Seemingly out of nowhere, Brad Marchand smashed his stick on the bench. As he walked to the Bruins’ dressing room, he chucked the butt end down the hall.
What had him so mad?
A concussion spotter pulled Marchand, tied for second in the NHL in goals (18), off the ice after his first shift in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-2 overtime win over the Rangers at TD Garden Friday. The Bruins were irritated that league officials didn’t make the move earlier — specifically after Marchand skated away dazed after taking an errant Jacob Trouba elbow to the face with 27 seconds left in the second period.
“That’s embarrassing,” Marchand grumbled, speaking with a gravelly throat. “I mean, they had 30 minutes, 20 minutes to sit there and review the tape and call that in, but they made me come out in a 2-1 game as we’re starting to get momentum.
“To do that . . . guys up there are busy eating pizza and cheeseburgers and can’t watch the game, so, maybe next time pull his head out of his butt and watch the game.”
Did he receive any explanation?
“No,” Marchand said. “Guy’s sleeping out there.”
On Friday night, Brad Marchand apologized on his Twitter account.
My emotions got the best of me after today’s game. I didn’t want to miss any shifts with us being down 2 to 1. I know the spotters are there to help us and I shouldn’t have take my frustrations out on them.— Brad Marchand (@Bmarch63) November 30, 2019
Last season, the NHL installed an off-ice official in every rink to watch for potential head injuries and remove players from play as necessary.
Marchand showed immediate symptoms of a head injury after he took the Trouba elbow. He skated away from the corner with his head bowed, blinking his eyes. But he was on the bench for the start of the third period, and hopped the boards in the first minute to battle in the offensive zone. After an icing, a concussion spotter pulled him at 18:24, leading to the unfortunate end of one of Marchand’s Warrior sticks.
Coach Bruce Cassidy, clearly irritated after a game in which his team took six penalties, paused for a moment to collect his thoughts when addressing the Marchand situation.
“This game’s on NBC,” he began. “He gets hit at the end of the second period, and they pull him at the start of the third. To me, we’re trying to market our best players. I thought it was fairly evident when he got hit, and they decided to do it at the start of the third. I don’t know why they wouldn’t do it between periods. There’s an 18-minute intermission.
“I didn’t like the timing of it at all.”
Marchand, whom Cassidy said “checked out fine,” does not have a concussion history. He missed about 10 minutes of game action while being checked out, including David Pastrnak’s tying goal 4:27 into the third. When Marchand returned, he didn’t want to get off the ice; his first shift back lasted 2:34.
He said he could hear the TD Garden crowd erupt for Pastrnak’s goal.
“So that was nice,” Marchand said. “It was a good feeling, but you want to be out there with the guys. Not sitting in the back room when you shouldn’t be.”
Officially ticked off
The Bruins also didn’t leave happy with the on-ice officiating team, led by referees Wes McCauley and Chris Rooney.
“I’ll just get myself in trouble,” Cassidy said, when asked if the Rangers’ six power plays were a product of the Bruins’ lack of discipline.
Cassidy was annoyed with one call in particular. With the game tied at 2, at 12:58 of the third, the Bruins had to stave off a double-minor to Par Lindholm, whose high-sticking call on Brendan Smith wasn’t initially whistled on the ice. Rangers forward Boo Nieves lifted Lindholm’s stick into Smith, who left for the dressing room, holding his face, without being checked out by officials. Officials conferred before sending Lindholm to the box.
“That’s frustrating,” Cassidy said. “We were told they could only review calls . . . and then there’s a call.”
No place like home
Chris Wagner still couldn’t believe his eyes.
“It looks weird to me,” he said. “ ‘Chris Wagner signed a three-year extension.’ Who?”
The humble, gruff Bruins winger from Walpole, working on one- and two-year deals while establishing himself as a pro, was thankful for job security. Signing a three-year, $4.05 million extension, particularly the same day as his Weymouth buddy Charlie Coyle re-upped for six years and $31.5 million, was a no-brainer.
“My agent’s probably mad at how many times I said I wanted to stay here, but it’s the truth,” Wagner said, reflecting more on the deals announced Wednesday. “It’s been the best fit for me. Had a great year last year. And the guys in the room are awesome. And if you get sick of them, you get to hang out with your friends and family, too. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Wagner, like Coyle, might have gotten more if he had tested the free agent market. He said it never crossed his mind. Similarly, it was all good with Coyle.
“We’re always in contention,” he said. “You always want to play for a team who’s capable of winning, and winning a Cup. I love this team. I love this city. I want to win here. That’s a big thing. Playing with a great group of guys who you can learn from every day, the leadership we have, that helps. And it’s home. My family’s here, my friends. I love this place. That kind of adds to it a little bit.”
They’re hoping Torey Krug joins them.
“That would be great,” Coyle said of the standout defenseman, a pending free agent. “We love Torey here. He’s such a great player. He’s a leader in his own way, too. He does a lot for our team. If that could happen, we would love it. Right now we just want him playing his best hockey. He’s been playing great for us, so let’s keep it up.”
Bergeron remains out
Bergeron, who sat for the fifth time in seven games with a nagging core/groin injury, is a question mark for Sunday’s game against Montreal. He did not skate Friday . . . Jack Studnicka replaced Brendan Gaunce, who had a solid debut Wednesday in Ottawa . . . Studnicka, who skated 9:45 and landed two shots on net, gave the Bruins some needed zip. Other young players didn’t bring as much. Danton Heinen, whose neutral-zone giveaway led to the Rangers’ second goal, and Anders Bjork took just two shifts in the second period.
“I just didn’t think they were hard enough on pucks,” Cassidy said . . . Cassidy believed Brett Ritchie (elbow infection) may be about a week away from returning . . . Three Boston pro teams have yet to lose at home in regulation: the Bruins (10-0-4), Celtics (7-0), and Patriots (5-0). The Bruins are the NHL’s only team with a zero in that column.