Brad Marchand likes to get his nose dirty. After all, one of his monikers is known as the “Noseface Killah”.
There is one team in particular that Marchand likes to take a sniff at. And that team happens to be the Bruins’ opponent Tuesday night at the TD Garden.
Marchand and the Bruins have faced the Canucks 10 times since the 2010-11 season, which obviously includes the B’s seven-game triumph over Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Over that time, Marchand has given quite the bulletin board material for the Sedins, Roberto Luongo and company.
“The Little Ball of Hate” - another one of his monikers - has built up quite the dirty laundry list in those 10 previous meetings. In Game 3, he had quite the celebration jumping into the arms of former Bruin Andrew Ference after his shorthanded, highlight reel goal to give the Bruins’ a 3-0 lead in the second period. Compared to the rest of his list, though, that is on the bottom of the laundry list.
So what other “crimes” has Marchand committed on the Canucks to add to that dirty laundry list?
Well, for starters his physical style has not been friendly to the Sedin brothers. In Game 4 of the Cup Final Marchand delivered a high hit on former Cancuks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, now with the Buffalo Sabres. Then, with Daniel Sedin charging in to protect his teammate, Marchand delivered a hip check to start another line brawl in that series.
Two games later, with the Bruins up 5-2 late in the third period, the “Little Ball of Hate” threw a few punches to the face of the punching bag known as Daniel Sedin. His reasoning? “Because I felt like it.”
Yes, “he felt like it” alright. And one game later, he felt like adding more chaos to the Bruins-Canucks rivalry alright when he scored twice - including the empty netter - to help lift the Black and Gold to their first Stanley Cup triumph in 39 years.
He returned to the scene of the crime this past December in the second regular season meeting between the two teams since the Cup Final. That night, even with one of the Bruins’ worst performances of the 2013-14 season, didn’t stop Marchand from taunting the Canucks fanbase by mockingly kissing Lord’s Stanley Cup and his championship ring at the Rogers Arena.
Not to forget, Marchand’s low hip check on Sami Salo in the first post-Cup meeting two years ago earned him a five-game suspension.
Now, with the Canucks in town, Marchand will look, or maybe try to avoid, adding to that dirty laundry list just in case the improbable Stanley Cup meeting between the two teams happens in June. Ironically enough, however, Marchand has been one of the best players donning the Spoked B tallying 19 points (12 goals, 7 assists) in 21 games since this:
Marchand doesn’t plan on slowing down, either, against a team who claims is just as edgy as he is.
“A lot of guys are [trying to play with an edge] out there, but maybe I’m doing it a little more,” Marchand said after the Bruins' practice Monday in Wilmington. “I catch a lot of heat for it, but you can see before I did that stuff in Vancouver, two guys were grabbing my face. It’s not just me out there. They have a lot of bad guys, too.”
Yes, the Canucks have their share of edgy players. It all starts with Alex Burrows, whose biting incident in Game 1 of the Cup Final started the disrespect between the two clubs. Adding to that list is Zach Kassian and Jannik Hansen.
They also have skilled players in the Sedins, and yes, even
tire pumper Roberto Luongo, who will likely make his first start at the TD Garden - the same building where he was pulled twice in three games - since the battle for Lord’s Stanley.
But no player has made his mark on this matchup more than Brad Marchand. And that is why he is the face of the Bruins-Canucks rivalry.
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