Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand is the quintessential pest. He’s one of those players you hate to face, but if he’s on your team, he’s generally a fan favorite.
He loves nothing more than getting under the skin of his opponents with physical play bordering on, and sometimes crossing, the cheap-shot line.
On Thursday night, Marchand leapt over that cheap-shot line into possible career-ending physicality.
Marchand slew-footed Derick Brassard during the Bruins’ 3-0 win against the New York Rangers. Marchand and Brassard were racing for a puck in the corner, when Marchand slid his foot underneath Brassard’s leg and pulled him backward, causing Brassard to nearly land on the back of his head.
Here’s the video:
It’s a blatant slew-foot, there’s no denying it, and given Marchand’s past, the NHL needs to throw the book at him.
Marchand has done this before. In 2011, he was fined $2,500 for slew-footing then-Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen.
Here’s the video of that one:
Marchand managed to avoid a match penalty after this one, and the two would eventually fight and each sit for five.
But it’s not just slew-footing. Marchand has been known to throw a cheap shot here and there. Watch this video of Marchand punching Tomas Plekanec right before a faceoff.
That is unnecessary and something that doesn’t belong in the game. Plekanec is minding his own business waiting for the linesman to drop the puck, and Marchand feels the need to clock him in the side of the head.
How Many Games Should He Get?
So this slew-footing is not a question of should Marchand be suspended? Based on his history, it’s a question of how many games should Marchand be suspended?
Last month, Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt received a three-game suspension for slew-footing Dustin Byfuglien. Garbutt was considered a repeat offender for other infractions, including spearing Anaheim’s Corey Perry during the 2013-14 playoffs and last season for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall.
Boston’s Brad Marchand will have a hearing this afternoon for a slew-foot on New York Rangers’ Derick Brassard.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) January 16, 2015
I’m expecting Marchand to get something in the three- to five-game suspension, but that’s not enough.
Three to five games is about a week-and-a-half to two weeks of missed time. While that is a good amount of time for a player to miss, anything less than 10 games would be a travesty.
It’s not as if this is the first time Marchand has slew-footed anyone. He’s done it in the past and still hasn’t learned his lesson.
He can go to the media and profess he knows it’s cheap and he’ll never do it again, but those words don’t mean anything when we keep seeing him do it again.
Slew-footing isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s a dangerous move that could seriously hurt someone or even end a career.
A 10-game suspension would send a strong message to the rest of the league: We won’t tolerate slew-footing.
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Tom Mitsos is a Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @tom_mitsos.