Brad Marchand's fate has been determined by Senior VP of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan.
Marchand has been suspended for five games for his illegal hit -- deemed "clipping" -- on the Canucks' Sami Salo in the the second period of Saturday afternoons contentious loss to the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden.
The video explanation of the ruling can be seen here.
In it, Shanahan describes Marchand's hit as a "predatory, low hit" that was neither "defensive or instinctive".
While the suspension is obviously a blow to the team, it will give the Bruins ample time to make arrangements to play without their syandout left wing for Tuesday nights game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Marchand and Salo had clashed multiple times on the same shift before the Bs forward under-cut Salo as he arrived to deliver a hit on the Bs forward. The oft-injured defenseman has reportedly suffered a concussion stemming from his head crashing to the ice after the hit.
Two days later Claude Julien said the team would abide by whatever decision arrives from the NHL Sheriff Brendan Shanahan, but felt others have authored the same kind of hits and skipped away free of the leagues supplemental discipline.
The Bs coach will also continue to preach that his players defend themselves when they feel an impending hit with intent to injure is coming their way. In Juliens mind its pretty simple: Its better to serve out a two-minute -- or a five-minute major penalty in Marchands case -- or pay a fine than it is to suffer a concussion. The Bruins havent had a very good recent history when it comes to enduring those kinds of head injuries.
Im going to let the league decide whatever they want to decide on it, said Julien prior to the announcement. Weve done our research. There are a lot of examples out there and from the team that we played of them doing the same thing. We all know about Mason Raymond on Marchand last year, but because Marchand doesnt get hurt they think its okay for Raymond to do that. But because Salo got hurt its not?
We cant have double standards here. Whatever the league decides to do we have to respect it. Whether its legal or illegal in their eyes well find out soon enough. But we lost Patrice Bergeron for an entire year. Weve lost him three times -- even in the playoffs last year late in the game -- to concussions. Weve got a guy thats probably ended his career in Marc Savard. Weve had some pretty severe injuries to this hockey club. The one thing weve taken charge of ourselves as an organization is telling our players they need to protect themselves better.
If Marchand felt that the Canucks were taking runs at him Saturday afternoon and looking to make a statement after his actions in last years Cup Finals, it makes sense that the left wing would be looking for ways to defend himself.
If that meant ducking under hits targeting his head area then thats something that couldnt be avoided. But ultimately thats for Shanahan and the league offices to decide if that was indeed Marchands intent. The bottom line is Marchands reaction to a charging Salo resulted in a head injury, and that usually spells suspension in the leagues disciplinarian handbook.
Protection doesnt mean necessarily being illegal, but its about protecting themselves, said Julien. We dont want any more of these Bergeron injuries and we dont want any more of what happened to Savard. We want to protect ourselves. Id rather see a guy protect himself and take a penalty than not protect himself and lose him for the year. Thats my point and Im going to keep making that point. I dont care what anybody else thinks about it. Its what we do, its what we believe in and were going to protect our players.
Marchands teammates openly wondered why some other similar hits werent viewed with the same tight lens by the league. Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis put a low hit at the legs of Milan Lucic during last years Stanley Cup Finals that caused the Bs power forward to flip dangerously before landing on his head and shoulder. Hamhuis got the worst of the hit and was lost for the rest of the Finals due to injury, but that potential bridge hit, along with a Mason Raymond hit on Marchand in the Finals, were never closely scrutinized by the league.
Theres something to be said for letting more go when the Stanley Cup is on the line, but it makes for some questions about consistency.
They called it clipping, Lucic said. The definition of clipping is taking a guys knees out, and as far Im concerned it was the guys hips that Marchand got. Clipping is almost like a chop block in football. There is definitely similarities to the HamhuisLucic hit. Just because I didnt get injured doesnt make it any different. Even for Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard, I saw him do the same exact clipping hit against Jamie McGinn last year when they played San Jose.
Its unfortunate Salo got hurt and everyone is a lot more sensitive to the concussion thing. But when I got hit like that I didnt have a problem with it. You didnt see me carrying on about it afterward. It is what it is.
The suspension was likely, given Marchands status us a repeat offender with Shanahan and the Hockey Ops departments. It wasn't a surprise that the suspension was stiffer than the two-game suspension handed down after his blindside hit on R.J. Umberger last season in a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and certainly more than the 2500 slewfoot on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matti Niskanen earlier this season.