By Matthew Cunha
There has been a Bruins player blossoming into a star in front of our eyes. Shamefully, the average Boston sports fan is not even aware of the star one of their best players has become. Brad Marchand has become one of the NHL’s premier players over the course of the last two seasons. This season, he has earned his way into the race for the MVP but hanks to the Bruins low status in the Boston sports and the Bruins struggles, no one has even noticed.
Before I am accused of being a Boston Bruins fan-boy, let’s take a look some stats that undeniably proclaim Marchand one of the league’s elite. What do the names Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, and Brad Marchand have in common? Those are the league’s three top goal scorers over the past two seasons. Marchand’s plus/minus rating is 40. Ovechkin is at 27 while Kane is at 29. Marchand is also considered a two-way player whereas Ovechkin and Kane, not so much.
This season, Marchand is tied for the league lead in goals with some guy named Sidney Crosby at 35. The pair are tied with 74 points and only trail second year sensation Connor McDavid, entering play on Wednesday night. In his past 9 games, Brad has 10 goals and 5 assists adding up to 15 points. When the Bruins have needed a play, Marchand has delivered for the “Black & Gold”. That was the case on Monday night when the Bruins trailed 3-2 to Vancouver and in desperate need of points. What did Brad do? Oh, he just scored a 3rd period hat trick.
Unlike most of his counterparts, Marchand has been productive all season for the B’s and been consistent every night out. In fact, his success started before the season. Brad led Team Canada to victory in the World Cup of Hockey and even there he scored with less than a minute left to put Team Canada ahead for good. Let’s not forget, Marchand scored 2 goals in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals as a rookie in 2011.
In all likelihood, the Bruins newest bona fide star will not win MVP, however, his candidacy is legitimate. Without Marchand this year, the Bruins would not be anywhere near the playoffs. The sustained run the Bruins have been on since Bruce Cassidy took over would be irrelevant. This guy means just as much as his team as Crosby means to the Penguins and as much as McDavid means to the Oilers. The better news for Bruins fans, Marchand signed an 8 year contract for just over $6 million per year. Kane and Ovechkin each make over $10 million a year.
It is perfectly logical for Boston fans to not have noticed that the Bruins do have a star player and top goal scorer. The B’s have been awful for the larger part of three season but now is the time to take notice. The Bruins are on a roll under Bruce Cassidy and should be back in the playoffs. Maybe then, Boston fans will realize the Bruins have a star and a legitimate NHL MVP contender. The “little ball of hate” is now a “little ball of star”.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.