October 28, 2011

In dejecting setback, Marchand-Subban fight provides entertainment

by Jesse Connolly

Brad Marchand duked it out with P.K. Subban in the second period of the Bruins 2-1 loss to Montreal. (Getty)

BOSTON – On a night where the Bruins turned in yet another dud of a performance, slipping to 3-6-0 on the year and last place in the Eastern Conference, there weren’t a helluva lot of reasons to walk out of TD Garden feeling like you got your money’s worth.

But a memorable fight between Brad Marchand P.K. Subban midway through the second period gave those fans their biggest dose of entertainment value on the night.

The two have had quite a feud going dating back to last season, starting with a devastating open-ice hit by the Habs d-man up in Montreal and continuing through the postseason series between the two historic rivals.

“Well, I know ‘Marshy’ pretty well and it’s just a matter of us both being frustrated out there and that’s how you settle your differences,” Subban said. “I mean, we were kind of laughing about it after, we gave each other a pat on the pads, I don’t think there’s any true animosity between us two.

“But like I said, we have quite the past, winning a gold medal together. But it’s a game, you know, that’s what the fans want, that’s what both teams want. It’s energy out there and it’s fun.”

Fittingly, it took a few tries before the two could formally square off.

Subban and Marchand got testy at the Habs blueline and started to go at it before teammates and linesmen rushed in. As soon as they escaped the box the two were tangled up in the corner, but the bout was postponed as the referees again came to the rescue. When they made their third attempt, there was no stopping the willing combatants any longer.

“Yeah well I think it all started off the draw,” Marchand said when asked what led up to the fight. “He kind of gave me a little shot with his elbow and then I grabbed him and he grabbed me. And I thought he wanted to go then so I dropped my gloves. But when we were in the box he asked me to go and I said no. And then back in the second time he asked me again, and I couldn’t say no. So it was nice to get it out of the way.”

The fight led off with Subban attempting to knock Marchand’s block off, only to miss wildly and fall straight to the ice. Rather concern himself with yet another attempt to drop the mitts, the B’s winger didn’t unleash any swings when his opponent was down.

“Might as well keep it going so we didn’t have to go a fourth time there,” Marchand said. “So I let him get back up and we went from there.”

Subban, quite infamous for doing all he can to infuriate the opposition without throwing down, got a good laugh of his big miss.

“I’m not a very good fighter, so, I guess you could say I was going for the knockout, but it was a pretty bad attempt,” the young Habs rearguard quipped. “So I don’t know, I’m probably better to keep my gloves on most of the time.”

Those in the building, however, were glad they didn’t.

Despite facing a sizeable disadvantage in both height and weight, Marchand more than held his own in the altercation, getting in a few quality jabs and uppercuts while Subban tried to ragdoll him around.

When all was said and done, the two ultimately gave Bruins fans the lone reason to make it down to the arena on a mostly miserable night for the Black and Gold.

“In a game like this we want to get our teams going,” Marchand said. “That’s the way to do it.”

If only, for the Bruins’ sake, it led to a better end result.