The Hart Trophy: the National Hockey League’s prize for Most Valuable Player. Unlike the Art Ross and Rocket Richard Awards, the Hart is a subjective honor voted on by the media. As the regular season closes, Boston Bruins forward, Brad Marchand, garners attention. The Bruins top the Eastern Conference with 103 points with Marchand leading the way for the club (34-50-84). After Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, there should be some debate over disgusting plays he imposes on others.
Despite his significance to the Bruins success, Brad Marchand continues to be the center of negative attention. During yesterday’s game, the 29 year old committed another careless act on Flyer defenseman, Andrew MacDonald: a cross check to the face (seen below).
As a result, Marchand was fined $5,000 for the misconduct with no suspension. The scary part is, however, that the described incident is not Marchand’s first of the season. He is, by definition, a repeat offender. Since Marchand was suspended 5 games on January 23rd for elbowing New Jersey Devils forward, Marcus Johansson, in the head, it is strange that a fine is acceptable.
In the NHL, however, there continues to be inconsistency in dealing with player safety. For whatever reason, aside from the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Brad Marchand received small retribution for embarrassing misconduct. Apparently, a two-minute penalty and a fine will deter Marchand from reckless behavior.
But if history repeats itself, the Bruins forward will strike again.
As Brad Marchand is a top-talent in the NHL, why does he persist to commit stupid plays? Marchand is a pest. No doubt about it as he can use it effectively. Yet, the atrocities on opposing players are a facet of his game he can remove and be significant.
As an impact player for the Bruins, Marchand’s name is in discussions by hockey media for the Hart Trophy. There is argument as the below statistics show how he can dominate play:
- Strong possession player: 56.4 CorsiFor% and +4.6 relative Corsi (even-strength).
- Leads team in scoring with 84 points
- An efficient scorer with 3.6 points per 60 minutes at even strength
- An effective goal scorer with a 20% shooting percentage in all situations
When reviewing those statistics, it is difficult to not consider a player of such stature as an MVP. Furthermore, it becomes easier to forget the same individual sidelined another (Johansson) with a disgusting hit to the head.
Unfortunately, I have zero votes for the Hart Trophy. What I think does not matter. All I know is that there will be media who vote Brad Marchand over Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton).
Yes, an NHL forward who carelessly injured another will have better position than those contributed a higher percentage of offense. Regardless, it will come down to voters weighing the good and the bad of Marchand. Will they look past the incidents or decide that misconduct towards peers is a detriment to all? The race will be interesting.
If I were a voting man, I would pick Nathan MacKinnon but as described, it will not matter. And no I am not appeasing Carl. There are media members who watch more hockey in a day than I have in a year. It is their job. Even so, it does not mean they are always right. In the case of the Hart, I hope they choose wisely. There is no reason why Brad Marchand’s behavior on ice should be separate from his production. By the book or not, it should matter.