Brad Marchand brushed off his All-Star snub. He was left off the list when teams were announced Thursday night despite being the NHL’s ninth-leading scorer and arguably the Bruins best player this season.
But he was unfazed — save for missing out on a trip to Las Vegas in February.
“I’m not bothered at all,” Marchand said. “It’s a nice event to go to, you know — I mean, some years. Depends, I guess, on where it is, but Vegas is obviously a good spot.”
Instead of dwelling on the missed opportunity to go to his third All-Star Game, Marchand focused on the accomplishment of his linemate and captain Patrice Bergeron, who was chosen to represent the Bruins. Bergeron will make his third All-Star appearance and his first since 2016.
With 11 goals and 17 assists through 33 games plus his persistently stellar defense, Bergeron’s credentials are solidified.
“He’s been our best player for, whatever it’s been, 18 years now,” Marchand said. “He’s the best two-way player in the league and he’s the backbone to our team. So I’m not surprised at all that he’s there. He deserves to be and he’s earned that right and I’m very happy for him.”
For his part, Marchand has been on a tear, scoring eight goals to go with three assists over his past five games. In 29 games season, Marchand has a 19-22―41 line.
Marchand chose not to use his three-game suspension in November as a reason for being overlooked by the NHL’s hockey operations department in its selection process. Instead, he chalked up the decision to a process that must have a player from each team..
“That’s how it goes when the league format is the way it is,” Marchand said. “There’s guys that probably deserve or could be there. You look at [Nazem] Kadri, I don’t think he’s on the list and he’s, what, third or fourth in league scoring.
“So that’s how it goes when they have the system the way it is when they need to incorporate every team.”
Competition in net
Tuukka Rask’s presence was more than welcome in the locker room as he made his return Thursday night, giving the Bruins a stabilizing presence in net in a 3-2 win over the Flyers.
As Rask gets reacclimated and with Jeremy Swayman sent to AHL Providence, coach Bruce Cassidy will split goaltending duties between Rask and Linus Ullmark. While Rask has respect and seniority, Cassidy said healthy competition is a good thing.
“Wanting-to-push-your-teammate competition, not wishing him bad fortune or poor play,” Cassidy said. “I think in this situation, we’ve got two goalies that have typically been No. 1′s. Swayman was in that mix vying to be a No. 1.
“But now it’s those two that have been around. So we will probably give them each the net a fair amount going forward and then over time it’ll sort itself out.”
Looking ahead to how it might play out in the postseason, Cassidy said results will matter.
“Right now, they’re both, we feel, very good goaltenders,” Cassisdy said. “Obviously Tuukka’s [played] one game, but we know his previous history and [Ullmark’s] really gained some traction here in the last little while, as his résumé said it would.”
Forbort ready to return
Derek Forbort skated with the team Friday and is out of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Cassidy expects him to be able to play Saturday against the Predators. Forbort and Connor Clifton have missed the past three games after testing positive. Clifton could come out of protocol tomorrow, but with a 1 p.m. start, it wouldn’t be feasible for him to suit up … Trent Frederic, who suffered an upper-body injury Monday after a hit by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, was at Warrior Ice Arena for the optional practice but will not be available for Saturday’s game … Nick Foligno, who suffered a left leg injury last week against Tampa Bay, skated on his own during practice.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.