Brad Marchand has an as-told-to blog on ESPN Boston this season, and the latest edition covers the Boston Bruins' grudge match against the Vancouver Canucks last weekend and his hit on defenseman Sami Salo, along with its aftermath.
On the clipping call that eventually became a 5-game suspension for clipping, Marchand said:
It technically wasn't a clip. Clipping is when you hit someone at the knees and I did not hit him at the knees. Anyone that has seen the video will see that I hit him in the upper thigh under the buttocks.
They can call it a clipping, but they obviously don't know the rules of hockey. I felt like I was trying to protect myself and get low and he went over me. It was very unfortunate that he was injured on the play.
This is pretty much the same defense Marchand made prior to his meeting with Brendan Shanahan and, oddly, is still the one he's making after slo-mo video revealed the Boston Bruins forward made contact much closer to the knees than the "upper thigh."
The juiciest part of the blog was Marchand's response to Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault.
Vigneault responded to the Salo hit by saying of Marchand: "Somebody is going to say enough is enough and they're going to hurt the kid, because he plays to hurt players and in my mind if the league doesn't take care of it, somebody else will."
Their coach [Alain Vigneault] came out and said I play to hurt players. He obviously wanted to take a shot at me and stir the pot for the hearing [Monday]. It just shows the class he has or lack thereof. I really am not going to respond or bite into what he's trying to feed me there. I hear Twitter was filled with comments about me today.
For anyone that wants to call me someone who takes cheap shots, they can say what they want. It doesn't affect me. I don't care what people who don't know me and I don't know them and they have no meaning to me, I don't care what they say. I don't really care what my reputation is. I just want to play. I'm doing this as my job. I love this team. I'm just trying to be a player and I don't care what my reputation is really. I'm not out there to hurt guys. When I'm out there, I play a hard-nosed game and play hard. If guys are soft and don't like it, then that's fine. I'm not out there to please anybody. I'm out there to do my job.
Yeah, so about that whole "supplemental discipline as a deterrent" thing…
Marchand knows the only two realistic defenses for his actions are (a) that it was a legal check and (b) that it was self-defense. Video evidence seems to refute the former; the NHL and Shanahan dismissed the latter on Monday.
But it's the line Marchand's going to continue to sell as this controversy continues to simmer.