All the heat I feel from fans in Vancouver and Toronto and Montreal means nothing compared to the love I feel from Boston.”

He had high praise for his linemate Patrice Bergeron, and he admitted something anyone who watches the Bruins regularly knows: “I don’t have many rules I live by, but one of my rules is: If you say anything bad about my brother, or about Patrice Bergeron, I’ll fight you. The guy is simply unbelievable. I’ve watched him play with broken bones, a punctured lung…a freaking punctured lung.”

He finished off with a story from 2011, when the Bruins won the Cup after the Canucks took them to Game 7.

“Now, I know you’ve seen the pictures. In most of them, I am shirtless. But in my defense, I was 23 years old and I had just won the Stanley Cup. The whole week was a blur,” he wrote. “The stories are pretty legendary. Most of them can’t be shared. But the backstory to that week is that right after we won, one of my buddies told me that the Blackhawks had partied for 16 days straight when they won the Cup. So, me being competitive, it was my mission to top them...We didn’t make it to 16 days, but I’m proud of that evacuation order. We earned it.”

As for this year, he thinks the Bruins “have” what they had to win the Cup in 2011 again, but “the 16 nights in a row thing…that’s up to a whole new generation.”

 

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