April 01, 2011
This is who Brad Marchand(notes) is for the Boston Bruins, 92 games and parts of two seasons into his NHL career: A player who can deflate an opponent with a brilliant shorthanded goal, like the one he scored against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night; and a player that will reinvigorate that opponent with an ill-advised taunt.
Like, for example, mocking the Leafs bench by mimicking a golf swing, as he did during the second period of the Bruins' 4-3 shootout loss. Which really isn't the epitome of sportsmanship, despite its undeniable accuracy.
After a scrum, Marchand made a golf-swing gesture that probably got under the skin of some of the blue-and-white-wearing players. It also irked the Bruins' bench boss.
"I got a little bit of an earful [from Claude Julien between periods]," admitted Marchand after the game, "it won't happen again."
Marchand said that Phil Kessel(notes) popped him in the mouth and there should've been a penalty. Instead there was a razzing from the bench and then the gesture. "That was a little immature of me. I shouldn't have done that," said the pesky winger.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall for that coach/rookie conversation, considering that on March 31 and after a tough loss, the second question Julien received in his postgame press conference was about Marchand's maturity. The coach said:
"It's just one of those things. He's been a good player for us and, again, his emotions can sometimes be a positive but sometimes you don't want to cross the line. You certainly don't like that when it happens. So it's just a learning process."
UPDATE: Check out Douglas Flynn of NESN, who spotted the golf swing from the press box, and his coverage of Marchand's taunt.