Earlier this week, the announcement was made that some marquee players for the Boston Bruins will be getting a chance to play for Team Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Coach Claude Julien will be assisting Mike Babcock behind the bench. In terms of players, Boston will be sending Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand to camp. Bergeron should be a no-doubter when it comes to making the team. If you’re attempting to be the best hockey team in the world, you’ll need the best two-way forward in the world. Lucic may not make the cut, but if he does he’ll make Canada that much tougher.
Marchand, though, is the true wild card. The amount of talent coming to camp for Canada is astounding, so there’s a very good chance the Bruins’ pugilist won’t be heading to Sochi. However, if he does, he’ll be a unique addition to probably the most talented team at the games.
As fans of Boston know, Marchand’s playing style is something very few opponents can tolerate. He can score, quite impressively as a matter of fact, but many of his opportunities came from bugging the life out of anyone he pleases.
He spent a good deal of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks driving Henrik and Daniel Sedin beyond insane. He took great pleasure in being the thorn in Matt Cooke‘s side during Boston’s sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins this past postseason. Bottom line; Marchand is one of the NHL‘s biggest trolls.
But, would he continue playing this way on a stage as big as the Olympics?
As everyone knows, the NHL and Olympic hockey have their fair share of differences. No-touch icing, different goal creases, but the biggest is the lack of agitation. Though you’ll see scrums here and there during the Winter Games, rarely, if ever, will you see an actual fight. Fact is, most scrums come after a goalie freezes the puck, lasting two to three seconds max more often than not.
So would Marchand go out of his way to get under fellow Olympians’ skin?
It’s an interesting concept to think about. For one, there’s a slight language barrier. Unless he learns Russian or Swedish anytime soon, he won’t be talking a ton of trash. He could easily begin issuing shoves and cheap shots, though.
The problem is, would his team be okay with this? Sure, Boston’s main claim to fame is physical and frustrating hockey, but things change when the stage is shifted to an international spectrum. His teammates might take issue if he becomes a constant pest.
Even more intriguing is if he indeed makes the team and is told to reign in his antics, would he still be effective?
Take this recent postseason for example. In the first and final rounds, against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively, he didn’t do much to agitate opponents. As a result, he barely made a dent on the scoring sheets.
However, facing the New York Rangers and Penguins, he was a pugilist once again. No surprise that these were the only playoff games he scored in.
It’s all speculation at this point. As mentioned earlier, he might not even make it out of camp. But if he does, it will be very interesting to see just what version of Marchand Team Canada would be bringing with them to Sochi.