A few things come right along with great success in the NHL.
Obviously team success is at the forefront for just about every player, and job security, financial well-being and varying levels of fame go right along with it for professional hockey players.
If the players become accomplished enough, they also get recognized with high honors and special invitations that draw the line between simply “good” and “elite.”
Brad Marchand leads the Bruins with 12 goals on the season and has racked up a handful of game-winning goals in that process, and continues to build on a career that’s been better and better with each season.
So it's no wonder that Marchand's name is being tossed around for some high honors in his native Canada. During a recent discussion on the air for TSN several pundits wondered whether the Nose Face Killah might have an outside chance at making Team Canada in 2014 for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
It would make plenty of sense for a player like Marchand, whose skill set allows him to bring so many different things to the table. That means he could play a fourth line/energy role -- something he did so effectively for the Bruins two years ago -- for Team Canada as Steve Yzerman builds another team for a potential Gold Medal.
But Marchand also has the versatility to play up the lineup if slumps or injuries gnaw away at the national team’s depth on the wing. With honored team Canada members like Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Morrow and Dany Heatley all on the wrong side of 30 years old, there could be several roster spots open for young and hungry players like Marchand.
Whatever the case, the young Bruins winger would simply be overjoyed at the invite.
“I’d be happy to play a fourth-line role, or any role they would consider me for. I would be honored just to be invited to a selection camp,” said Marchand, who has twice played for Team Canada in international competition before. “There are so many good forwards from Canada, so that’s probably the only way I’d make the team anyway.”
Marchand is being both modest and honest as he’s pushing into the top tier of NHL players based on his production, and a resume that already includes a Stanley Cup championship. There’s also the built-in chemistry he would have with linemate Patrice Bergeron, who would seem a lock to once again represent his home country at the Winter Olympic tournament next year.
That would give the Marchand another selling point on the roster provided he continues playing at his current high level on Boston’s most consistently dominant line.
“That would be something pretty cool if we were on the same line together, but even just being on the same team playing four our country would be great,” said Marchand. “There’s a special kind of pride and responsibility that you feel when you’re playing for your country. You always hope you get the call for something like that.”
Marchand won gold as a member of Team Canada during the World Junior tournaments in both 2007 and 2008 in the Czech Republic and Sweden, and has seemingly always been in the pipeline for an Olympic berth if he could keep working on his game. In the 2008 World Juniors, Marchand was skating on a line with Claude Giroux and Kyle Turris and thoroughly enjoyed his experience.
“You’re playing world-class competition and you get to see a different part of the world,” said the 24-year-old Marchand. “What could be more enjoyable than that?”
There are clearly more pressing needs for the Bruins and Marchand. They need to shake off Tuesday night’s collapse against the Pittsburgh Penguins and navigate their way through a schedule that has them playing 24 games over a 45 day span to close out the season.
Marchand also knows that things like the Olympics will take care of themselves provided he keeps scoring goals, coaxing the opposition into taking penalties and transforming himself into a player other team’s fans love to hate. Team Canada could always use a guy like Marchand on their roster for international competition, and they might just have in their sights for next winter’s games.