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Sportsnet's Hrudey finding it hard to 'respect' Marchand

Matt Kalman
December 02, 2018 - 1:00 pm

Another Canadian hockey pundit got on his soapbox to rail at Bruins forward Brad Marchand on Saturday.

Just weeks after Sportnet’s Brian Burke took to the airwaves to implore Marchand to “stop being a clown,” Sportnet’s Kelly Hrudey lamented his inability to respect Marchand.

Hrudey was disillusioned by Marchand’s actions in the 4-2 loss to the Red Wings, when Marchand set off a bit of a second-period melee by giving Detroit’s Jimmy Howard a love tap on the goaltender’s way to the bench.

“My point being that it’s hard to respect Marchand. He’s an unbelievable player. But why put your team in this bind? Now your goaltender takes an unsportsmanlike penalty, Marchand takes a slashing, he should’ve had an unsportsmanlike again. But again it goes back to respect and it’s just so hard to respect that guy.”

Boohoo. Last time we looked Marchand doesn’t play to earn the respect of Hrudey or any other talking head, regardless of their experience playing or managing in the NHL. What Marchand does works. Sure he took a penalty and put Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask in a position where he had no choice but to also take a penalty. But Marchand was trying to wake up his team the best way he knows. These are desperate times for the Bruins, who are trying to stay above water with Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, among others, out of their lineup because of injuries.

The incident with Marchand happened moments after Tyler Bertuzzi tried to challenge Marchand to a fight after a clean hit on Nick Jensen. The game’s temperature had risen moments earlier when for the second straight game the Bruins saw an opponent run over center David Krejci in the neutral zone. Things were starting to go off the rails a bit before Marchand’s contact with Howard, and only a few people know what Howard said to Marchand – and they’re not ratting. Howard claimed he didn’t say anything.

Marchand has the respect of his teammates, coaches and management. When he crosses the line and actually hurts an opponent, they’re quick to defend him but also admit that he needs to clean up his act. When he’s getting under opponents’ skin without crossing the line, they love him, and so do the fans, and he’s the type of player you want on your team.

Luckily for Marchand he doesn’t need the respect from anyone not affiliated with the Bruins to fuel his drive to be an elite player and keep the Bruins in contention during this difficult stretch of the season.

Related: Kalman: Bruins have to mix in more Rock’em Sock’em hockey to survive

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