As the clock was winding down to the last 30 seconds of Tuesday’s game between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators, the victor was already a known entity and the final score was assumed to be 6-3 where it sat at that point. However as the clock hit 27 seconds, frustrations erupted and a line brawl broke out down in the Bruins defensive end that would result in a lot of paperwork for the officials and would send many players in both jerseys down the tunnel for an early shower as a number of 10-minute misconducts were handed out.
When it was all settled the Bruins were on the man advantage for that last bit of time and Jimmy Hayes would change the score with just .2 seconds remaining on the clock to make the final 7-3. It was his third of the game, and his first NHL-career hat trick. And though the game was technically over, the hats rained down onto the ice in recognition, as his teammates congratulated him and the opponents headed off to the dressing room with their eyes set on their game against another opponent on Wednesday night.
Amongst the joviality of the Bruins there was the knowledge that an earlier, and uncalled, hit by Brad Marchand was being examined by the league’s Department of Player Safety for clipping. Many of the questions for the Ottawa Senators post game were about this hit and if they saw it and what they thought of it. Of those who responded, the consensus was that it was the type of hit one would expect from Marchand.
Twitter had been abuzz since the hit demanding Marchand’s head on a hockey stick and hoping that he received a ten or more game suspension. They called him a repeat offender, citing his low bridge hit on Sami Salo in January of 2012 during a game against the Vancouver Canucks. However the collective bargaining agreement limits the aggregate time for consideration as a repeat offender to 18 months, which meant that his prior hit on Salo could not be considered in meting out the supplementary discipline.
Wednesday came the announcement that Marchand would have a telephone hearing, which put a cap to the number of games he could receive to no more than five. That evening it was announced that he was suspended for three games.
Boston’s Brad Marchand has been suspended 3 games for clipping Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki. Video: https://t.co/hpu2gBu5DN
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 31, 2015
Unfortunately for the Bruins this means that in addition to the injuries to Chris Kelly, Joonas Kemppainen and most recently David Krejci—three strong and valued players—they will also be without the services of Marchand during the Winter Classic when the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens take the game outside at Gillette Stadium. While Marchand’s detractors will not care, he is missing what is likely a once-in-a-career experience to play in such a game, and that is a shame.
The Bruins have continued to struggle with consistency, compiling a 7-4-3 result in December. Of course the Canadiens are probably quite happy to see the end of the month of December in which they were 3-11-0. The rivalry of these teams is classic, and having just seen each other on December 9 at the Bell Centre in a 3-1 win for Boston, there will be carry over. It would make for an exciting game anyway, but having it outdoors makes it all the more highly anticipated.