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Brad Marchand brings his case to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman

Brad Marchand has been suspended twice this season.Winslow Townson/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and linemate Brad Marchand returned to practice Wednesday, joining their teammates in a high-paced workout at the indoor Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers here along the edge of the Hudson River.

Bergeron, recovered from a laceration on the back of his scalp sustained last Tuesday, will be back in the lineup for Thursday night’s game vs. the Islanders at the sparkling new UBS Arena in Elmont.

Marchand is hoping to be in the lineup, too, but that depends on the outcome of his appeal/hearing Wednesday afternoon before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the league’s midtown Manhattan headquarters.


Marchand, tagged with a six-game suspension last week for his couple of swipes at Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry, was hoping that Bettman would trim term off his sentence, perhaps to time served (three games), thus making him eligible for the game on Long Island.

The chances of such a bold reduction by Bettman? Probably thinner than that single strand of tape that Bobby Orr was known to wrap around his stickblade. Which, in part, is why coach Bruce Cassidy left the workout planning to have Bergeron centering Taylor Hall (LW) and David Pastrnak (RW) against the Islanders.

Will Gary Bettman smile favorably on Brad Marchand and his situation?John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

True, anything may be possible, but Marchand’s most recent league-imposed sendoff was the eighth of his career, and his second of the season. Now with 28 games on his rap sheet, he has made it easy for the league’s disciplinary hierarchy just to say no.

All of which points to the Li’l Ball o’Hate having to wait until next Thursday’s game in Seattle to get back to doing what he really does best: firing pucks, collecting points … all the while doing what he can to keep Bad Brad stuffed in the equipment bag.

“I think Marshy understands he might have gone a little bit too far that way,” said Bergeron, when presented the hypothetical of what he might have said in defense of his close pal if invited to the hearing. “I guess the heat of the moment got the best of him.


“That being said, I don’t think it deserves a six-game suspension. Even on the other side, I don’t think they thought it deserved a six-game suspension.”

Patrice Bergeron is shown at practice Wednesday at Sky Rink in New York.Kevin Paul Dupont

Bergeron possibly got that read on the Penguins’ sentiments from star center Sidney Crosby, long one of Bergeron’s pals and a Team Canada teammate. Marchand and Sid the Kid also have worn the Canada’s Maple Leaf in some international play.

“I understand he’s got a history of this and all that,” added Bergeron, “and maybe he does deserve a suspension, and it is suspendable because of that.

“But that being said, I don’t think it’s a six-game suspension. That would be my argument. If you look around the league, I don’t think the same type of plays have had that stiff of a punishment.”

From a splash to a dip

The Bruins mounted an impressive 10-2-0 surge the first three weeks of January, but they’ve had a popgun offense now for a month.

Factoring in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers Tuesday night, they have been outscored, 41-24, the last 12 games, a stretch in which they did not score more than three goals in a game.

The loss to the Rangers also was only the third time this season that the Bruins carried a lead into the third and failed to pocket the win (18-1-2).


The recent absences of Marchand and Bergeron are part of the reason behind the scoring dip, along with a power play that has been relatively quiet. By Cassidy’s eye, the offensive chances off the rush have been sparse, and scoring from secondary sources (read: players other than Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak) has dropped.

Bruce Cassidy's team needs some scoring punch.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

“Pucks were going in more,” said Cassidy, using the 7-3 win at Washington Jan. 10 as an example. “We get seven, and we’re connecting on the rush; now the rush chances aren’t going in as much as they were then.”

As for the secondary scorers, Cassidy acknowledged that “it’s dried up a little bit for those guys. Jake [DeBrusk] and Smitty [Craig Smith] and the D corps in general. We’re not getting as much from those guys, the secondary scorers.”

Over the 12 games, in which the Bruins went 5-5-2, Charlie McAvoy (two goals) was the lone defenseman to score. The backliners need to shoot more, ideally activate more when chances present themselves once over the offensive blue line.

Pastrnak (8) and Charlie Coyle (3) were the only forwards to score more than twice in the last 12 games. In his nine games prior to getting suspended, Marchand scored only once. Ditto for Bergeron in his nine games before getting injured.

The Bruins have been blanked on the power play the last three games, placed on the advantage only seven times in that span.

Time to heal

Bergeron said he did not sustain a concussion in his fall last week. The medical staff felt he needed a week, he explained, for the laceration on the back of his head to heal and for swelling to abate.


“I thought I was fine until I saw the cut,” he said. “I felt good. I think it’s one of those things, you hit your head and you always ask yourself questions — because I have been through it before — and everything felt fine.”

Bergeron explained, too, that he thought he was closer to the boards at the time of his fall. Had he been closer, he noted, the brunt of the collision would have been absorbed more by his upper body rather than back of his head.

Ullmark gets the call

Linus Ullmark will be back in the Bruins net vs. the Islanders, his first duty since getting scorched for a half-dozen in last Thursday’s teamwide no-show vs. the Hurricanes. Cassidy said he’ll decide on Saturday’s starter in Ottawa after seeing the results vs. the Islanders … Urho Vaakanainen could draw back into the defensive six-pack Thursday, noted Cassidy, which would point to Connor Clifton or Mike Reilly getting a night off … Bergeron’s return will mean one forward will have to move to the sidelines. Erik Haula will pivot a line with two of the following three wingers: DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, and Jack Studnicka … Following the game Saturday night in Ottawa, the Bruins will return for their final home game of the month, Monday’s matinee vs. the Avalanche.


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at