By Joe Haggerty
NASHVILLE Brad Marchand didnt think much of the hit on Columbus forward R.J. Umberger right after it happened, or in the moments after the game was over.But the pesky Bs agitator couldnt really dispute the video or the NHLs decision on Thursday morning to suspend hom for two games after clocking Umberger in the back of the head with a raised elbow.When I saw the DanyHeatley decision yesterday, I kind of expected the Marchand decision to be in the same vicinity, said Claude Julien of the NHL's decision to suspend the San Jose Sharks sniper after he delivered a blow to the head. You cant be hypocritical. If the whole league is saying they want to clean it up, then you cant whine and complain every time they make a decision thatcomes in against you.We have to live with it and Marchand has to learn from it. If he learns from it, then hopefully it wont happen again.Marchand continued to maintain he was attempting to play the puck and make contact withUmberger in the shoulder, but he knew there wasnt much recourse given thatthe contact arrived at Umberger from the blind side. That Marchand's hit came duringthe very week the NHL general managers are meeting to discuss concussion reduction within the league made it a fait accompli that the league would make an example out of him.I understand where the league is coming from, said Marchand. Theyre obviously cracking down on head hits right now. Im disappointed to miss a couple of games and its always frustrating to have to watch your team play.But I understand why it happened. The biggest thing is to regroup now and get ready to play when Im called back to action.Marchand will miss tonights game against the Nashville Predators and Saturday nights game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, and then should be cleared for a return to the lineup. Hell be more than 6,000 lighter in the wallet after missing out on the two game checks, but dont expect Marchand to turn into a hockey choir boy when he returns.Marchand knows theres no place in the game for vicious, dirty head shots, but he left no doubt hell continue to play on the edge when asked if a two-game slap from the NHL would steal any bite out of his gritty, grating style of play. No. Not at all. You go out there and you cant really change your game, said Marchand. Thats how I had to play to get here, and thats how Ill have to play to stay here. If I start to change my game then maybe I wont be as effective.It happens. Its hockey. Its part of the sports. There will always be hits to the head because of how fast guys are and how big, strong and physical guys are. The biggest thing is that you cant be taking cheap shots. Thats where you have to draw the line.With Marchand out of the lineup that obviously means that both Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin will play against the Predators Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena smack in the middle of Music City.Umberger went down in the second period when he caught an elbow from Marchand at center ice. No penalty was called, but supplemental discipline may be come down under Rule 48.1, which outlines an illegal check to the head as "A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted andor the principal point of contact."Claude Julien said it would be a game-time decision with their defensemen given Andrew Ferences improving health, but Ference was on the ice much longer than the rest of his fellow blueliners. It might behoove Julien and the Bs coaching staff to go with a 100 percent healthy Steve Kampfer as Ference continues to heal his lower body. Adam McQuaid said that his left foot was okay and that hed be ready to go against the Predators.Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, but it was an optional skate for the Bruins Thursday morning at Bridgestone Arena. Rask is coming off a solid win against the Columbus Blue Jackets that should be considered a stolen win, and Thomas now hasnt played since dropping a game to the New York Islanders six days ago on Long Island.