As Brad Marchand hits 1,000 games, he still maintains lofty goals

Patrice Bergeron first seen one thing particular in Brad Marchand when the trajectory of his personal profession was very a lot in query.

It was the summer time of 2008 and Bergeron had simply had most of his season worn out due to a brutal concussion. He had but to win any of his document six Selke Awards. Bergeron had been skating towards the tip of the ‘07-08 season but never made it back into the lineup, so he decided to join the young Bruin hopefuls at development camp. Marchand, who’d simply completed his junior profession, gave Bergeron an eyeful.

“I saw him there the first time and I just saw the compete, I saw the guy that wanted to make it any way possible. He was willing to do anything to be noticed and to make a name for himself and accomplish his childhood dream,” Bergeron informed the Herald final week. “That’s what we’re all about. That’s what we’re all trying to accomplish. So to me, yeah, from the get-go, I saw something in him that was very telling and you knew that there was some talent, but there was also some grit, some character that you don’t find everywhere.”

Bergeron, after all, would at some point workforce up with Marchand to create one of the crucial enduring dynamic duos in hockey historical past, a union that lasted the higher a part of 13 seasons and led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011 and two extra visits to the Finals in 2013 and 2019.

Bergeron referred to as it a profession on the finish of final season however Marchand, who’ll be 36 in May, remains to be going sturdy. On Tuesday evening towards the Tampa Bay Lightning, climate allowing, he’ll grow to be the eighth participant within the Bruins’ 100-year historical past to go well with up for 1,000 video games.

While the 1,000-game marker usually comes within the twilight of a gamers’ profession, Marchand has made no bones about his perception that he’s removed from performed. And who may blame him? After present process double hip surgical procedure two summers in the past, he has appeared way more like himself this season. With 25-23-48 totals with 30 video games to go, he’s acquired a shot at hitting the 40-goal plateau for the primary time in his profession.

He nonetheless has issues to perform. There’s the Four Nations event subsequent season after which, in 2026, he hopes to satisfy a dream by enjoying for Canada within the Olympics, a possibility twice denied him when the NHL selected to not go to the Games.

Marchand appreciates the milestone he’s hitting, although it’s not one thing he thought that a lot about.

“As a young player, you don’t really think that far ahead. The only thing you’re really worried about is trying to get here. Then once you get a game and you realize how tough it is to stay here, you’re just more worried on focusing on the next day to make sure you don’t get sent down,” mentioned the Halifax, Nova Scotia native. “You come in and you continue to impress and continue to earn a spot. You’re so caught up in the moment, it’s hard to look ahead to what a thousand games might look like. It’s very special. Obviously it doesn’t happen often but I really try not to look at it or think about it. The mindset’s always been that it was a goal at one point and then, not too long ago, it was no longer because I have much larger goals now. I still plan on playing for a lot of years. So 1,000 games seems like a bump in the road compared to playing 1,300 or 1,400, which is what it could end up at the end of the day. Yeah, it’s something to sit back and be proud of, because I never thought I’d get here. I didn’t really expect to get here. Now it’s just another game. I plan on playing a lot more and plan on getting a lot more accolades. Hopefully there are a few more Cups. Yeah, it’s special, but I try not to get caught up in that. The last thing you want to do is thinking you’ve accomplished anything. Every single day there’s still something to prove, especially as an old guy now.”

Because he began his profession in Boston as a fourth-liner, there’s a notion that Marchand got here out of nowhere to grow to be the participant that he’s. Reality doesn’t fairly line up with the legend.

Marchand twice made the Canadian World Junior workforce, reserved for one of the best younger gamers in probably the most hockey-rich nation on the planet.

“He played as a 16 year-old in junior hockey. I didn’t play as a 16-year-old. He was gifted,” mentioned Bergeron. “It’s not like he was this guy who came in, didn’t know how to play and all of a sudden found his hands in a cereal box. He was a talented kid and could make plays. And he added that edge to his game.”

But because the previous saying goes, once you’re 6-foot-3, you must show you may’t play. When you’re 5-foot-9, like Marchand, he needed to show that he may.

After being taken by the B’s within the third spherical of the 2006 draft, he spent a full 12 months in Providence, then acquired 20 NHL video games the next season, notching only one help. He vowed to point out that he was higher than that, and the next season, he proved it. He began on the fourth line however, midway by the season, former coach Claude Julien bumped him as much as Bergeron’s line. They’d workforce with future Hall of Famer Mark Recchi to kind a line that helped the B’s win their first Cup in 39 years.

According to Bergeron, Julien had an inkling that Marchand would match with Bergeron earlier than the season even started.

“Claude put us together in training camp in some exhibitions,” mentioned Bergeron. “Claude came to me after the first game and he said ‘You and Marchand seem to have good chemistry.’ And I was like ‘Yeah.’ I read off of him really well.’ He was always on the puck, creating something out of nothing. He was competing all the time and that’s the hockey that I like, keep moving forward and being good on the forecheck, the hard skill if you will, not overly fancy but more to the point. Obviously he’s got tremendous skills but the way that he plays, it’s always a fast, high pace.”

The competitiveness that has made Marchand an amazing participant, after all, has additionally gotten one of the best of him generally. He’s been suspended eight time for a complete of 28 video games, the final one being his lengthiest, a six-game furlough when he punched and high-sticked Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry in 2022. He’s additionally been fined 4 instances for a complete of $24,500.

The cooler-headed Bergeron did his greatest to rein him in – to a sure extent – throughout his early years.

“I’m not going to lie, it was happening a lot. I think composure is something I’m pretty good with and staying even-keeled during games. And Marchy, he thrives on those emotions and the energy and sometimes you do need that,” mentioned Bergeron. “So I was trying not to get in the way of that and take anything away so he’d be able to be at his best, but also there was a line that sometimes he would cross and it would take him away from his game. At times, I had to kind of remind him. But over the years, I didn’t have to do it as much. When I said I had to do it a lot, it was more early and I just had to say a few words and he calmed down.”

But regardless of numerous toe-stubs all through his profession, Marchand simply acquired higher and higher. When he performed on a line with Bergeron and Sidney Crosby on the World Cup of Hockey in 2016, he served discover that he was in actual fact an elite participant.

Earlier that summer time, Bergeron flew as much as Halifax to participate in camp with Nova Scotians Marchand and Crosby in addition to another NHLers and he noticed how a lot Marchand needed to shine.

“You could tell he was going into that World Cup to make an impression, make an impact and make a name for himself,” mentioned Bergeron. “I saw the growth and I definitely noticed it in the 2016 World Cup. It definitely propelled him into being – and I’ve said it many times – one of the best left wingers of his generation.”

As he continued to determine himself as a prime participant within the league, Marchand additionally grew as a pacesetter, nicely earlier than he assumed the captaincy this season upon Bergeron’s retirement. Goalie Linus Ullmark mentioned Marchand taught him the significance of sustaining a sure competitiveness every single day when he first arrived in Boston two years in the past.

“It just comes down to who he is as a person. He’s very passionate, he’s got the fire in his soul and he cares a lot,” mentioned Ullmark. “So whenever I would have a down day or maybe struggling and not up to speed with the quality of what’s to be expected, he was always on me. It didn’t matter if it was a normal practice, day after a game, morning skate, he always goes out there battling and trying to be better. When I came here, I was a little relaxed in the mornings and didn’t really care if I let in a goal or not, because in my mind, I was thinking more about the game. But he actually told me a very good thing. The guys build off what (the goalies) do as well. So if we’re fired up and ready to go in the morning, the guys are going to see that and feel a lot safer and trust us, because they know we’re on. So that was a little bit of an eye-opener.”

Parker Wotherspoon didn’t develop up a Brad Marchand fan. Far from it. A Vancouver space native, he was within the Rogers Arena stands when Marchand scored a pair of objectives within the Cup-winning Game 7 Bruin victory in 2011. But Wotherspoon, a 26-year-old AHL journeyman who’s attempting to carve out a distinct segment with the B’s, mentioned Marchand couldn’t have been extra welcoming to him when he was referred to as up. There aren’t any airs about Marchand, he mentioned.

“He’s The Man,” mentioned Wotherspoon with a smile.

But come follow time, it’s on.

“One time he got me pretty good with a reverse hit,” recalled Wotherspoon. “I told him afterward, ‘Man, I wanted to crosscheck you in the back after that.’ He said ‘Do it. Go right through me.’”

Marchand credit his work ethic to the gamers who created the template earlier than him, like Zdeno Chara and Bergeron.

“I learned very early to follow the right guys. It’s something that Claude really pushed me to do. Try to watch Bergy and Z and the guys who really took care of themselves,” mentioned Marchand. “You watch guys like that who are the best in the league at what they do, there’s a reason for it. It takes a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice. And it’s every single year. Everybody that comes in nowadays is so skilled and so talented, it’s almost harder now to keep up than it was back then and you almost have to work harder. It really just depends on how much guys want to accomplish and how long they want to play.”

Where Marchand results in the pantheon of the sport remains to be to be decided. It looks as if a foregone conclusion that his No. 63 can be raised to the Garden rafters at one level. The largest honor that may be bestowed on a participant is induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Charlie McAvoy just lately mentioned he belongs there, as did coach Jim Montgomery, who at one level needed to sport plan towards him.

“You had to be aware of him. Just a dominant player who impacted every game,” mentioned Montgomery.

When the topic of such issues comes up, Marchand himself is of two minds. There’s nonetheless loads he desires to perform within the sport and certainly one of his best fears is that trying again at his accolades will permit him to get a little bit too snug.

But when requested if the HHOF is a aim, he didn’t keep away from the query.

“Yeah, it is,” mentioned Machand. “That’s the ultimate recognition that a player can get, to be in the Hall of Fame. Is it achievable? I don’t know, but you see the amount of time I feel like I could still play. I don’t know what it takes to get there, but I’m going come to the rink every single day and try to get better and play as long as I can. If it happens, it happens. It’s not so much of a goal as (it would be) a dream come true. Butt that’s one of those things where you leave it all on the table and whatever happens, happens.”

And nobody can say that Brad Marchand hasn’t left all of it on the desk.