WILMINGTON — The hit left Brad Marchand down on the ice, with the Bruins trainer rushing out to attend to him. But after Marchand skated off under his own power and was helped into the dressing room, he missed just one shift in Saturday’s game against the Red Wings.
And on Tuesday, the Bruins winger called the hit by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader “an accident.”
“That stuff happens,” said Marchand, who was down for about a minute after the hit. “We were both going to the slot and I didn’t see him. I don’t think he saw me till the last second. If I would have seen him, I probably would have ducked or jumped. He jumped. That’s just how it goes.”
NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan tweeted, “Abdelkader/Marchand: Accident Collision.”
“They’re trying to protect everybody,” Marchand said. “They’re looking at every single little thing in the game, and I never expected anything to come out of that. I wouldn’t want anything to come out of that. It was an accident, just how it goes.”
Marchand acknowledged that the landscape on that front has changed over the last couple of years, and that he has changed with it. The league is cracking down on such hits in the name of player safety.
“After my last suspension, I definitely changed my game a bit,” Marchand said of a hit on Sami Salo in January of 2012 that cost him five games. “I don’t want to be in that situation again, but they are doing it for a good reason.
“They want to protect guys and they’re trying to allow guys to have longer careers. The last thing you want to do is see somebody ruin their career by a cheap shot or something like that, so that’s all they’re trying to do there and I respect that.”
He added, of Abdelkader, “I don’t think he intentionally tried to hurt me or anything like that.”
Not his day yet
Carl Soderberg again skated before Bruins practice Tuesday, but did not participate in the official practice. Coach Claude Julien said that getting Soderberg in a practice is the next step for the winger, who is “day to day” with the ankle injury he sustained in the final game of the preseason. “He’s getting closer to practicing with us,” Julien said. “Once he practices with us and I get the OK from our medical staff, we’ll move forward. So ‘day to day’ doesn’t mean necessarily tomorrow, but he is progressing extremely well.” With Jordan Caron playing well as the third-line left winger, the Bruins are under no pressure to rush Soderberg back.
Matt Bartkowski has been the healthy scratch in the first two games — both wins — but Julien said the Bruins are committed to getting the young defenseman into the action. They’re just not quite sure when that will be. “I’ll be very honest with you guys, he’s not going to sit up there for a month,” Julien said. “That’s not going to happen. We’ve got some good young players that need to play, especially early in the year. You’ve got to give those guys opportunities to play. So when that’s going to happen, I’m not sure yet, but certainly don’t expect to see him in the stands for a whole month.”
Seen him before
On Thursday, the Bruins face the Avalanche and their new coach Patrick Roy, who has already caused a stir. Roy got into a shouting match with Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, going so far as to almost push over the glass partition between the benches. Marchand has already seen Roy as a coach, when he faced Roy’s Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “In junior, it was cool to look over and see a guy of his caliber behind the bench,” Marchand said. “You always kind of admired him and stuff, so it was cool. But it’ll be a little different here. In the NHL, you’ve got to be a little more professional.” Marchand conceded that he might have chirped at the coach occasionally. “I’d yell at him a little bit, just because he’s Patrick Roy,” he said. “Nothing over the top or anything like that. Just kind of ease the tension a little bit. It was fun.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.