TAMPA, Fla.—Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Jake Dotchin remembers the moment. Late last season, he lay on the ice at Boston’s TD Garden after a stick speared him in the groin. He dropped as if shot. Dotchin turned and saw hockey’s preeminent lone gunman, its dirty rotten scoundrel, pucks’ bad boy: Brad Marchand.
“It was a stinger, for sure,” Dotchin said. “It ran up and got inside my cup. That was my Marchand moment.”
Marchand moments. Who doesn’t have one? What fan not from Boston doesn’t despise the Boston Bruins winger, the chippy, chirpy, eagle-beaked fire-starter? What team doesn’t want to knock the five-foot-nine Marchand, a pest for the ages, all the way back to Halifax where he was born, or hatched, or left on his parents’ doorstep by Martians 29 years ago?
Marchand moments. Like the 19 games of suspensions — including the Dotchin spear — he has earned in his career as an agitator and instigator. Like the tens of thousands of dollars in fines that have gone with them. Like the time when Barack Obama, at the time the president of the United States, smiled and called Marchand “the little ball of hate” during a White House ceremony honouring Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup champions.