The Boston Bruins had not one but two players assessed game misconducts in Saturday's very combative Stanley Cup Final rematch loss to the Vancouver Canucks. One of those -- to Milan Lucic -- was rescinded by the NHL. The other one handed to Brad Marchand for clipping has led to a hearing with the NHL.
In a game that had numerous fights, hits and dustups, Marchand's hit on Sami Salo was the worst. With the two on a colision course, Marchand elected to play his own version of the limbo and see how low he could go. He connected with Salo right around his knees, flipping Salo head over heels and hitting the ice with his head.
Take note, too, of the leadup to the hit from Marchand. You see the two players bumped into each other then Marchand threw a couple of jabs at Salo before undercutting him. It doesn't help his case in arguing that it wasn't intentional.
It is a bit interesting that in today's league where teams like the Florida Panthers are listing concussed players as being out with bruised tailbones that the Canucks wasted no time in announcing that Salo did, indeed, suffer a concussion from the hit.
Remember too that Marchand has a discipline past on his short resume already. Earlier this season he was fined for slew-footing Matt Niskanen and last season he was given two games for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the head. We've seen a few times this season how Brendan Shanahan treats repeat offenders.
We know this much, the Canucks weren't happy about it at all.
“You talk about unacceptable plays in hockey,” GM Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun, “that's clearly one. I'm not going to comment any further.”
But of course defenseman Kevin Bieksa did. He's always good for an opinion on anything involving his teammates, it seems.
“It's very, very cheap,” Bieksa said. “I can't think of a cheaper hit you can do on the ice. That and a slew-foot kind of go hand in hand. Twenty seconds before that, [Marchand] and Sami have a pretty good collision in the exact same spot. Sami probably gets the better of him. Then second time, Marchand comes back and loses his will and goes down low. A cheap shot from him, and I hope he gets a phone call from the league.”
He is. That's how his hearing will be conducted, over the phone, meaning Marchand's suspension won't exceed four games.
Even the coaches are getting into it. Here's a little back and forth between Claude Julien and Alain Vigneault from the Sun.
“If guys start protecting themselves the way Marchand did, maybe guys will stop taking runs at other guys,” Julien told reporters, “because that's the consequences – you end up paying for taking runs at other guys, too.”
Canuck coach Alain Vigneault was not amused.
"That's a stupid comment," he said Sunday. "What Marchant did, you could end a player's career doing that. I've never seen Sami Salo take a run at any player in the NHL.
"Marchand -- and this is just my feeling -- but someday he's going to get it. Someday, someone's going to say 'enough is enough' and they're going to hurt the kid because he plays to hurt players. And if the league doesn't care, somebody else will."
Marchand addressed the possible suspension on Sunday with reporters, explaining that he was protecting himself when he saw Salo coming his way.