BOSTON - Have you seen this man? He's 5-foot-9, 183 pounds, 26 years of age, and wearing hockey skates.
Although he doesn't need the skates for a while.
His name is Brad Marchand, and he went missing in this year's playoffs.
Maybe that's a little harsh, but the fact is Marchand went largely unnoticed the entire playoffs. Really, people only noticed him when he did something wrong.
Marchand fanned on a couple empty nets back in the Red Wings series. Everybody laughed it off at the time. He made a boneheaded play in Game 2 on what should have been an easy clear, that instead lead to a turnover and Canadiens game-tying goal. He was, however, a big part of their third-period comeback later that game, notching two assists in the B's win. We'll give him that much, anyways.
He also logged 18 minutes in the penalty box, which lead the team.
The trips to the penalty box sound like the real Marchand, but the other stuff? Hard to believe that was him.
He totaled just five assists, that's it. They all came within the first three games of the Bruins-Canadiens series. So yes, Marchand laid a big fat goose egg in Games 4-7, when the B's needed to put the Canadiens away.
It's unfair to pin all of the blame on Marchand - he certainly wasn't the only one who failed to show up in the series. Those missing person reports will be filled out in time. But the Bruins count on him, and he was nowhere to be found.
"It’s very tough," Marchand said of his individual play in the playoffs. "I think the opportunities were there. Every game I had opportunities, but sometimes they go in sometimes they didn’t. Maybe it was a lack of focus or I didn’t bear down enough, but I didn’t come up big when the team needed me and [it’s] very frustrating."
Again in Game 7, Marchand had a chance to net his first goal of the playoffs in the first period. He got the puck off a turnover right in front of the net, all alone, with just Price to beat. But Price didn't make the save - because the shot sailed high.
"Speaking for myself, I didn’t play the way I know I can and didn’t capitalize," Marchand said. "Even tonight early on I had a chance there to tie it up 1-1 and it would have been a completely different game. So, in playoffs though, you need everyone to win and it’s tough."
Marchand tried to explain why the heck he couldn't capitalize on what looked to be sure-fire goals.
"Sometimes you just get comfortable or complacent and you think when you’re in a situation where you have an open net or what not –you expect it to go in," Marchand said. "You can get, you can take a little off – expecting that to happen and you don’t bear down. I think sometimes maybe focusing too much on other stuff and being chippy and not just playing the game. It just didn’t come together."
Marchand's reputation for chippiness may have contributed to his two trips to the penalty box on Wednesday night. Both "penalties" were hardly that.
On the first one, Marchand was checked from behind, sending him into Canadiens goalie Carey Price. He was whistled for interference. The second time, he got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for snowing Price, a penalty that had not been called earlier in the series when Tuukka Rask was snowed.
"I had no idea they were even calling that," Marchand said of the unsportsmanlike penalty. "Definitely frustrating. Even the first one, getting cross-checked in the head and taking out Carey [Price].
"It’s frustrating. But I dug that hole for myself and I’ve got to live with it."
The Bruins can live with the penalties. It's the no-show that really hurt.