Goading better players into taking bad penalties, like Chris Pronger's slashing call in the first period of Game 1.
Agitating players who aren't even on the ice, like Max Pacioretty's embarrassing tweet about nose size during the first round against Montreal.
And, when that work is done, annoying teams even more on the scoresheet, with two goals and an assist in Game 1 against the Flyers.
"I think they know I'm a guy they can kind of poke at," said Marchand. "They have a few guys on their team who play the same way I do. I imagine we're going to clash a bit in this series, that's just how it goes.
"They want to push my buttons and see if I'll take some penalties — I did end up taking a couple — and I'll try to do the same with them."
"I think Brad has gotten much better and we're going to stand here and say that was room for improvement but he's been so much better at being able to ride that fine line," said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
"He's one of those guys that can be a pest but he's also a very good hockey player. We need him as much on the ice than anything else but you never want to take away one of the things he does well. You have to let him do it and as long as he doesn't cross the line I have no issues with that."
Credit Julien with trying to educate Marchand about where that line is this season. He was singled out by the coach for aggressive but uninhibited play, and benched during a game in March. He was chided for "crossing the line" for mocking the Toronto Maple Leafs with a golf swing, telling reporters that Julien gave him an earful and "it won't happen again."
Marchand chirped the Montreal Canadiens before a rivalry game, calling them divers and saying "whatever they're mad about, they can suck it up"; it didn't happen again in the first round of the playoffs.
He's still a rookie, still plays on the edge, and could topple over it. But he hasn't in the postseason yet, with as many points (eight) as penalty minutes (eight). Credit the player, and his coach, for that level of restraint.
Latest word on Monday night's Game 2 between Boston and Philly: Brian Boucher off the ice first at practice. Let the goalie fun begin again.
- Brad Marchand
- Boston Bruins
- Claude Julien
- Chris Pronger