Marchand's goal: Silence his detractors

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Marchand's goal: Silence his detractors

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Brad Marchand has heard the criticism and hes got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.

The pugnacious winger had always been a successful blend of hockey skill and sandpaper grit coming up through the junior hockey ranks and the AHL, but nobody could have foreseen the offensive explosion during his rookie year with the Bruins.

The 23-year-old forward popped in 21 goals and 41 points along with a plus-25 and five shorthanded goals for the Bruins last year, and then really spiked in the playoffs with 19 points in 25 playoff games along with some memorable performances against the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The image of Marchand using one of the Sedins as his personal punching bag in Game 6 at the Garden is one of the overriding moments from the Cup Finals, but its also one of the reasons the pesky winger is despised by anyone outside of Boston. Marchand is the perfect love him if hes on your team and hate him if he plays elsewhere kind of player, and that can spark some serious criticism.

Some around the NHL mostly in Vancouver, naturally felt that Marchand was a bit of a one-year wonder and that the recent two-year, 5 million contract was unjustified given his lack of track record.

Marchand has heard all of that and set on proving everybody wrong a key part of rabble-rouser continuing to play on the edge he consistently needs to be an effective player.

You always want to get better every year and you dont want to be personally satisfied with anything that youve done, said Marchand. The biggest thing for me to prove is that last year wasnt a fluke and that I can keep my consistency up. I need to prove I can bring that level of energy every game.

Ive been told plenty of times this summer by former players that its a lot tougher coming in for your second year because guys know who you are. They know your tendencies a little bit and goalies have studied you a little bit and know what youre going to do. Its a little tougher in your second year so thats something Im aware of.

Many hockey observers are wondering if Marchand is the kind of player that can be counted on for 20 goals each and every season, or if it was just one magical rookie season with seemingly everything going right for him.

It looks like hockeys version of the Honey Badger doesnt care about any of that, however, and hes just going to keep doing his thing. Marchand and the Bruins wouldnt have it any other way.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.