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|Bruins forward Brad Marchand has used the past few days since his team was eliminated in the second round in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning to reflect on his role in the loss. Marchand drew national attention and a reprimand from the NHL after he was caught licking the face of Lightning forward Ryan Callahan during a confrontation in the Lightning’s 4-3 overtime Game 4 win that pushed the Bruins to the brink of elimination.
For Marchand K'Waun Williams Jersey , who scored 34 goals during the regular season and represented the Bruins at the All-Star Game, the licking incident added to his list of infractions. He has been suspended by the NHL six times and fined three.
Now Marchand is thinking about cleaning up his act.
”After having a couple days kind of looking back on the year and seeing what’s happened the last few days I guess, with all the media and everything, I think the biggest thing for me now is to really take a pretty hard look in the mirror and realize the actions, some of the things that I’m doing, have much bigger consequences,” Marchand said during the Bruins’ breakup day at the Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday.
”Especially the last thing I ever want to do is kind of bring the embarrassment on my teammates and the organization that it did. I have to be a lot better. I know I’ve said that in the past, but I think that that’s got to be the thing that I really work on the most.
”I think I’ve gotten my game into a pretty decent spot, but I got some character things and things that I’ve done that clearly need some fixing.”
The Bruins may not have to change much despite coming up short in their quest for their first Stanley Cup since 2011. They won 50 games for the 10th time in franchise history and finished second in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Tampa Bay.
They went 14-0-4 from Dec. 16 to Jan. 25, which was their longest point streak since they went 18 games (13 wins, five ties) without a loss from Dec. 28, 1968 to Feb. 5, 1969 and tied for the second-longest point streak in team history.
One year after losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Ottawa Senators, the Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
They accomplished this while losing 304 regular-season man games to injury and integrating five rookies to the lineup.
”We started with some injuries as you saw. … But then we got most of our guys back and we started playing with a full lineup and it showed on the ice. We were slowly and surely climbing the standings John Brown Jersey ,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
”We faced some challenges about three-fourths into season again with some injuries, still we had guys filling the gaps and the roles and we kept finding ways to win games. So that’s very positive about this team and resiliency and never-give-up attitude.”
Many Bruins players were still coming to terms with being eliminated.
Several others, including Patrice Bergeron (groin), David Backes (concussion), Torey Krug (fractured ankle) and Marchand (groin), were dealing with injuries as often happens with Cup contending teams this far into the playoffs.
But to a man they were confident that there are better things ahead for the Bruins, who have seven unrestricted free agents among the 26 players that finished the season on their roster.
”I think the thing that we’re excited about next year is we have a lot of the team returning, which is huge. It was a big learning experience for the young guys that came in,” Marchand said.
”A lot of highs and lows so it should be a learning experience for them, and same with us (the veterans), we can always draw a lot from each and every year. … So hopefully we can all bring the benefits from this season into next year and be even better.”
More NHL hockey: Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone hopes he’s done seeing promising seasons snuffed out prematurely by his troublesome right shoulder.
”It was fixed really well this time,” Anzalone asserted after New Orleans’ offseason practice on Thursday. ”My shoulder dislocated, but it was fixed differently.”
If ”differently” means better, Anzalone’s return could be a significant boon to a young defense that improved considerably during the Saints’ playoff run last season.
”We were really pleased last year, early in the year Riley Reiff Jersey , when he was playing,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. ”He’s smart. He’s someone that has good range. He can play on three downs. He’s someone who we think is a good player on third down. That gives you flexibility at linebacker.
”The key, for him, is just staying healthy.”
Twice during an unfulfilled career at Florida, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Anzalone dislocated his right shoulder. Those injuries were major reasons why he played just 18 games in four seasons with the Gators. Yet, when he played, his talent was so apparent that the Saints used one of two 2017, third-round draft choices last year to select him.
That bet appeared to be paying off when Anzalone’s speed and ability to correctly read and quickly react to plays stood out during training camp, earning him a starting nod as a rookie in Week 1.
Four games into the season, however, Anzalone extended his right arm during a diving tackle attempt against Miami and the shoulder gave out – again. He landed on injured reserve, ending his season.
”It wasn’t anything too unfamiliar,” Anzalone said. He noted that his generally optimistic outlook on life, combined with his prior experience with shoulder rehabilitation Alec Ogletree Jersey , helped him deal with the injury.
”It was fine. I have a good attitude about life. My parents instilled that in me as a kid,” Anzalone said. ”You feel bad for a little bit, and life goes on.”
Anzalone stands out on the field in part because of his long, blond hair that gives him a surfer-dude look. In reality, a visceral fear of sharks prevents the Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, native from venturing out in the ocean very often.
Instead, he’s spent a lot of down time studying the game he loves.
”Staying in meetings after getting hurt was helpful,” Anzalone said. ”Talking to the (veterans) and still learning, watching film and doing all that stuff was definitely beneficial.”
Anzalone was one of three rookie starters on the Saints’ defense last season, including cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who was the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Lattimore said he was impressed by the athleticism Anzalone brought to the linebacker position.
”He’s very versatile. He can hit you or he can cover you, so we’re going to get a great player back,” Lattimore said. ”We missed him a little bit during the season, but now that he’s back Andrew Adams Jersey , hopefully he’s 100 percent.”
Anzalone said he senses among his teammates and coaches that ”there is a lot of expectation” for how he’ll contribute this season to a team with aspirations of Super Bowl contention.
He also subscribes to the notion that the Saints, given his injury, ”took a chance on me, and I wanted to live up to that.”
But Anzalone said he has never felt overwhelmed by the transition to the NFL or the pressure to perform.
”A lot of it goes into how much you care about the game and how much you care about making mistakes and learning from your mistakes and continuing to grow,” he said.
Even during the first, voluntary, non-contact practices of this offseason, Anzalone said, he ”has been a lot more comfortable than Year 1.
”I’m confident. I think I was confident last year,” Anzalone said. ”You just do your best at what you’re asked to do. That’s really all there is to it. That’s kind of how I live my life.”
NOTES: Lattimore covered his former Ohio State teammate, Michael Thomas, during 11-on-11 drills Thursday in a matchup of players who were first-time Pro Bowl selections last season. Thomas’ back-shoulder catch near the sideline despite tight coverage by Lattimore was among the more memorable plays of the session. Later, Lattimore grinned as he said he has held his own against Thomas during the majority of offseason practices that have not been open to media. ”He’s going to get me sometimes and I get him sometimes,” Lattimore said. ”But he kind of tried to show off a little bit for the cameras.”
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