In honor of the weekend's most memorable highlight and heartfelt defense of illegal actions, let's skate back to last June to relive the last time Brad Marchand sent a member of the Vancouver Canucks ass-over-eyebrows in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final:
Outside of occurring near the end boards, which is pretty damn dangerous, that's basically the kind of hit that Marchand was defending after concussing Sami Salo on Saturday with misplaced hip check in the Boston Bruins' loss to Vancouver.
Back in Game 4, Daniel Sedin was taking a run at him and Marchand responded with a hip check in self-defense. Marchand earned six minutes in penalties from the incident and its aftermath.
Here's Marchand from June 2011 on the sequence, which included that roughing play against Christian Ehrhoff:
"I was trying to get to the puck, and Ehrhoff tried to hit me, and I just jumped around him," Marchand said. "I accidentally clipped him, and then Sedin took a run at me, so there's nothing I really should have done differently there. And then, Ballard came at me, so I was just trying to defend myself. I'm not gonna let guys run at me. That's just how it goes."
Marchand, after the Salo hit:
"In a game like last night when there's a lot of emotions and guys are running around a bit, you're definitely watching over your shoulder a little bit more and you want to try and protect yourself as much as you can. When you have a guy coming in on you, you have no idea what his intentions are and what the outcome's going to be. You're just trying to protect yourself in that situation."
As we discussed yesterday, we're not sure if self-defense will fly with Brendan Shanahan when he and Marchand have their chat around noon about the Salo hit. But this is what Marchand was attempting to do, having done it before, and probably doing it again if he doesn't get dinged for, like, four games.
He got a little lower on Salo than Sedin, we think, but it's still a "hockey play gone wrong." And no one was crying about the scourge of clipping in the NHL on the Sedin hit because (a) the Horton hit loomed over every incident in the series and (b) even the refs felt it was a minor penalty.
He'll be suspended for political reasons, but shouldn't be based on the act.