Brad Marchand happy to put contract rumors to rest

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 26: Brad Marchand #63 of Team Canada talks to the media during the World Cup of Hockey 2016 practice sessions at Air Canada Centre on September 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images)
Brad Marchand of Team Canada talks to the media during the World Cup of Hockey 2016 practice sessions at Air Canada Centre on September 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Getty Images)

TORONTO – Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said he was nervous during the World Cup of Hockey that teammate Brad Marchand was almost playing too well with Sidney Crosby on Team Canada.

The question was whether this would sway Marchand, a pending unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017, towards signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I was getting a little worried now, him playing with Sid,” Bergeron joked after it was announced Marchand was upped to a new long-term contract with Boston. “I guess it’s done and we can move forward and for himself and also for us as a team. Just can’t say enough about it. It’s well deserved and he’s an amazing player.”

The decision by the Bruins to sign Marchand to an eight-year $49 million contract Monday showed the organization’s faith in Marchand and how far he has come as a player – from “little ball of hate” to elite scorer.

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After Team Canada’s Monday practice, and following the announcement he had come to terms on his deal with the Bruins, Marchand said he wouldn’t take questions on the contract. But he did talk about where his game was and the type of player he is today. He ranks second on Team Canada with five points in their four games played, playing on a line with Crosby and Bergeron.

“I think (my game has) come a long way from when I first got in the league,” Marchand said. “When you first come in, you may have to play a different role than you originally intend. You have to do whatever’s necessary to get in the league. But I think that I’ve been fortunate to be on a good team. I’ve had good players around me and a great coaching staff that have allowed me to grow and be better each year. I’ve played alongside (Bergeron) for a long time now. He’s such an elite player that when you play with guys like that you’re expected to hold your game to a higher level, a higher standard. The way he carries himself, the way he plays, he expects that of his linemates and if you deliver anything less, you feel like you let him down, you feel like you let the team down. I think that’s pushed me a lot. And (coach) Claude (Julien) pushed me a lot to be on that level. It’s really allowed my game to grow.”

Last season the 28-year-old Marchand had a career-high 61 points and 37 goals in 77 games played. He held a 55.73 score, zone and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% and a plus-7.94 score, zone and venue adjusted 5-on-5 CF% Rel. He’s also one of the most recognizable Bruins for his scoring ability along with his physical style.

“I’m very excited. I want to thank the Jacobs family. I want to thank (general manager) Don Sweeney, (team president) Cam Neely, Claude Julien, my teammates, my family, my wife, and all the fans in Boston. Boston has become my second home. I absolutely love it there. I’m very excited about what’s ahead for our team,” Marchand said. “I really believe in our team and our group and what we’re working towards. It’s a place that I’m very excited about being for the next number of years and potentially my whole career. But right now I’m here and I want the focus to be here. This is where I’m at. We’ll talk more about everything after the tournament, but for now I just want to thank everyone who’s involved in the negotiations, my agent, and their team. I’m just very happy that everything’s done now and we can move forward.”

On Saturday after Team Canada downed Team Russia 5-3, a game where Marchand scored two goals, he was asked in a news conference about the possibility of teaming back up with Crosby in free agency and Marchand played coy.

On Monday, Marchand was asked about the rumors on his deal heading into the tournament and understood that there would be a lot of noise on his contract situation during the World Cup.

“There’s always a lot of little things that come from tournaments like this and there’s a lot of different things that arise,” Marchand said. “We all knew that could happen but that’s all been put to bed.”

Bergeron sounded thrilled that the team’s leading goal scorer was back in the fold for a while. He has become an intrinsic part of the Bruins’ core and it was important for the team to lock him up for the present and the future. The contract is for a lot of years, but ultimately it was the price the team needed to pay to keep a core piece.

“It’s pretty impressive the way he has improved. I’ve always thought he was an amazing player to play with the way he handled himself on the ice, night-in, night-out always being first on pucks and working hard and competing and all that and I think it just improved his game from one year to another,” Bergeron said. “He had 37 goals last year and it wasn’t a fluke obviously. We’re seeing that right now and it’s great to see.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!