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Features

Getting to Know #63

The Many Modes of Marchand

Tuesday, 11.10.2009 / 3:40 PM / Features
By Dyan LeBourdais  - Intern | BostonBruins.com
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Getting to Know #63
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Boston, MA -- Rookie Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand’s favorite food might be steak and potatoes, but he’s definitely not a simple meat and potatoes kind of guy.

There are many layers to the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born Marchand, both on-and-off the ice.

“It’s pretty good,” chuckled teammate Johnny Boychuck, with a knowing grin, as he was asked about playing with Marchand.

“He’s like a little buzz saw, like Jack [Edwards] said on TV,” added Boychuk. “He just goes as hard as possible and tries to hit everybody.

“And Brad’s the same way down [in Providence] as he is up here.

“He scores a lot of goals for us down there and he just gives everything every day,” he said.

Marchand played in 79 of the P-Bruins games during the 2008-09 season and recorded 18-41-59 totals and a +13 ranking. He also played in 16 playoff games last season and scored a team best seven goals and added eight assists for Providence.

This year, Marchand started the year in Providence, but was called up to play in the NHL on October 21st.

“He’s a hardnosed in your face kind of guy,” said forward Trent Whitfield, who has played alongside Marchand in both Boston and Providence. “He likes to do a lot of talking and getting under your skin. But he’s a guy who’s got some real skill [and] he likes that agitating role.”

But there’s more to him than being an agitator.

“He’s a guy that’s obviously quick, he can move,” said Matt Hunwick, another of Marchand’s teammates who has played alongside Brad in the AHL and NHL. “He’s pretty shifty and has a good shot.

“I think so far we’ve used him a number of roles from the first line to the fourth line so he’s versatile in the way that he can play,” Hunwick continued. “He’s a feisty player.”

So far, that feistiness hasn’t resulted in a ton of NHL points, but the young forward did earn one assist in his NHL debut versus the Nashville Predators.

“I think to get that first goal I have to keep that energy up; I have to keep driving the net hard. If I do that I’ll eventually get it,” said Marchand. “I’m getting a lot of opportunities, but I’m missing open nets left, right and center.

“[But] it’s going to come,” Marchand said confidently.

There’s reason for Marchand to be confident. The young wing has seen time on Boston’s power play and penalty kill units and has played along such NHL stalwarts as Patrice Bergeron and Michael Ryder.

“[He] gained a lot of experience and was able to get a lot of ice time [in Providence],” said Hunwick of Marchand’s ability to contribute. “That’s one of the biggest things for young players who are just becoming pro.

“Sometimes you just want to be in the American League and just get a lot of ice time, playing the power play, penalty kill and working on those aspects of your game.

“This year [Marchand] has come up and done a nice job on the penalty kill and that’s something that can be really useful for our team and obviously benefits him and gives him more ice time,” said Hunwick.

Another Bruins rookie, goalie Tuukka Rask, has had a unique vantage point to watch Marchand improve firsthand, both in Rhode Island and Boston.

And beyond his view from the goal line, Rask understands the pressures that a first year NHLer must face.

“I guess when you come up [to the NHL] you got to learn that every mistake may cost a goal,” said Rask. “It’s not like that out in Providence.

“If you do mistakes down there you might not end up getting scored on but if you do those mistakes here, it’s going to come back to you.

“That’s something that he’s learned, to play within the system and really minimize risk and mistakes,” said the goalie.

Making the jump up to the big leagues is never easy, but Marchand has worked through his way.

“I think he’s been a little more timid up here,” said Whitfield, a veteran professional of over a dozen years, of the difference between Brad’s NHL game and his game in the AHL.

“But I think [he’s] starting to feel a little more comfortable in his role,” he said. “It just comes with time.”

A little bit of experience can help, too. Versus Buffalo Marchand racked up 14-minutes in penalties.

"I felt one of the penalties called on him was probably from reputation," said a patient-sounding Claude Julien on the morning before B’s game with Pittsburgh. "The referee who called it was one that had him in junior hockey.

"I really felt that sometimes there’s a reputation that follows you and…one of those penalties I felt was really based on that.

"But again, as I told him, you can get under a player’s skin and be smart about it but the one thing you don’t want to go is get under the referees’ skins."

Whitfield echoed those sentiments in his comments.

“[When] you come in and it’s your first time in the NHL, you know you want to make a good impression,” Whitfield explained. “You don’t want to get too carried away and kind of make a name for yourself before you start getting too crazy out there.

“But I think he’s starting to fall into his role here now and last game he was in guys’ faces more than he has been and I think he is more effective when he gets that way.”

And everyone knows that Bruins fans don’t mind a player who gets into the opponent’s face now and then. Right?

Media Relations Intern Brandon McNelis contributed to this report.

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