Brad Marchand Admits to ‘Fighting’ Doctors, Not Being Upfront

Bruins' Brad Marchand was sucker-punched by Panthers' Sam Bennett in Game 3.

Getty Bruins' Brad Marchand was sucker-punched by Panthers' Sam Bennett in Game 3.

The Boston Bruins couldn’t avenge their 2023 loss to the Florida Panthers failing to beat them once again in the 2024 NHL playoffs and losing their second-round series 4-2.

Bruins captain Brad Marchand missed two contests with an “upper-body” injury before the Game 6 loss but returned for that matchup on Friday, May 17. Even with him on the ice, Boston lost 2-1 to the Panthers inside TD Garden.

Marchand spoke openly to the media on May 16, before Game 6, and touched on Sam Bennett‘s sucker punch that forced him out of Games 4 and 5. After the Game 6 loss, Marchand spoke even more openly about his return from injury.

“You know, I definitely pushed it getting back,” Marchand told reporters during his postgame media availability on May 17, via NESN. “I wouldn’t say I was upfront about how I felt, but it’s hard to sit out and make the decision to sit out.

“The only reason I got pulled out of that game and the only reason I was in protocol is because doctors forced me into it. So, you know, I got through it.”

Not captured in NESN’s postgame availability video of Marchand, but revealed by The Athletic’s Steve Buckley in a story published on May 18, is Marchand’s admission of “fighting” team doctors regarding his return in time for Game 6.

Buckley says he “leaned in and asked” Marchand if he “did fight the doctors to get back out there?” To that question, Marchand answered, “Umm, yeah, I did,” according to Buckley’s report.

“I mean, I did,” Marchand said. “But at the end of the day, that’s their call. I was able to get out for the first and second periods (of Game 3), but they pulled me at that point.”

Brad Marchand Tried to Avoid Entering Concussion Protocol

Marchand was initially ruled out of Game 3 before the start of the third period. He collided with Panthers forward Sam Bennett in the first frame, but nobody realized what had happened on the play.

Following replay analysis and the release of an unseen angle of Bennett’s hit, the Bruins called out the Panthers player for sucker-punching Marchand, causing him to suffer an “upper-body” injury.

Without mentioning the word “concussion” explicitly, Marchand mentioned he went through the “protocol,” which is the term used for that type of injury as players have to clear it and get the green light from doctors before returning to play.

At the end of the day, as Marchand himself said, doctors won the battle and professionally kept the Bruins captain out for two games (and one period) while he recovered from the concussion.

Marchand’s admission, however, is worrying looking at it strictly from a health point of view. Marchand’s comments also left the door open to the possibility of having forced the doctors’ hand to return for Game 6.

Bruins’ Marchand Justified His Approach Based on His Hockey Legacy

The Bruins named Marchand the team captain ahead of the 2024 season. That decision followed the retirement of Patrice Bergeron in 2023 aged 37, putting veteran Marchand at the top of Boston’s pecking order.

Marchand, who turned 36 on May 11, 2024, is entering the final season under contract with the Boston Bruins. He played for the team that won the Stanley Cup back in 2011, but he lost two other Stanley Cup Finals after that one in 2013 and 2019.

The captain discussed his decision to try to force his way back from the protocol. He mentioned his hockey career and his legacy as some of the reasons for his approach to returning early if that meant he “wasn’t upfront” about his health.

“You work your entire life to be in a position to play for a Cup,” Marchand told reporters. “I spoke on it the other day a little bit, but to win and go all the way you need to be willing to sacrifice things.

“I don’t mind playing hurt, I don’t care what it is. To be out there with the guys and to be in an elimination game, you want to be there with the guys. You want to go through it together. We’ve built something all year and you want to be part of it. Whether you win or lose, you want to be there in the fight with the guys and experience every moment.

“Like I said, you never know when you’re going to get it again.”

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