From the moment he stepped onto the ice, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has made it his mission to get under the skin of the opposition. From driving Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin absolutely bonkers during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals to licking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan, Marchand has carved out a solidified niche as one of hockey's top pests.
But what's more important is the fact that he's also one of the top offensive players in the NHL today. The Bruins assistant captain is only two years removed from a 100 point regular season, and has followed that up with campaigns of 87 and 69 points (the latter in only 53 games played).
As the Bruins have gathered for training camp, Marchand addressed exactly how much longer he plans on playing. And as is his style, his response will have everyone talking.
“Until they boot me out of the league. Which, with my history, could be tomorrow," he said.
His history also includes having been voted as "the dirtiest player in the league" as evidenced by a poll taken of nearly 400 NHL players last year in which he received 29% of the vote. However, following the licking incident, he said that he intends on changing his style of play so that, as he puts it, "to make sure the longevity is there, that I'm not getting pushed out of the League because of stupidity".
He's under contract with the B's for four more seasons on a deal that carries a $6.125 million salary cap hit. But one player on the Bruins who is entering a contract year is captain Patrice Bergeron, who stated his intention to play out this season and then address his contract situation afterwards. So what is Marchand's take on Bergeron's future in Boston?
"You see the level that he's playing at. He's still the best two-way forward in the league. Getting robbed every year for the Selke."
"It's completely up to him."