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Marchand says he got the message

by Matt Kalman
BOSTON -- If Brad Marchand's five-game suspension for his clip on Vancouver's Sami Salo accomplishes anything positive, the Boston Bruins winger hopes it sets a precedent for similar plays by other players in the future.

"I expect if there's any more hits like this that they'll be penalized the same way. Otherwise, it will be a double standard," Marchand said after his team's morning skate at the TD Garden in preparation for a night game with Winnipeg. "But until we see more hits like this, we can't say that. So hopefully when hits like this arise from now on, they'll be penalized the same way."

Marchand, whose suspension will start tonight, used a similar check Canucks forward Mason Raymond executed on him last June in the Stanley Cup Final as part of his argument against discipline. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, in comments made Monday, also cited other hits, including ones by other Canucks, that were similar in nature to Marchand's hit on Salo.

Marchand, it was revealed in a statement released by the Bruins after the announcement of the suspension, also had sought out clarification about hip checks as way to protect oneself at the beginning of this season. Now Marchand has even more clarification in the matter.

"I'm a small guy, I play low to the ice and that's a way that I've protected myself in the past, and I just felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. And I brought it up to him," Marchand said in regards to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. "And when I walked away from the conversation, he told me that when protecting myself, that's OK in that situation. So when that situation arose, I felt that I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it, and that's why I did it.

"Well, I guess it's clear that I'm not allowed to do that and guys around the League aren't allowed to do that," Marchand continued. "They tried to make that clear and I'm going to do something else next time."

Marchand has carved out a career in the NHL both with his goal-scoring prowess and his ability to play on the edge in terms of physicality and trash talk. Last season he earned a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Columbus' RJ Umberger, and this season he was fined for slew-footing Pittsburgh's Matt Niskanen.

In the past, Bruins coach Claude Julien has felt the need to chat with Marchand in order to rein in the rambunctious forward. But this time, Julien doesn't think there's need for such a talk.

"I think Brad heard enough -- [saw] enough. He said he's going to try and adjust his game," Julien said. "Give him credit, he's a young kid that keeps trying to improve his game and get better in that area. It's not like he's denying anything, he tries to get better and we helped him along that way, and I think that’s what I appreciate about Brad. He's not hiding behind the fact and saying, 'I don't do anything wrong.' He knows the referees will watch him closely and he knows he has to get better in that area. Not only does he get under teams' skin, but also the referees, and he knows that stuff. At the same time, we know that his playing on the edge makes him a good player. We got to work with him, not against him and got to help him make sure his game is fine-tuned to the point where those things happen less and less."

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