BOSTON -- Boston Bruins bad boy Brad Marchand was only partially repentant this morning when he reacted to Monday night’s decision by the NHL to suspend him for five games for his low-bridge hit on Vancouver’s Sami Salo last Saturday.
"I’m obviously a little disappointed," Marchand said today at TD Garden, where he will watch his Bruins play the Winnipeg Jets tonight. "I wasn’t expecting as many games as I got but that’s his decision and now we have to move on."
NHL vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan took a dim view of Marchand’s check on Saturday and flatly rejected the self-defence case the Bruins put forward. Shanahan also made it clear in his ruling that it was a "predatory" hit and won’t be tolerated.
Marchand had said before the ruling that he thought the hit was legal, that he got Salo near the hip, but that if was disciplined for the hit, he would not do it again.
He said that Shanahan had told him before that if he went low to protect himself, that would be allowed.
"When that situation arises, I felt I was protecting myself and that I was allowed to do it," Marchand said. "That’s why I did it.
"I’m a small guy, play low to the ice, That’s a way that I’ve protected myself in the past I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry. I brought it up to him. When I walked away from the conversation, he told me it was OK to protect myself in that situation."
Asked if he’s now confused, Marchand said: "I guess it’s clear that I’m not allowed to do that and guys in the league aren’t allowed to do that. I think they tried to make that clear and I’m going to have to do something else next time."
But Marchand and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, with his statement late Monday decrying the league’s decision, still don’t seem to be buying Shanahan’s ruling.
"We brought it up (in the hearing) and clipping is I believe what it says it when you hit the guy at the knee point, around the knee," Marchand said. "We felt that it was very clear in the video that I got him right under the buttocks. Maybe he viewed it differently and at the end of the day, he makes the call."
Shanahan did view it differently, rejecting the claim that Marchand hit Salo higher, and delivered a five-game suspension.