When the final buzzer sounded on the Boston Bruins’ 90th season — nine wins short of its goal, at the very least — it had become strikingly apparent that pesky winger Brad Marchand’s act had grown stale.
Marchand, a product of the Providence Bruins, fell just two points shy of tying his most productive season, 2011-12. With Tyler Seguin shipped to Dallas, the onus of providing offensive firepower on the second line complimenting Patrice Bergeron sat squarely upon Marchand’s shoulders. For the most part, the 26-year-old Nova Scotian delivered.
Once the playoffs rolled around, Marchand went dry, failing to record a single goal through 12 games. Marchand was hardly the only member of the Bruins guilty of inconsistency, however. David Krejci, for example, admitted after the team’s Game 7 loss to the Montreal Canadiens that he had failed at his goalscoring duties as a first-line centerman.
The difference between Marchand and Krejci? One draws far more attention than the other. When the scoring evaporates and the theatrics become a liability, the whole "pest" act becomes that much harder to tolerate and defend. After all, Marchand has just five goals in his last 41 playoff games, and 81 PIM.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com and Jimmy Murphy of xnsports.com seem to believe the Bruins will deal Marchand this offseason. Murphy, formerly of ESPNBoston.com and now finding work in Montreal, claims two NHL sources told him Thursday that the B’s are exploring a possible trade sending Marchand to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for 34-year-old veteran Patrick Marleau.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wasted no time shooting down the rumors, telling WEEI.com, “I have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him. I don’t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”
Patrick Marleau, though? The man at the heart of the San Jose Sharks’ postseason asphyxiation year after year? If there is any truth at all to Murphy’s rumors, this would be a perplexing, concerning move by Chiarelli. If the Bruins are indeed seeking to expand their championship window, why sign a player so antonymous with playoff performance? It just doesn't add up.