I keep going back and forth about Brad Marchand. Is he a scum bag? Is he just an agitator? He does so many good things out on the ice, it’s a shame that he has to be so weird. I don’t understand the licking or the kissing and by that standard Brad is a loser and needs to grow up. But I remember a time when my Rangers had a similar player in Sean Avery. Maybe the best agitator of all time. Here is the thing with Avery. If he didn’t do all the things that made him a scum bag, he wouldn’t have had a career in the NHL. He had to stand out. He had to throw people off their game. That was what made him effective. I will always remember the stat of the Rangers record with Avery in the line up. They were well above .500. Their record without him? Well below. There are benefits in having a player like this on the roster. Now let’s talk about Brad Marchand.
It’s without a doubt that this guy is a great hockey player. He plays a chippy game and works his sack off to be a threat all over the ice. 34 goals and 85 points is on par with elite status in the NHL. He is a huge reason why I liked the Bruins to beat the Lightning last round. Marchand does so many good things out on the ice, but they get overshadowed with his odd antics. I think this is the downfall with players like Avery and Marchand. They make it personal. They make their play about themselves and not about the team. There is a difference in chirping to throw a player off his game or a little slash behind the play to let a guy know that your going to be all over him that night, rather than licking and kissing players after the whistle. Brad Marchand made the 2018 playoffs about himself and not about the Bruins. He was the story line and not the team. This is a huge reason why I think the B’s lost the way they did. When players make it about themselves, you don’t get the calls. You don’t get the benefit of the doubt. It causes a divide in the locker room, regardless if that was the intent or not.
With Avery, his downfall was when he brought his personal life and work life together. He made it the Sean Avery show. The NHL takes pride in having league of players that don’t make it about themselves. Keeping the egos in check and leaving the circus for the NBA, NFL, and the MLB. It’s without a doubt that the NHL casted out Avery because they saw him as a threat to the foundation of the game. Now it is time for the NHL to do the same to Marchand if these antics keep up. The kissing and licking need to stop. There is no room to that type of shit on the ice. I will fault the NHL for not nipping it in the butt the first time, but from here on out they need to set a standard and keep it. Players like Marchand and Avery can flourish in this league by playing with a big heart and big personality. They just need to play within themselves and realize that they are playing for a team, a city, a league, and not just for themselves. That’s when they lose fans like me.
With that being said. I would welcome Marchand to New York with open arms. I would get him endorsements with Chapstick, Burts Bees, or Revlon. Make it a joke and move on. There is room for characters in the NHL, but they need to know when they cross the line. Hopefully Marchand can clean up his act because when he is playing the right way, he is a bitch to play against.