NASHVILLE -- Brad Marchand
will be on the phone with league officials on Thursday morning as the NHL looks into the forward's second period hit on R.J. Umberger during the Bruins 3-2 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"Well I think from what I remember the puck was kind of bouncing around the neutral zone and he kind of stopped and started to go for it," said Marchand. "I just...tried to make contact with him and I tried to hit him in the back of the shoulder and I kind of saw the replay, it looks like I kind of got him up high.
"But my initial intent was I just tried to make contact."
Until this morning, Marchand had no idea that his hit had garnered so much attention.
"I was very surprised," he said. "I had no idea.
"I got up this morning and I had a missed call from my agent. He just said there was a little bit of talk about it, so if caught me off guard and came to the rink and all the guys said it was all over NHL Network.
"I had no idea, I didn’t think it was a bad hit at the time. There was no talk about it after the game or anything," he said.
Marchand also had no idea what the league's final take on the hit would look like come Thursday.
"I don’t know what the league's thinking [about the hit] right now. They’re pretty high on trying to clean up hits like that and stuff," said Marchand. "There was no call initially on the ice and there were two refs there.
"He got up very quickly and he's all right, so there’s no injury on the play or anything like that, so that might have a little bit of an impact on it.
"But just because they’re trying to tighten up right now on head hits and stuff there might be a reaction to it," said Marchand.
Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien understands the league's mandate.
"I think it’s one of those things where you’ve been discussing it for three days now and I think there’s been other situations yesterday that were brought to the [NHL's] attention," said Julien in reference to the NHL's general managers' meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. "So again, they’re going to be very sensitive to that and they’re going to look at those kind of situations.
"I know they want to rectify it. So, I guess, am I surprised? No. Not after hearing about...the last three days," he said.
Both Marchand and Julien were asked if there were anything that the forward could have done differently going into the contact with Umberger.
"I think it was where he was," said Marchand. "He was kind of leaning forward and he was really low.
"You know, he’s a big guy, and for me to be able to hit him in the head, it kind of tells how low he was.
"I think he’s pretty off balance. I didn’t hit him very hard and he fell very easily," continued Marchand. "I think it's just where the puck was -- there’s not a lot I could have done to get around, he was right in my way.
"I would have had to make contact to get around him to get the puck. So it’s part of the game, things happen quick and stuff like that happens," he said.
"I don’t know," said Julien. "It’s what we’re all trying to kind of figure out here at times. Those kinds of situations.
"I don’t know how they’re going to call it to start with, and I think I’ll wait and hear what they have to say about the hit and how they will interpret it. And then with an explanation maybe I’ll understand exactly where they’re going with it.
"Right now I don’t think I can comment on much."
However, the NHL's intentions seem clear and Julien said that the league is trying to "make it better.
"I have to be supportive of what they’re trying to do, and I am," said Julien.