Creating more offense just became a much more challenging task for the Bruins this week.
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Monday afternoon that it has suspended Brad Marchand for three games for slew-footing Vancouver defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson during the first period of Boston's 3-2 win Sunday night.
There was no penalty called on the play in real-time, but the league announced Monday morning that Marchand would be having a phone hearing, which almost always means a suspension is coming.
Barring a possible appeal, Marchand will miss Tuesday's game against the Red Wings, Thursday's against the Predators, and Saturday's against the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
Marchand is the Bruins' leading scorer this season with 24 points (9 goals, 15 assists) in 18 games. His 1.33 points per game rank fifth in the NHL. On Sunday, he led the Bruins to a comeback win with a goal and an assist in the third period.
This is the seventh time Marchand has been suspended in his career, and the first since a five-game ban for an elbow to the head of Marcus Johansson in January 2018. Marchand has also been fined for five other incidents.
This is his second suspension for slew-footing, as he got two games for doing it to Derick Brassard in January 2015. Marchand was also fined for slew-footing Matt Niskanen back in 2011.
The Department of Player Safety cited Marchand's "relevant history" in explaining its decision, which likely explains why he got a longer sentence than San Jose's Kevin Labanc, who was suspended one game for a similar-looking infraction just last week.
(By the way, if you're wondering about the NHL's "repeat offender" clause -- which says a player isn't considered a repeat offender if he hasn't been suspended in the last 18 months -- that only applies to the amount of salary forfeited. So, Marchand's fine is not as much as it would be if he had been suspended within the last 18 months, but his history can -- and was -- still factored into the length of the suspension.)
Here is Marchand's updated suspension history with this most recent ban:
-March 17, 2011: 2 games for elbowing R.J. Umberger
-Jan. 9, 2012: 5 games for low-bridging Sami Salo
-Jan. 15, 2015: 2 games for slew-footing Derick Brassard
-Dec. 29, 2015: 3 games for clipping Mark Borowiecki
-April 5, 2017: 2 games for spearing Jake Dotchin
-Jan. 23, 2018: 5 games for elbowing Marcus Johansson
-Nov. 28, 2021: 3 games for slew-footing Oliver Ekman-Larsson