Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was suspended five games Wednesday by the NHL Department of Player Safety for elbowing Marcus Johansson of the New Jersey Devils, the maximum amount allowable without an in-person hearing.
The NHL told ESPN on Wednesday that despite the suspension, Marchand is still eligible to play on the Atlantic Division team in Sunday’s All-Star Game as well participate in the skills competition and all events related to the game.
This is the sixth time Marchand has been suspended by the NHL in his nine-season career, for a total of 19 games. His last suspension was in April 2017, for spearing Jake Dotchin of Tampa Bay. This suspension matches the longest of his career, having been previously suspended five games for clipping Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo in 2012.
Marchand has also been fined three times. In total, he has lost $872,521 to supplemental discipline in his career.
In the third period of Tuesday night’s Boston win over New Jersey, Marchand hit Johansson in the head as he attempted to chase down a rebounded shot near the Devils’ goal. There was no penalty called on the play. Johansson suffered a concussion on the hit.
Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Wednesday that he believed Marchand was trying to protect himself on the play from an onrushing Johansson and didn’t have intent to injure the Devils forward.
“In talking to Brad this morning, he said he just saw a Devils sweater there and he was protecting himself from contact. Brad’s taken a couple of hits this year, missed some time, so I absolutely think a player should protect themselves if they see a hit coming. It’s up to the league to determine whether it’s legal or not,” Cassidy said.
The Department of Player Safety determined it was illegal, saying in its judgement on Marchand: “While we acknowledge Marchand’s argument that he is attempting to defend himself from oncoming contact, it is Marchand who initiates the contact on this play. This is not a defensive maneuver, made for Marchand’s protection.”
Marchand has 50 points in 38 games (21 goals, 29 assists) for the Bruins and had been named to the Atlantic Division team for this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game game in Tampa.