A No. 63 banner perched alongside other Causeway Street royalty in the TD Garden rafters wouldn’t surprise most Bruins fans in the not-too-distant future.
But what about an embossed plaque in Toronto?
No, Brad Marchand isn’t exactly a cherished figure in that market.
But ahead of the pugnacious winger’s 1,000th career game on Tuesday night against the Lightning, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery didn’t mince words when asked about his captain’s candidacy for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“I do, yeah,” Montgomery said, noting the veteran forward has held court as one of hockey’s top two-way talents throughout his 30s.
“The offensive production every year — points every year, dominant player,” Montgomery said. “You had to be aware of him. Just a dominant player, impacted every game.”
Those post-whistle antics and a lengthy rap sheet penned by NHL disciplinarians usually stand at the forefront of any discourse regarding Marchand’s legacy — at least outside of New England.
For some, the optics of Marchand using Daniel Sedin’s face as a speedbag in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final or licking Ryan Callahan in the 2018 playoffs stand as succinct summary of Marchand’s career — rather than his evolution from fourth-line pest to top-line stalwart.
But that growth isn’t lost on Bruins fans who have seen Marchand weave himself into the team’s fabric, nor is it taken for granted by several of his longtime teammates.
“I think it takes a special player to play 1,000 games, no matter who you are,” Jake DeBrusk said. “And I think his road, as we all know, is obviously different than other guys that probably have played 1,000 games. I think everyone’s got different journeys, but his is probably one of the most impressive, I would say.”
While Marchand is still in search of another Stanley Cup before he hangs up his skates, his résumé already warrants praise.
Along with his role in Boston’s 2011 Cup triumph, Marchand ranks fifth overall in Bruins franchise history with 910 points. He’s tied with longtime teammates Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for second place in franchise history in postseason scoring (128 points) — a deadlock he should remedy in April.
He’s tied for ninth overall in NHL history with 35 shorthanded goals, while also boasting two World Junior Championship gold medals, an IIHF World Championship win, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title, and a victory with Canada in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Along with getting the only NHL franchise he’s ever played for over the hump once again, Marchand still has his sights set on representing Team Canada in the upcoming 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
But what about a Hall of Fame nod?
“I think that’s the ultimate recognition that a player can get is to be in the Hall of Fame,” Marchand acknowledged. “It is achievable? I don’t know. I see the amount of time I feel like I can still play.”
As appealing as the prospect of getting enshrined as hockey immortality might be for Marchand, it’s a forward-thinking exercise the 35-year forward tries to avoid.
His journey with the Bruins has remained uphill since he first cut his teeth as a bottom-six scrapper. But that path has been carved through a prevailing mindset focused on keeping oneself grounded — and in perpetual fear of reaching the mountaintop.
“It’s very easy to get complacent in this game and it’s very easy to get comfortable,” Marchand said. “And it’s probably one of my biggest fears in this game . . . You never know when your last day is going to come in this league. And I feel like when you start looking at things you’ve accomplished, you might start thinking it gets easier. As you get older, it only gets harder.
“You need to put more time in and dedicate more effort. You only have a certain amount of time to play this game and every day that I’m in it, I’m gonna leave it all out there and try to get better.”
Bracing for the Bolts
Montgomery and the Bruins were far from pleased with the effort offered up Saturday in a 3-0 loss to the Capitals that felt like a double-digit beatdown.
A subsequent video review left Montgomery with a blunt assessment.
“No one did anything,” he said. “We were slow. We were just slow everywhere. Transition to offense, transition to defense. We just didn’t make things happen.”
With a talented Tampa Bay roster making the trek up to Boston on Tuesday, Montgomery opted to shuffle up his lines during Monday’s practice in search of a spark.
David Pastrnak shifted up to the top line next to Marchand and Charlie Coyle, while Pavel Zacha centered a top-six duo of DeBrusk and Trent Frederic.
Anthony Richard was bumped up to the third line and skated with James van Riemsdyk and Morgan Geekie, while Kevin Shattenkirk did not practice due to illness.
Conor Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.