BUFFALO — It has not been the easiest season for Brad Marchand. The winger has struggled to produce, with five goals and nine assists in 34 games entering Thursday’s game, and has had multiple incidents of questionable judgment in the last week, with his antics in Vancouver and a boarding penalty against the Flames.
In the wake of Marchand mimicking kissing his Stanley Cup ring and then mimicking raising the Cup and kissing it during a loss to the Canucks last Saturday, his coach and general manager expressed disappointment in him.
But that doesn’t mean GM Peter Chiarelli wants him gone.
“Let me be clear on Marchy,” Chiarelli said here Thursday. “I saw some of the aftermath yesterday from my comments. I’m not trading Marchy. He’s a good player. I like the way he plays.
“He’ll figure it out, but when one guy struggles, the other guys unfortunately piggyback on those struggles. You need three guys really going. I don’t care what guys say about pairs, you need three guys going and contributing. That’s happening a little bit. But, as I said yesterday, he’s finding his way.”
And Marchand seemed to respond — though he said after the game he had not heard the comments — with both goals in the Bruins’ 4-2 loss to the Sabres.
Chiarelli had said on Wednesday about the Vancouver incidents, “I talked to Brad and that’s all I’ll say. I wasn’t happy with it, but he understands.”
And coach Claude Julien had said after Saturday’s game, “That’s definitely not something that we will accept in our organization.”
Chiarelli did say he’s seen some encouraging signs from Marchand’s play.
“He’s skating better,” Chiarelli said. “He’s driving deeper when he’s rushing with the puck. I see him making plays, like he pulls up a little sooner when he doesn’t have the confidence. So, he’s skating better.
“I’ve seen him beat guys one-on-one and I’ve seen him making plays on both sides, the right side and the left side. He’s not giving away as many pucks. The biggest thing for me is he’s skating better. I know he’s bobbled some pucks still, but he’s getting shots off and he’s making some plays.”
That showed on Thursday.
Marchand did address the penalty for boarding Sean Monahan in Tuesday’s game against the Flames. It came on a hit that initially caused some to believe Marchand could be subject to supplemental discipline, though he said that thought never crossed his mind.
“Things happen quick in the game,” said Marchand. “I kind of thought he was going to turn last second, the way his body was positioned. It’s not like I plowed him through the boards. He got up, he was fine, and I think it was the right call.
“You don’t need to be suspending guys for every single hit. You’re going to take any kind of physicality out of the game. That’s not what they want to do.
“They’re doing the right job by taking dangerous hits out. I mean, that guy was fine, we moved on. I got a penalty and I served it. Bygones be bygones.”
David Warsofsky debuts
Defenseman David Warsofsky made his NHL debut Thursday, the Marshfield native getting a chance to play for his hometown team after three seasons in the organization.
Warsofsky, who finished minus-1 in 12:29 of ice time, was recalled from Providence on Wednesday, swapped for Kevan Miller.
“At first I was a little nervous and kind of scared to do what I wanted to do, but after that I thought I started skating and moving the puck well,” Warsofsky said.
His parents are making the trip from Boston, and all three of his brothers managed to make it. That includes his brother, Ryan, who wasn’t sure he’d be able to come up from his job as assistant coach of the Bruins-affiliated South Carolina Stingrays, who play Friday.
The 23-year-old Warsofsky is undersized, which changes the dynamic a bit on the blue line. He’s 5 feet 9 inches, 170 pounds, a far cry from the 6-2, 210-pound Miller.
Sabres enforcer John Scott, who gave Loui Eriksson a concussion on Oct. 23, earning a seven-game suspension, said he texted Eriksson after that game. “I felt obviously bad about the hit, that he was hurt, so I got his number from a guy on my team and texted him,” said Scott, who indicated Eriksson texted him back. Scott was a healthy scratch Thursday night . . . The Sabres acquired left wing Linus Omark from the Oilers for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft . . . Shawn Thornton was on the ice at the First Niagara Center for the morning skate. He then traveled to New York for his appeal hearing Friday morning with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman . . . Julien was still under the weather, so Chiarelli addressed the media after the morning skate. “He’s still got a cold and a bit of the flu,” Chiarelli said. Asked if the team got flu shots, Chiarelli said, “Some of us did, some of us didn’t. Our own choice. I didn’t. I’m not sick . . . yet.”
Matt Fraser throws down
Matt Fraser had his first NHL fight, at 3:37 of the first period, taking on Marcus Foligno. There was no prior bad blood between the two. “I’m not looking for a fight, but I think anything to help stay in the lineup or help get the momentum going our way, I’m definitely willing to do that,” Fraser said. “I mean, I don’t want to be known as a one-dimensional player. Those top-six guys, they can do it all. You look at [Milan Lucic], he can literally do it all. That’s something that you kind of strive towards.” Added Fraser of Foligno, “He wasn’t super tough or anything like that. I didn’t want to get beat up my first NHL fight.” . . . Lucic declined to fight Buffalo’s Mike Weber, who dropped his gloves at 15:37 of the first period. Lucic didn’t drop his. But both players were called for roughing, with Weber also going off for holding, although the Sabres scored a shorthanded goal. “[Lucic] doesn’t have to fight every time,” Julien said. “That’s what we’ve told him before. Everybody knows he’s tough, but he’s a top-line player and we want him on the ice more than we need him in the penalty box. I thought he did what he had to do.”