Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mentally Tough Performer of the Week (Week 8) - Brad Marchand

The Bruins won their first Cup since 1972 and did it with a workmanlike, team approach. Their defense allowed Vancouver very few great chances and when they did Tim Thomas was outstanding. After the devastating loss to the Flyers last season the Bruins made a number of changes. Obviously the biggest change was making Thomas the starting goaltender. Also, grabbing Nathan Horton proved to be essential to their run. Horton scored two Game 7 winners.

Boston was led by a number solid leaders. Zdeno Chara, Dennis Siedenberg, Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi... these guys play the right way. Solid on both ends of the ice. Bergeron in particular was huge in Game 7. His goals I thought sparked the Bruins early on. As with any Cup winner the list is long for guys who competed and produced under pressure. Lucic and Krejci from the Flyers series on were excellent. McQuaid and Boychuk were better than advertised. But, the most surprising development only because he was a rookie, was the emergence of Brad Marchand. His energy, passion, and underrated offensive skills catalyzed the B's. In one very shining example, it was Marchand's goal in Game 6 that really turned the series back to Boston's advantage. It dented Luongo and Vancouver's confidence at a time when they were looking to finish off Boston.

While Marchand at times goes over the edge and comments about wanting to run around kill guys was inappropriate in my mind he provided the Bruins a swagger and an attitude that was missing from this team last season. Even though Marchand's a rookie, well was a rookie now, he made a huge impact beyond the 10 goals he scored in the playoffs. So, Marchand is the Mentally Tough Player of the Week because he, despite lacking Finals experience, played with intensity, with emotion, with physicality, and with aggression that poured in to the rest of his team. Marchand is played an impact game and was a difference maker for Boston.

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