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Marchand gets brutally honest about Bennett hit

May 16, 2024, 10:47 PM ET [9 Comments]
Ty Anderson
Boston Bruins Blogger •Bruins Feature Columnist • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Bruins captain Brad Marchand wasn’t going to throw himself a pity party over the Sam Bennett punch that knocked him out of Game 3, as well as Games 4 and 5, of Boston’s second-round series with the Panthers.

After all, Marchand himself knows that the party wouldn’t have been well attended.

“I think he got away with a shot, but I’m not going to complain,” Marchand admitted following Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “I mean, shit happens. And that’s part of [hockey], and especially playoff hockey. You know, I’ve been on on the other side of a lot of plays and I think he got away with one, but I mean, that’s part of the game and definitely part of playoff hockey.

“Yeah, it sucks to be on the other side of it, but that stuff happens. So I’m not going to sit here and complain about it, that’s part of the game. And yeah, I think he got away with one. But it is what it is.”

Despite the fact that there was no fine or suspension for Bennett from the NHL Department of Player Safety, the Bruins have made no bones about their feelings on the incident. B’s coach Jim Montgomery said that there was a clear ‘load-up’ from Bennett’s right hand on the collision with Marchand, and alluded to the fact that the Bruins had their angles that proved as much.

But Marchand knows that the Panthers were simply following a not-so-secret formula to postseason success that extends far beyond Florida, and extends far beyond just this year’s postseason.

“People don’t want to say it, but part of playoffs is trying to hurt every player on the other team,” Marchand acknowledged. “The more guys you take out, the more advantage your team has. And people don’t say that, but that’s just a fact of the game. Every time you step on the ice, someone’s trying to hurt someone. That’s just how it goes in playoffs. And any time you can get an advantage on a team, it’s gonna help your team win. And that’s part of the benefit of having a physical group, and that’s why you see teams go the distance with big D corps and physical teams, and it’s why you rarely see teams that are small and skilled go far because they get hurt. That’s part of it.”

Marchand did note that maybe things would’ve gone differently had the angle that came out just before Game 4 had come out earlier, but Marchand clearly didn’t want to take anything away from Bennett as a player, especially knowing that it’s a style that he himself has played and will continue to play.

“He’s a competitor,” Marchand said of Bennett. “Like the guys on that team, they compete hard and they play that way. I mean, that’s the way you want your guys to play in the playoffs. And that’s the way that teams win usually play. And that’s how we’ve been playing. We play hard. And you know when that happens, guys get caught sometimes and sometimes guys get hurt. Again, I’m not going to complain about it. It is what it is. And that’s playoff hockey. That’s what makes winning a Cup so hard to do.

“That’s what makes it so gratifying, is you got to play through situations like this and you got to be able to go through the adversity. You know, we went through it the year we won and with [Nathan Horton] going down and other guys getting hurt and you come out of it and it’s it’s how you respond as a team and how you bounce back from this stuff. But that’s playoff hockey.”

Marchand himself has admitted that it’s a style of play that allowed him to break through in Boston, and as a champion as a pest-turned-sniper for the 2011 team, and seemingly knows that suddenly becoming someone who is against this style of play would make him hockey’s greatest hypocrite.

“And yeah maybe people don’t like it, but it’s not soccer. It’s not basketball. It’s the hardest trophy to win,” Marchand said of that take-no-prisoners style that he found himself on the wrong side of this time around. “When you’re playing, you’re willing to sacrifice your body and want to hurt other guys and do whatever it takes to win. And, if you don’t like it, don’t play in the playoffs. But it’s the best time of the year. And if I have to get hurt to win, if I have to hurt someone to win, I don’t care. That’s part of it.

“I’m not going to complain, because if I’m him, I’m doing the same thing, you know? So I’m not going to complain. That’s the game. And that’s how you win."
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