It was interesting to hear Brad Marchand speak to Boston Bruins TV about his low-bridge on Sami Salo from the second period of Saturday’s matinee game between the Bruins and the Canucks. Granted, I wasn’t expecting him to admit to any wrongdoing, but I was amused when he painted the incident as little more than a reaction play. In his own words:
“I was kind of looking over my shoulder and saw Salo coming in and I just kind of went down. You look up and see a guy that’s 6’4″, 6’5″ coming in on you and your instincts are to protect yourself. It’s very unfortunate that he was hurt on the play.”
Salo was indeed hurt, by the way. If it wasn’t clear from the sudden, alarmingly out-of-character bout of stick-throwing rage from the demure Fin, he wasn’t quite himself, having suffered a concussion on the play. This was confirmed Sunday morning when he woke up with a headache.
Was Salo’s brain trauma, as Marchand indicated, just the result of a hockey play gone wrong? Was he merely a Suntot trying to protect himself from an oncoming Smoggie, a hobbit afeared of Orc aggression? No. That’s a blatant falsehood, especially if you watch what led up to the play.
I was clued to do this after reading what Kevin Bieksa had to say about the incident yesterday. From the Vancouver Sun:
“It’s very, very cheap. I can’t think of a cheaper hit you can do on the ice. That and a slew-foot kind of go hand in hand. Twenty seconds before that, [Marchand] and Sami have a pretty good collision in the exact same spot. Sami probably gets the better of him. Then second time, Marchand comes back and loses his will and goes down low. A cheap shot from him, and I hope he gets a phone call from the league.”
As Bieksa points out, there’s some context prior to the hit. Unfortunately, when you have an incendiary incident like this one, it’s easy to overlook what led up to it, and it certainly doesn’t help when the first clip of the play to hit the Youtubes is only eight seconds long. But here’s a longer clip, and there are a few things to observe:
Prior to Marchand taking Salo out in the corner, the two men come together a little higher up the boards, and Marchand’s Napoleon complex becomes very clear: it’s an innocuous collision (as most collisions with Salo are), but when Salo wins it by keeping the puck in the zone, Marchand takes exception and punches him in the back of the head as the two separate.
It’s completely needless. Then, clearly feeling his point was not made, whatever it is, Marchand follows Salo into the slot. Three seconds later, he punches him again.
Both of these punches go uncalled, by the way, despite the linesman having a pretty good vantage point. If a Bruins fan tells you that the refs were out to call everything and give the Canucks the game, just smile and nod.
For all this business about the Canucks being the tattletales of the league, Salo pretty quietly goes about his business here. He ignores both punches and returns to his position at the point without objection.
Then puck squirts back to wall, and he pinches to keep it in the zone. We all remember what happened next.
Considering what comes before, Marchand’s claim that he was just protecting himself is nonsense. He had clearly been trying to instigate something with the Canucks’ defender all shift, and after Salo opted not to respond to his two gloved punches, this is the approach Marchand took. As Mike Gillis said, “It’s a dirty play by a dirty player.”
I hate the phrase “intent to injure” since, because I can’t read minds and neither can you (I assume), it’s impossible to prove. But the hypothesis that this was a predatory hit is well-supported by the evidence. Marchand has a phone hearing with the league, meaning he can be suspended anywhere from one to four games when it’s through. Put me down as a proponent for four.Tags: brad marchand, Bruins, lying liars and the lies tey tell, Salo