TAMPA – Brad Marchand is officially out of the NHL big house after serving his five-game suspension, and he’ll be back in the B’s lineup Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils.
While Marchand hopes to be back along the left wing with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, he’s hoping to give the B’s a jolt of energy and a shot of attitude after their recent struggles. The team is a long way from Claude Julien playfully chirping with Marchand after the Calgary Flames blowout, saying “shows how much we need you” to the B’s agitator in their home dressing room.
Now they really do need Marchand after dropping two of their first three games on their four-game road trip.
“It’s always tough to watch the team play. It’s frustrating. But it’s nice the five games are over with and I’ll just jump back in to help out any way I can,” said Marchand. “I wouldn’t say we’re in a lull or a rough spot. A lot of guys are playing a lot of minutes and the schedule can be a little tough at times. But we’re ready to go tomorrow.
“I just want to create energy like I try to do and continue to play my game. Hopefully I get the chemistry back with Bergeron and Seguin if I’m playing with them tomorrow.”
It was pretty clear Marchand’s skating speed and offensive production were missed to a greater degree as the suspension sentence ran its course. Marchand's absence was compounded by the fact that the B’s were without Rich Peverley during the last two road games in Florida.
While Marchand is a top line player and does have 16 goals on the season -- and both "Nose Face Killah" and Peverley are factors on special teams – their teammates wanted to pump the brakes on the notion their return immediately would immediately push Boston out of their recent malaise.
“You look at what they do," Julien said. "[Peverley] is a penalty kill and power play guy, and Marchand can be both as well. They’re guys that can play a lot of minutes and you miss those guys. But at the same time everybody has those situations around the league. If anything you’d like your team to play through those things.
“Normally we would [make it through], but we’re not playing the way we should. If everybody was and we were competing the way we should then [missing Peverley/Marchand] it wouldn’t be an issue. There are a lot of times where it’s got to come from within. I can’t lace up the skates. I can’t compete. But I can make [the players] accountable and that’s something that maybe I can do with a few guys returning to the lineup.”
Sounds like the B’s coaching staff could be doling out a healthy scratch or too with a full complement of players at their disposal in New Jersey. That, along with the returns of Marchand and Peverley, could be just the boost the Bruins need.