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Marchand Back in Merlot

The second year left wing looks to simplify his game

Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 10:49 AM / Features
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Marchand Back in Merlot
BOSTON, MA -- Over the past two seasons, center Gregory Campbell and winger Shawn Thornton have seen quite a few players cycle through their "Merlot" line and move up the B's depth chart.

Thornton & Marchand
Spunky sophomore forward Brad Marchand, who earned 28-27-55 totals during the regular season, was just one of those players who has seen time on the B's grind line and then found himself in a top-six spot.

"Just playing with two great players builds your confidence," was Campbell's joking answer to why players had been given a jump start when they've played on his line.

However, Campbell snapped back into his usual mode, got serious and said, "A lot of times if you’re struggling to score or struggling in any area of your game anyone will tell you go back to basics and keep it simple.

"That’s what Thorty and I always do," he explained. "We try to play high energy and be physical.

"Tn playoff hockey, physicality is key and sometimes the best recipe for a change for some offense is to keep it simple," he said.

Yesterday, and after registering eight shots and a 0-0-0 line through the first four games of the playoffs, Marchand again found a wine-colored jersey in his locker room stall before practice in the TD Garden.

"They’ve been switching up a bit lately; in playoffs it’s never out of the question to see lineup changes," said Marchand of the switch. "You just got to go with it, it’s a short series and you have to be at your best every game and if it’s not working you have to shake things up and that’s all that’s happening."

However, should the B's lines remain the same when the puck drops this afternoon, the B's left wing, who had found success for much of the 2011-12 season playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, would be in a comfortable situation.

"Yeah you know we’ve played together for a while [during 2010-11], but at this level it’s your job to be prepared to play with anyone and things happen and lines change and you have to be prepared to play with anyone," said Marchand.  "So, it doesn’t matter who you’re with you have to play the same way."

But of late, Marchand's game hasn't been the same and the switch could be take some pressure off the second year forward and give him the ability to more clearly focus on the strengths of his game.

Clearly, it could also be seen as a message.

"Yeah a little bit, but it’s up to me to respond," said Marchand. "I’ve played with Soupy and Thorty last year and we played really well together and hopefully we can bring that intensity. 

"We were pretty offensive last year too so hopefully we can bring that as well."

And hopefully for Boston, the straight line game of the Merlot can put Marchand, who was 11-8-19 in 25 games last spring, back on track to playoff success.

"That’s what I got to do - get back to just competing and working hard and the rest of the game will come," said Marchand.

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