Two thoughts on Brad Marchand… one is if this whole hockey thing doesn’t work out he has a career in comedy. The 33-year-old, 12-year veteran was asked if with all the departures of the core group that made three Stanley Cup runs he gives any thought to how long he plans on playing?
“Until they boot me out of the league,” Marchand said. “Which, with my history could be tomorrow.”
A few minutes later he revealed, in my eyes, why a 5′-9″ forward from Nova Scotia has made the hockey thing into the stellar career it is.
“It’s frustrating for young guys to come into a camp like this, you feel like you’re ready, you feel like you want to be in the NHL, everyone wants to be here right after they get drafted. No one wants to go back to juniors, college, or go to the minors. You want to make that jump,” said Marchand.
“You’re looking at what you can do, and that’s when you have to pick a guy and try to push him out,” added Marchand. “That’s what you do, you find a guy that you think you can push out. Try to lean on him and try to take his spot.”
It just strikes me as perfect Marchand mentality. He’s a hunter on and off the ice. Don’t get me wrong, he has the talent, but that drive is the difference maker. I think that’s also where the success on the penalty kill comes from. The special ones have it.
It’s only been one practice and four or five media sessions but the message is there that it is on the younger core to step up both on the ice and in the locker room. Make no mistake it is still Patrice Bergeron’s team but the entire organization is looking at David Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, and Matt Grzelcyk to fill the roles vacated by Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and David Krejci over the last two off-seasons.
I think they are ready and this season, provided they can stay healthy, there will be tremendous growth for all four. McAvoy is a horse and the team suffered when he got banged up last year. Carlo is a physical presence that can man-handle people. He admitted he needs to be bad cop as opposed to good cop in the locker room, I think on the ice too. Grzelcyk is a natural leader. Two years as a captain at Boston U is big stuff, and he has carried himself the same way at Providence and here in Boston.
The biggest question I have is Pastrnak ready to carry that type of load? It’s always been a question of maturity for him. I have to say that I think the personal tragedy that he experienced recently will make him grow up.
What I think we’d all like to see is if Jake DeBrusk is ready join this group and take it to the next level. More than any of these players I think it would be his potential that would help the Bruins climb the mountain.
A few players that caught my eye today were Tomas Nosek, who skated with Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. The former Vegas Golden Knight has some wheels on him. The organization must really like what they see in him. They signed him to a two-year, $3.5 million contract this summer. 6′-2″ and quick, I’m curious to see where he shakes out.
Nick Wolff is a player I love. I liked him at Minnesota Duluth and I’d like him on the big boy club. 6′-5″ on the back end, that’s what the Bruins need.
I love the way Connor Clifton plays. I’m very intrigued to see what will become of him this year. The last few he wasn’t in the mix to start but injuries keep bringing him back and he keeps sticking around. The Bruins have some solid options in camp. Time will tell.