BUFFALO, NY – When General Manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with media on Thursday morning at First Niagara Center before the Bruins faced the Sabres, he addressed some recent talk surrounding Brad Marchand and the production of his line.
"For a line, I mean, if all three guys are clicking, then they’d all be producing. And when one guy isn’t, it hurts the other two," said Chiarelli, before adding, "Let me be clear on Marchy. I saw some of the kind of aftermath yesterday from my comments. I’m not trading Marchy. He’s a good player, I like the way he plays, so he’ll figure it out."
"But when one guy struggles, the other guys unfortunately piggyback on those struggles. So you need three guys really going out – you hear what guys saying about pairs; play lines and pairs – you need three guys going and contributing. So that’s happening a little bit but as I said yesterday [Wednesday] he’s finding his way."
Chiarelli sees Marchand picking it up offensively, and his upped production would also help out his current linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith.
"He’s skating better. He’s driving deeper when he’s rushing with the puck," said the Bruins' GM. "I see him making plays – he pulls up a little sooner when he doesn’t have the confidence. So he’s skating better, I’ve seen him beat guys one-on-one and I’ve seen him making plays on both sides, the right side and the left side. He’s not giving away as many pucks."
"The biggest thing for me is he’s skating better. And I know he’s bobbling some pucks still but he’s getting shots off and he’s making some plays so that’s what I see."
The day prior, Chiarelli had also spoken about Marchand's game.
"He’s a young player still and sometimes you have those seasons. He’s fought the puck a little bit, he’s been kind of at wits end a little bit," said Chiarelli. "You can see a level of frustration."
"I go back over his last six, seven games, I’ve liked his play. He’s getting his legs back and his hands back and it’s just about looking at it in the way of an 82-game schedule and figuring it out over the course of the schedule and being patient."
"Maybe he’s showed little signs of impatience, but I think his game is coming around."
With the Bruins in Buffalo on Thursday, Sabres Interim Head Coach Ted Nolan was asked about Marchand as a player. He coached the winger in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Moncton Wildcats (2005-06).
"Brad, he’s a perfect Boston Bruin," said Nolan. "He’s a competitive guy and people ask me back when we lost to Patrick Roy in the Finals with the Quebec Ramparts, if we could do one thing differently. Probably the only thing we would do differently is maybe have a 19-year-old Marchand versus 17-year-old Brad Marchand."
"He’s a dynamic player that has a lot of grit and a player you love to have on your team and a player you don’t like to play too much against."