By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Brad Marchand has a message for all of the bloggers, critics and haters that assumed he was shirtless, drunk and maybe even a little stupid all summer after capturing the Stanley Cup at 23 years old.
At least I wasnt the one that dropped the Cup, quipped Marchand in reference to space-shot winger Michael Ryder, who had the Cup in his possession when it fell off a table and was visibly dented.
Its good to see Marchand hasnt lost his impish sense of humor.
On more serious matters, the pesky winger did admit that perhaps he ripped it up just a little too much in the ensuing weeks following Bostons Game 7 victory over the Canucks. Perhaps all of the shirtless pictures of him celebrating atop bars in the Boston area were something he might not do again if given the opportunity.
Or then again maybe he would.
I had fun for a week or two, but I trained a lot harder after that. We won the Cup and Im 23 years old. Maybe I went a little bit harder than I should have (post-Cup win), but it's something we dream about our whole lives, assured a smirking Marchand. Thats all it was."
The diminutive 20-goal scorer was present at Ristuccia Arena for the first day of captains practice with the Bruins despite his status as an unsigned restricted free agent, and its pretty clear he has no designs on suiting up for anybody else. According to several sources close to the negotiations, Marchand wants to sign with Boston and all signs point to a deal getting done sooner rather than later.
So theres no Phil Kessel situation going on with No. 63 if anybody was afraid of the agitator shooting his way out of town just like Kessel did when he forced a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Id never thought about it. I had no idea, said Marchand. I knew that Arnott was Kessels agent, but this is a totally different situation.
Theres a hold-up on the deal given the truly disparate contracts handed out to Logan Couture (two-year deal for roughly 2.75 million per season) and James van Riemsdyk (six years at 4.25 million per season) during the offseason. Both players would have been restricted free agents like Marchand, and both players were negotiating after one truly good NHL season, just like Marchand.
The Bs have attempted to close things with a two-year deal in the 4.5-4.75 neighborhood that Tampa Bay Lightning winger Teddy Purcell settled for this summer. But Marchands camp is holding out for the bigger, better deal from the Bruins, and the young forwards value may never be higher than it is coming off the heels of a Stanley Cup victory.
Marchands agent, Wade Arnott, indicated to CSNNE.com last month that its not a done deal that the restricted free agent signs a contract before training camp begins, but the player said on Thursday he hasnt yet truly entertained the positives and negatives of holding out.
Thats how it goes sometimes. Its been a long summer and Im anxious to get something done. I just want to be here and be on the ice with the guys, said Marchand. Im not thinking that far ahead right now. Its just day-to-day and hopefully its done before training camp.
I hope so, but well see. With the Stanley Cup win, its been a very short summer and theres a lot of stuff to do in a very short time. Some things take longer than others . . . thats all.
Its fairly hopeless that any other team is going to toss out the four-year van Riemsdyk contract offered to the Flyers forward after a 40-point regular season and a spectacular playoff performance led to a six-year commitment.
But it also doesnt seem likely that Marchand will sign the first thing pushed across his desk after waiting all summer for the Bruins to show him a little more money. The deal should get done, but feelings could begin to get bruised if things start spilling over into training camp and the anxiety heightens for Bostons spark plug rookie.