Brad Marchand needs to stop kissing and licking opponents. That’s apparently the message the NHL has sent to the Boston Bruins and its star player who has, on more than one occasion, used his mouth to do more than trash talk this season.
In Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Marchand was seen kissing or licking Leo Komarov, which was a follow-up to his kissing or licking of Komarov in the regular season.
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, that prompted a phone call from New York.
“After Game 1 of the Toronto/Boston series,” Friendman wrote, “the Bruins got a, ‘We’d prefer if you could tell Brad Marchand to stop licking people’ phone call from the NHL.”
When asked about the kiss after the second smooch, Marchand played coy.
“He keeps trying to get close to me,” Marchand said at a locker-room media scrum. “I don’t know if he has a thing for me or what, but he’s cute.”
There are lots of reasons the NHL would want this kind of behavior to end, none of which is homophobia. While hitting and checking are part of the game, if players start using intimate contact as a form of taunting — and that’s exactly what this is — a game could devolve really quickly.
While Marchand’s light-hearted tone about it is great, the NHL is spot-on: He needs to cut it out.