The NHL announced Friday that Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand’s six-game suspension will be upheld, meaning the team’s leading scorer and most impactful player can't return until Feb. 24 in Seattle.
The Marchand suspension is a microcosm of the struggles the B’s have gone through this month after a red-hot January. Once the Bruins lost him and captain Patrice Bergeron (injury) for a few games, fans caught a glimpse into what awaits this team in the future if they don’t find a way to add more impact performers, especially at the center and defense positions.
The clock is ticking.
Bergeron will turn 37 in July, and will be without a contract for the first time in his career since making the Bruins as an 18-year-old in 2003. Boston fans should not fear him signing with someone else as much as they should worry about him walking away from the game. He has little left to prove, the miles are piling up and he could opt to put more focus on his young family.
With the NHL trade deadline a month away, Don Sweeney and his staff face some critical decisions. A quarter-century ago, the Bruins, after an early playoff defeat by the Florida Panthers, lost Cam Neely to retirement and then cratered in the standings the following season when their NHL-record 29-year playoff run ended.