TAMPA Brad Marchands waiting game is almost over.
The Bruins agitator will serve out the final game of his five-game suspension Tuesday night at the Tampa Times Forum as his teammates suit up to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Once the game in Tampa is over Marchand will officially be out of the leagues doghouse.
Its been a bit of a lonely existence for Marchand practicing long after his teammates have left the rink and getting run through bag skates all by his lonesome. Marchand went through the suspended guy routine one final time on Tuesday following morning skate, and now hes ready to rejoin his teammates for both regular practice and games starting tomorrow. One positive: The games have so been bunched up for the Bruins that Marchand said the time on the sidelines actually felt shorter than the five games hes missed.
But theres no mistaking his enthusiasm to jump back into meaningful hockey with the boys after a forced vacation.
Its been a long week-and-a-half and its always tough to watch the team play, so itll be nice to get back in there, said Marchand. Its more mentally frustrating with watching. Sometimes things arent going the right way and you think that you could help.
When youre watching the games you really cant do anything. Its also a grind because they put you through a tough bag skate workout in the morning and then another one at night. Itll be nice to get back out and feel like youre a part of the team.
What wasn't nice was the 150,000 taken out of Marchands wallet for clipping Sami Salo during Bostons loss to the Vancouver Canucks nearly two weeks ago.
You dont like to lose that kind of money, but Im still making out okay. At the end of the day you learn from it. You realize you might have to change your game if you dont want it to happen again, said Marchand. It was a little frustrating to lose that kind of money . . . especially at my age. It sucks. But life goes on.
With all of that in the rear view, Marchand is revved up to jump back into the lineup Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. The left wing hopes to put the incident behind him and feels hes got a pretty good grasp on when hell be able to duck an onrushing attacker next.
The way Brendan Shanahan explained it during my meeting was that if were not going at each other physically then its a little more acceptable, said Marchand, who was a little surprised at the suspension's length after thinking he might get hit with a two-game penalty. Maybe its okay if a guy is trying to blindside me or something, but for the most part Im going to try and stay away from the clipping hits.
Marchand's penalty handed the Canucks a pair of power play goals that ultimately provided the difference between the two hockey teams. When Marchand puts together the consequences of the five-minute major in that specific game and the five games missed due to suspension, he still has some lingering issues with the harshness of Shanahans decision.
But something Marchand knows very well is that anytime you fight the law, the law is going to win.
I can understand that thered be a bit of punishment, but not to the extent of what was given. One or two games would have been more than enough especially given that I lost the team our game against Vancouver, said Marchand. That would have been acceptable. I still dont think it should have been five games.
Whatever the amount of games, Benoit Pouliot has done a solid job standing in for Marchand during the last four games with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Pouliot has posted a pair of points and a plus-2 in the first four games of substitute work, and has one game to go against the Lightning.
But theres no replacing the kind of chemistry Marchand has with Bergeron and Seguin, and the team wont have to miss it anymore when Marchand returns to the mix Thursday night against the Devils.