If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’, says the old NASCAR adage.

Boston’s Brad Marchand is always trying.

His latest attempt to gain an advantage by circumventing the rulebook came in Game 1 of the Bruins’ second-round matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the two teams battling in overtime, Marchand found an opportunity to give his team an advantage. The pesky winger stomped on the stick of Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson, timing his footwork to coincide with the linesman’s puck drop.

Unfortunately for Marchand, his ploy failed as Boston center Patrice Bergeron jumped the gun, prompting linesman Ryan Gibbons to hold the puck and reset the draw.



Atkinson headed to the bench for a replacement stick.

“Hey, if that’s how he wants to roll,” Atkinson said of the intentional stick-break. “I don’t know, that’s who he is. I’m not going to let it get to me. It is what it is.”

Marchand’s lucky he didn’t get sent to the box for the stick break, either for interference or unsportsmanlike conduct.

56.2 Minor Penalty – A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck.
A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who deliberately knocks a stick out of an opponent’s hand, or who prevents a player who has dropped his stick who has dropped his stick or any other piece of equipment from regaining possession of it.

75.2 – A minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed under this rule for […] any player who is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct including, but not limited to hair-pulling, biting, grabbing hold of a face mask, etc

Of course, it’s unlikely either of those gets called — especially in overtime of a playoff game.

There’s no doubt the Bruins’ pest will continue to find ways to irritate his opponents.

Ever the innovator, Brad Marchand.