TAMPA — Jack Edwards had plenty to say about Pat Maroon in November.
On Thursday, Maroon fired back.
In a 10-minute dressing-down in the Lightning’s dressing room, the burly forward ripped into the longtime NESN broadcaster, who showed up at Maroon’s stall after the team’s morning skate at Amalie Arena.
In full view of reporters, Lightning players, and team employees, the 34-year-old Maroon told the 65-year-old Edwards how little he appreciated his comments about Maroon’s weight.
It is the first time the Bruins have visited Tampa since Edwards, during a Nov. 29 Bruins-Lightning game, gave an extended commentary about Maroon that praised him, but also included a crack about the 6-foot-3-inch, 238-pound winger consuming too much pizza.
Edwards mostly stood and took it without interjection. The length and intensity of the one-sided conversation had the attention of most everyone in the room. At one point, Maroon sarcastically asked Edwards if he’d like to see him step on a scale.
“I’m just watching to make sure Patty doesn’t rip his head off,” said Lightning defenseman Ian Cole, standing a few stalls away.
In a conversation with the Globe afterward, Edwards said he long ago learned that “if you [tick] a player off, you have to go to them personally, the first chance you see, and stand in front of their locker stall and let them wear you out.”
In his long on-air partnership with color commentator Andy Brickley, Edwards said, they have praised big-bodied players like Maroon for playing the hardest kind of hockey.
“Bruins fans got it,” Edwards said. “They’ve been listening to me and Brick for 18 years. We pay tribute to Tim Kerr about 10 times a season, because I’ll be darned if he can get out of bed within 10 minutes of getting awake in the morning. He paid the price for every single goal, times 10. He got beaten up. He used his big body. That was in the overall context of that ongoing conversation that has gone on for well more than a decade.”
Edwards was disappointed that the part where he poked fun at Maroon’s weight was clipped and shared so widely. He said the social media brushfire was like “dropping a match in California in early September.”
Bruins forward Taylor Hall, who played with Maroon in Edmonton and New Jersey, said the rest of Edwards’s televised comments were benign.
“He maybe went over the line a bit, but he’s in the entertainment business,” Hall said. “It’s a hard job, because there’s no take-backs. You’re in the moment the whole time. Once you start saying something, you kind of have to finish it.
“I’m glad they talked. I’m sure Jack had an apology for him, because it’s not the first time Jack’s gone over the line. It’s always best to chat it out.”
It’s unfortunate to see a social media frenzy, Hall said, from “people that take other quotes from other people and write their own articles. The people that actually come and ask you the questions, it doesn’t really matter what they write because that’s actually their opinion, they were there watching and they were there interviewing.”
Edwards, who also had a less-animated talk with Lightning coach Jon Cooper after the morning skate, said he reached out to the Lightning’s PR department the day after his comments and gave them numerous ways to reach him. He did not receive a response from Maroon at the time. The forward opted to make a $2,000 donation in Edwards’s name to a Tampa Bay community organization.
“I made it clear that I respect Pat Maroon for being a three-time Stanley Cup champion,” Edwards said. “I respect every single player who has ever pulled on a sweater and played in an NHL game, because these are, in my mind, the best athletes in the world.
“Yes, it was teasing. But I didn’t mean for it to be mean-spirited. I made that clear to Pat. I think he accepted that. Coop is a reasonable guy. We left it with a handshake and a smile.”
Hall on the right side
Jim Montgomery’s latest lineup shuffle had Hall lining up as No. 1 right wing.
The left-shooting Hall, who had been riding the third line in a balanced forward group, is the latest to fill the slot vacated by Jake DeBrusk (hand and leg injuries), who could return after the All-Star break.
Hall noted he has played right wing before, mostly during in-game switches, or situations where his coach dressed 11 forwards and he had to double-shift. Taking a ride with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron was no concern.
“It’s not really a big deal,” Hall said. “In our system, Freddy [Trent Frederic] and I end up on different sides all the time, and we’re both lefties.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Marchy on the power play, and I played a lot with Bergy last year when Marchy was suspended and hurt.
“I’m not going to overthink it. I’m just going to go play, hunt pucks. I think their line plays to my strengths, north-south, hunting pucks, being a puck hound. So I’m excited.”
Marchand, too, expected a smooth transition.
“It’s about reading off each other when we come back into the zone,” he said. “He might just tend to drift to the left a little bit, and if he does, I’ll cover his spot.”
Hall had a quiet night, landing one shot and taking a penalty in 17:24 of ice time in the Bruins’ 3-2 loss.
Craig Smith slotted in as the No. 3 right wing, Frederic moving to the left side of Charlie Coyle … Linus Ullmark got the start in net, making 32 saves, putting Jeremy Swayman in line to start Saturday against the Panthers. Ullmark remained atop the league in all major categories: 25-3-1 record, 1.86 goals-against average, .937 save percentage … Faceoffs were an issue for the Bruins, who have had a tough time lately. They won 48 percent of their drops (30 of 63), going 5 for 19 in the second period … Bergeron won an uncharacteristic 39 percent (11 of 28) … Maroon doled out four hits and took a penalty in 10:21.
Matt Porter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.