BostonBruins.com - Since being drafted by the Bruins in the third round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Brad Marchand has developed into one of the most elite snipers in the league, as well as quite a thorn in the side of opposing players and fans. In a story published Thursday on The Players' Tribune, Marchand shared some experiences from his childhood and early days in the NHL that provide insight into how he became the person and player that he is today.
A fan-favorite in Boston, yet an enemy around the rest of the league, Marchand acknowledged the disparity in the opening two lines, writing, "If you like me, you'll like this story. If you hate me, you'll love it."
He reminisced about his time growing up in Nova Scotia, from shoveling off the lake to play hockey to arriving to the rink early so he could skate before practice started. Marchand described himself as "a little animal" as a child, and said that his younger brother "was my inspiration" for being a pest.
"I just liked the feeling of messing with other kids," penned Marchand. "I liked getting under their skin and making them react."
He remembered the doubt he felt regarding the possibility of achieving his dream of playing in the NHL when his pee-wee coach told the team, "The statistics say that only 0.01% of you will make it to the NHL," but Marchand specified a moment when everything began to change. He recalled an effective shift when he was told to play physically against an opponent who had hit his brother earlier, and he came to the realization that "…if I have a 0.01% chance, this might be the way of getting people to notice me."
The winger shared how he felt during his first full season with the Bruins, saying that the support he received from fans "made me want to run through a wall for Boston."
Veterans on the team, including former Bruins Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and Coach Claude Julien, and current teammates Zdeno Chara and, of course, his linemate Patrice Bergeron, taught him how to adapt to the league both on and off the ice. Through humor and direct honesty, Marchand praised Bergeron and made it clear how defensive he is of his centerman.
"So I watched Patrice from Day 1, and I saw the ultimate professional," Marchand wrote. "I don't have many rules I live by, but one of my rules is: If you say anything bad about my brother, or about Patrice Bergeron, I'll fight you. The guy is simply unbelievable.
"They've trusted me to play on Bergy's wing, and that's something I take really seriously. I'll never be the best guy on the ice every night. That's impossible while No. 37 is out there. I just hold myself accountable to be second-best."
Marchand capped off his piece by comparing the 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team to the current roster and describing the characteristics a team needs to be successful.
"I don't care how fast your guys are or how good your system is," he wrote. "Everybody's guys are fast. Everybody's system is good. What you need is a room full of guys who are willing to do anything. We had it in 2011. I think we have it again in 2018."
To read the full piece, click here.