Marchand is hit
Two-game ban for elbow on Umberger
The play in question did not result in a penalty. R.J. Umberger, the target of Brad Marchand’s elbow, was not injured. And Marchand did not have a disciplinary record as an NHL player.
But considering the barrage of chatter regarding head shots at the general managers’ meetings this week in Boca Raton, Fla., it was inevitable that Marchand would be punished for his actions.
Yesterday, the NHL suspended Marchand for two games for his blindside elbow to Umberger.
The play took place at 11:40 of the second period in Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win over Columbus. Marchand began serving the suspension last night. The rookie also will not play tomorrow against Toronto.
Marchand will be eligible to return Tuesday against New Jersey at TD Garden after forfeiting $6,330.64 in salary.
“I understand where the league’s coming from,’’ said Marchand. “They really want to crack down on head hits right now.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed to have to miss a couple games. It’s always frustrating when you have to watch your team play. But I understand why.’’
Marchand participated in a disciplinary hearing via conference call yesterday with Mike Murphy, the NHL’s vice president of hockey operations.
Marchand didn’t think anything of the play at the time. But upon video review, he saw that he elbowed Umberger in the back of the head.
“You can’t be hypocritical,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “If the whole league is saying it wants to clean it up, you can’t whine and complain every time they make a decision that goes against you.
“They looked at it. They felt it was worthy of a suspension. We have to live with it. He’s got to learn from it. If he learns from it, then hopefully it won’t happen again.’’
On Wednesday, Marchand had practiced alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi on the No. 2 line. Last night, Michael Ryder, who had been a healthy scratch against the Blue Jackets, replaced Marchand on the second line and landed a team-high seven shots. Ryder’s best chance came on a second-period breakaway, which Pekka Rinne gloved.
“He played a lot harder tonight,’’ said Julien. “You saw him early in the game winning more battles on the boards in our own end and competing harder. Consequently, he was a better player for us tonight. I didn’t mind his game at all.’’
Marchand has not scored in his last nine games. He was benched for the third period of the loss to the Islanders last Friday. Marchand had taken a costly interference penalty on Josh Bailey that led to a Matt Moulson goal.
Marchand said he will not change his feisty approach because of the suspension.
“That’s how I’ve had to play to get here,’’ he said. “That’s how I have to play to stay here. If I start changing things, then maybe I won’t be as effective.
“There’s always going to be hits to the head, especially with how fast guys are, how big and strong they are, how physical they are. The biggest thing is that you can’t be taking cheap shots.’’
Voice of approval On Wednesday, the NHL introduced a new in-game concussion policy. If a player is suspected of suffering a concussion, he must be removed from the ice and be evaluated by a doctor in a quiet space. The theory is that away from the bustle of the bench, a player can be evaluated more efficiently.
Before, standard operating procedure would usually have the trainer checking for a concussion on the bench. This is what happened at the Garden March 3 when Tampa Bay’s Mattias Ritola hammered Steven Kampfer. After remaining on the bench for the rest of the second period, Kampfer did not return for the third. He missed four games because of a concussion.
“If they’re going to get looked at, you shouldn’t do it on the bench,’’ said Kampfer. “They’re going to want to play. They’re going to want to get out there. The first thing they’re going to say is, ‘I’m fine. I’m fine.’
“I think once you get away from the rink and away from the game, you can really see how a guy’s reacting.’’
Finnish products Tim Thomas and Rinne are the leading candidates for the Vezina Trophy. Nearly a decade ago, they were teammates in Finland. In 2001-02, when Thomas was the No. 1 goalie for Karpat, a 19-year-old Rinne was on the club’s junior roster. When Thomas was injured, Rinne was promoted. Thomas said yesterday he couldn’t recall whether he thought Rinne would become an ace NHL goalie. “That was a long time ago,’’ Thomas said . . . Tyler Seguin, skating on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, scored the opening goal. Seguin broke off with Kelly on a two-on-one rush, then beat Rinne with an off-wing wrister glove side. It was Seguin’s lone shot in 12:33 of ice time . . . Adam McQuaid was belted in the face by an errant Matt Halischuk stick in the third period. He remained in the game . . . Shea Weber had a game-high eight shots, including the overtime winner.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.