WILMINGTON — The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended Brad Marchand for two games Friday for a slew-foot of Derick Brassard in Thursday night’s game against the Rangers.
The suspension came down after Marchand had a Friday afternoon phone hearing with the league. The phone hearing meant that the Bruins forward could be suspended for no more than five games.
According to the Department of Player Safety’s video regarding the incident, which occurred at 14:30 of the second period, “When a player simultaneously kicks out the skates of an opponent from behind while yanking his upper body backward and down to the ice, the risk of serious injury to the defenseless opponent is heightened significantly and the offense can merit supplemental discipline.
“In this case, Marchand both kicks out Brassard’s skates and drives him backward to the ice with force. What makes this play even more dangerous is its proximity to the boards.
“By rendering his opponent defenseless in this way at this point on the ice, Marchand risks not only an injury to Brassard from his crash to the ice but also from a collision with the boards.”
The fact that Brassard was not injured on the play, which did not draw an on-ice penalty, factored into the decision.
After the game, Brassard said, “You go to the corner with them and you go shoulder to shoulder, but he brings his leg in the back and I felt like I had a slew-foot there.
“I don’t want to find any excuses about it, I don’t want to be a crybaby or anything, but it could’ve been dangerous and it could be a game-changer. It could’ve been a five-on-three and probably could be back in the game, but the referees said it was a clean hit, I guess.
“The way I fell on the ice I maybe could’ve missed the rest of the season if I hurt my knee there.
“Marchand’s a pretty good player. He’s feisty, competes hard, but those kind of things, we don’t want that in our game.”
This is not the first time Marchand has faced discipline for slew-footing, which affected the Department of Player Safety’s decision. He was fined $2,500 for a slew-foot of Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen in December of 2011.
He also has been suspended by the league twice before, for five games for clipping Sami Salo of the Canucks in January of 2012 and for two games for elbowing R.J. Umberger of the Blue Jackets in March of 2011.
Marchand was not made available to the media Friday, though he is expected to speak before Saturday’s game. Coach Claude Julien declined comment on the hit Friday.
The left wing will forfeit $48,387.10 during his suspension, which goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Rangers’ Chris Kreider will face no additional discipline for his boarding of Carl Soderberg, which led to Chris Kelly fighting Kreider. That hit was judged similar to Kreider’s hit on Jonas Brodin of the Wild in October. Kreider did not face additional discipline for that play, though he was ejected from that game after the hit with a game misconduct.
During Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, the Bruins had Daniel Paille in a gold jersey alongside Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Reilly Smith. That indicates that Paille will be Marchand’s replacement on left wing on that line for two games — Saturday at home against Columbus and Tuesday in Dallas. Marchand will be eligible to return Wednesday in Colorado, the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break.
It will not be the first time that Julien has used Paille on a line with Bergeron. Julien played Paille and Milan Lucic alongside Bergeron for a couple of games starting last week in Pittsburgh, and the pairing seemed to rejuvenate both Paille and Lucic as the team started on its current winning streak.
With Lucic back with David Krejci and David Pastrnak, the Bruins should still have two effective top lines now that Paille has rediscovered some of his skating ability. That would leave Jordan Caron on the fourth line in Paille’s place, skating with Gregory Campbell and Craig Cunningham.