Pat Maroon has quickly turned NESN commentator Jack Edwards' ugly comments from a negative into a positive.
The Tampa Bay Lightning forward, who was the subject of body shaming by the Boston Bruins broadcaster during Tuesday’s telecast, learned about the situation from captain Steven Stamkos in the team’s dressing room.
“Steven Stamkos actually showed me the video. I was in the shower [after the game],” Maroon told The Athletic's Charlie O'Connor. “When our teammates are saying it’s pretty bad, it must be pretty bad. Right?”
According to The Athletic, Maroon and his teammates took the comments as an insult.
“You just don’t talk bad about someone like that for a minute straight, for no reason,” Maroon said. “I get it — if we’re out on the ice and guys are chirping and guys are doing those things, that’s part of hockey. That’s part of it. But someone on national TV when (potentially) millions of listeners are watching or tuned in, and he just basically cut me down. Uncalled for, unnecessary. I don’t understand why he did that. But it is what it is. It’s over, it’s done. And we turned a negative into a positive.”
But instead of reacting negatively, Maroon took it upon himself to spin the narrative in another direction by announcing a $2,000 donation to a local charity. And he encouraged others to follow suit, which they did.
The veteran’s actions have already raised $50,000 in donations for Tampa Bay Thrives, a nonprofit organization "assisting those struggling with mental health and substance use issues by providing navigation, access and awareness." Maroon hopes these efforts will leave a lasting impact on the community in Tampa Bay and across the nation.
“It’s never fun to hear that. It’s kind of embarrassing for me,” Maroon told reporters on Thursday. “We’re here to turn something negative into a positive. It is what it is. It’s over. It’s in the past. Hopefully, we made an impact in the Tampa community and around the world.”
Edwards went after the three-time Stanley Cup champion midway through the first period of Tuesday’s contest between the Bruins and Lightning, and continued to do so for over 30 seconds.
“Listed at 238 pounds. That was Day 1 of training camp, and I’ve got a feeling he’s had a few more pizzas between then and now,” Edwards said on the broadcast.
NESN color commentator Andy Brickley also weighed in and made jokes about the 34-year-old’s weight being listed prior to his pre-game meal. That prompted Edwards to continue his bit.
“Inadvertent fasting for Pat Maroon is like [going] four hours without a meal,” said Edwards. “But hey, three Cups in a row, who can argue with his formula?”
Maroon, a 6-foot-3, 238-pound winger, has never been shy about utilizing his large frame to enforce his will on the opposition. It’s been a key aspect of his game for years, dating back to his youth hockey days in St. Louis when he was known as "Fat Pat." Now affectionately known as "Big Rig," a nickname given to him by former Anaheim Ducks teammate Andrew Cogliano, Maroon has taken all the jokes in stride, even once calling himself the "Shifty 250."
But that didn't stop many from across the hockey world from calling out Edwards for his remarks.
This isn’t the first time that Edwards has been under fire. He was criticized for his comments when these two teams met in 2020 as a fight broke out between Maroon and long-time Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Earlier that season, Edwards was at it again calling former NHL player Roman Polák’s injury — which caused him to leave the game on a stretcher — "bad hockey karma" and referring to him as “an absolute disgrace.”
Edwards has been broadcasting Bruins games for NESN since the 2005-06 season.
On the ice, Taylor Hall’s two goals lifted the Bruins over the Lightning 3-1, moving them to 13-0-0 at TD Garden to start the season, which is a new NHL record. The club currently leads the Atlantic Division at 19-3-0 with 38 points.
Maroon, meanwhile, has four assists and is averaging a career-worst 9:11 minutes of ice-time per game in 22 contests during his fourth campaign in Tampa Bay.
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