Marchand's been a broken record in postseason

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Marchand's been a broken record in postseason

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti
BOSTON -- The name is Brad Marchand.

Not Chad. Not Marshmont. It's Brad Marchand.

You'll need to get it right for the record books.

His Game 6 goal in Boston's 5-2 win over Vancouver was his ninth of the postseason and set a Bruins record for most goals by a rookie in a single playoff season. Marchand shot past Mike Krushelnyski (1983) and Bobby Joyce (1988) to earn the honor.

"It's nice," he said. "Obviously, it's a nice little stat to keep in the back of my mind, but that's not what I was going for coming into the playoffs. I just want to help the team win in any way I can. It's nice to contribute."

Not bad for a guy who gets teased.

Like when Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty took a jab via Twitter during the Eastern Conference quarterfinals: "This game is longer than Marchand's nose." (Marchand had a goal and four assists during the series.)

Not bad for a guy who admitted there was a "question mark" surrounding his standing on the team this season.

Remember that more-beer-than-brains radio show caller? "I don't like that Marshmont! Where the hell did he come from anyway?" (He won the Seventh Player Award with 21 goals and 20 assists in 73 games.)

He comes from Hammond Plains, Nova Scotia and is making his way toward a Stanley Cup.

"He's been a big part of our team taking that step to get to this point," said teammate Milan Lucic. "He's scored a lot of big goals."

So far, there's none bigger than the one he scored in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Boston skated out Monday night with a noose around its neck. Vancouver had a 3-2 series lead; there would be no more second chances. The media hounded both teams with one particular detail of the series: First team to score wins. Every time.

Lucic had conceded the point before Game 5.

"So far, that first goal's been huge and it seems like it's been a big one. For us, back home we've been kind of able to gain momentum off it, and so have they. I think our record speaks for itself when we score the first goal . . . So it's going to be key."

It was. The Canucks looked tough off the opening faceoff. The Cup was in the building, or nearby at least, and they could smell blood. They were skating hard, poised to strike the killing blow.

But Boston struck first. Mark Recchi got the puck on a strong forecheck and shuttled it ahead to Marchand at the blueline. Marchand flew in on the right wing and drilled the back of the net, top shelf, over Roberto Luongo's glove.

It was like taking a nailgun to Luongo's tires. Once Marchand got that first, all-important goal, the pressure turned to inspiration. It took just 35 seconds for Lucic to add another Bruins tally at 6:06. Two-and-a-half minutes later, Andrew Ference made it 3-0.

The Vancouver machine broke down; Luongo was pulled and Cory Schneider came in. Though Boston didn't need more goals, it got two.

Marchand's teammates singled him out as the firestarter.

"It was a huge goal he scored and he emotionally kept on driving for us," veteran Mark Recchi said. "He's such a good kid and it's nice to see him get rewarded but also play an intelligent game tonight. He still played with the edge, but it was on the right side of it."

The Canucks may disagree.

Marchand got slapped with a 10-minute misconduct during the final 30 seconds of regulation for landing left-handed jabs to Daniel Sedin's mug. Most 22-year-olds might be less brazen tossing mittens with Hart Trophy finalists, but Marchand is an equal opportunity antagonist. He's pestered Daniel and his brother Henrik at every opportunity with bumps off the bench, slashes on faceoffs and an ever-moving mouth.

He'll be the first one to say "I shouldn't be doing that stuff" and then do it again the next night.

Recchi, sage as he may be, doesn't try to rein the rookie in.

"He's a young kid that plays on the edge and sometimes the emotions get the best of him," said Recchi. "But when you're young, that's not a bad thing. I would rather have a kid like that than a kid that plays with no emotion. It's a big part of his game and he's learning.

"He's learning to corral it when he needs to and when we need a lift, he's learned to go out and do it. That's the sign of a smart, young player who wants to get better and better."

A record-setting rookie season is a good place to start. But Brad Marchand has only just begun to make a name for himself.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Bruins taking a chance on Clarke in the fifth round

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Bruins taking a chance on Clarke in the fifth round

The Lone Star Brahmas aren’t exactly a household name in the junior hockey world, but NAHL team did produce a player worth of a Bruins draft pick last weekend. A 20-year-old defenseman named Cameron Clarke showed his offensive skills and playmaking en route to nine goals and 50 points in 59 games last season for the Brahmas, and continued to add strength to a wiry 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame that still needs to be developed as he heads off to Ferris State University.

The Tecumseh, Michigan native was floored at the prospect of being drafted by the Bruins after he was selected in the fifth round (136th overall) at last weekend’s draft in Buffalo, and excited to see some results for all of his hard work over the last few years.

“It’s a feeling like no other. I was just sitting in there with my family and when it happened, it was just pure excitement, and to go to Boston, they’re an Original Six organization,” said Clarke, who described himself as a good-skating defenseman and a good puck-mover that models his game after Capitals D-man John Carlson. “It’s just — it’s something you dream of growing up and it’s a great feeling.

“I talked to Mr. Sullivan [Bruins Scout Keith Sullivan] I believe it was in December and I knew that they had come watch me play a couple of times so I knew that they were interested. I knew that they were a team that could be a possibility that could be picking me and I’ve always watched hockey and my dad used to be a Bruins fan growing up when he was little [he grew up in Ottawa and was a big Bobby Orr fan], so it’s a great feeling. Boston’s an Original Six franchise. It’s very special, for sure.”

Clarke will obviously take a big step in his development headed to the Ferris State hockey program next season, and the Bruins hope to continue seeing improvements in the size and strength department during his college hockey years.

“We knew there were teams that were there [ready to take him], and our guys really liked him,” said Bruins Director of Scouting Keith Gretzky. “He’s gained a lot of weight in a year-and-a-half, but we know he’s going to take some time. We’re good with that. Our guys really liked him, so we took him.”

The Clarke pick is a pretty low risk/high reward selection that was off the beaten path of the normal OHL/European junior league paths, but it remains to be seen if it will pay dividends later for selecting the over-age player. 

Bruins may be getting cold feet on Trouba offer sheet

Bruins may be getting cold feet on Trouba offer sheet

The Bruins are still mulling the idea of a massive offer sheet for Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, but they’re having second, and third thoughts about the bold move according to a league source.

While a seven year, $49 million offer sheet could net them the 22-year-old Trouba with a high ceiling as a possible No. 1 defenseman, there would also be massive costs in assets, and in the kind of major stink it would cause around the league. The Bruins would have a manageable $7 million cap hit for Trouba if they did indeed fire off seven year, $49 million offer sheet to the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder on Friday morning, and they would potentially fill in a big piece of their blue line puzzle for years to come.

But the Black and Gold would also surrender four first round picks given that they don’t have the draft picks to offer anything less than a contract with an AAV (Average Annual Value) of $9.3 million after shortsighted trades sent their 2017 second round pick (for Lee Stempniak) and 2017 third round pick (for Zac Rinaldo) to other teams. Wrinkles within the offer sheet language in the CBA would turn a seven year, $49 million contract into a $9.8 AAV for draft pick compensation purposes, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the Black and Gold.

Perhaps the one thing Bruins GM Don Sweeney didn’t anticipate, however, is the bad blood that poaching an RFA would create across a league where all 30 GMs apparently play by the unwritten NHL Commandment that “thou dost not offer sheet to anybody.”

If the Bruins indeed followed through with the massive offer sheet for a player that finished with six goals and 21 points last season, then the Bruins would live in fear that it could be open season on their own restricted free agents for the foreseeable future. There’s little doubt Winnipeg, and perhaps others, would come sniffing around 20-year-old right wing David Pastrnak when his contract is up next summer, and so on down the line with Boston’s next wave of talented young players coming through the pipeline.

There’s also the simple fact that opinions are very mixed on the ultimate NHL ceiling for Trouba given the possible investment involved. One Western Conference scout thought he was on track to become a No. 1 defenseman, and could be worth all of the assets involved in preparing an offer for a player like Trouba.

“He has elite skating, and has the shot to go with it. He’s built for the new age of mobile defenders that dominate through the neutral zone,” said the scout. “[The physicality] is there, but guys don’t punish anymore because you can push and pin. They defend with their sticks and feet. Upon zone entry is when they lay the body, and he checks all those boxes.”

One other NHL executive wasn’t so sure, and harbored some doubts about whether Trouba could be “The Man” for a blueline crew that had Stanley Cup aspirations.

“The physical tools alone allow him to be big minute guy, but his overall hockey sense could prevent him from being a top D-man,” said the exec.

That seems to be the knock on Trouba: he turns the puck over under pressure, and his decision-making while moving the puck hasn’t really improved from a rookie year as a 19-year-old where he posted 10 goals and 29 points. But the tools, the impressive body of work since entering the NHL as a teenager and the cachet of being a lottery pick keep all NHL observers ever-optimistic that a young player like Trouba will eventually figure it out.

There’s also the very real scenario that the Bruins don’t have the trade assets to get a young defenseman like Trouba given that the Edmonton Oilers had to surrender Taylor Hall in a one-for-one deal to get Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils. They have to hope they can build up some kind of trade package that could net them Kevin Shattenkirk or Cam Fowler, or hope that Jason Demers somehow picks Boston as his free agent destination.

That’s barring the offer sheet from the Bruins for Trouba, which is still being discussed by the Bruins even as it becomes less of a possibility for Don Sweeney heading into the July 1 opening of the free agent market. That’s because throwing an offer sheet at Trouba might be the only way the Bruins can land a young, potential No. 1 defenseman this summer that can give them the building block to compete for the next decade, and that’s something for Sweeney, Neely and everybody else on Causeway Street to seriously debate over the next two days.