Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been suspended three games for slew-footing Vancouver’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The incident happened at 1:03 of the first period of Sunday’s game. No penalty was called on the play.
Here’s the rule on slew-footing:
Slew-footing is the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent’s feet from under him, or pushes an opponent’s upper body backward with an arm or elbow, and at the same time with a forward motion of his leg, knocks or kicks the opponent’s feet from under him, causing him to fall violently to the ice.
From the NHL’s Department of Player Safety:
Marchand and Ekman-Larsson skate toward the boards with speed in pursuit of a loose puck, jockeying for position as they approach the wall. Marchand engages with his upper body, pulling Ekman-Larsson backwards as he simultaneously extends his right leg to use his leverage in taking Ekman-Larsson down. These actions cause Ekman-Larsson to fall dangerously to the ice. This is slew-footing.
It is important to note that there are many occasions during the course of a game where players use either their legs or their stick or body to restrain or impede opponents or to gain leverage during a puck battle. When these plays rise to the level of being illegal, the vast majority of them can be adequately punished with in-game penalties. What causes this play to rise to the level of supplemental discipline is Marchand’s use of both his upper and lower body to take Ekman-Larsson to the ice in a dangerous fashion and the speed at which the players are traveling toward the boards.
“I have tried extremely hard over the last four years to get away from the reputation I’ve had,” Marchand said. “I think I’ve done an extremely good job at that. I know early on I crossed over the line a lot of times. It’s unfortunate that continues to haunt me.”
“I feel I’ve completely transformed myself from the player I was to a player that should be respected in this league for his abilities,” Marchand added. “I understand completely the history that I have. I just was hoping they would have seen past that. Obviously, that wasn’t the case.”
Player Safety does consider a player’s complete disciplinary history in determining suspension length. First, though, they determine whether this individual act was a suspendable offense. Clearly, it was. Unfortunately, that’s when Marchand’s past came back to haunt him.
“I thought three games is a lot,” said Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. “Let’s remember that Marchy’s been close to four years now without any suspension, and in that time frame he’s become one of the best players in the league – an elite player, a leader. He plays his heart out every night… Does he get into it at times? Probably. Has he crossed the line lately? I don’t think so.”
Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney, perhaps seeing the recent $25,000 fine to Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, was tight-lipped on the ban.
“My private thoughts versus my public comments will be far different,” Sweeney said. “Respectfully disagree.”
This is Player Safety’s third disciplinary action for slew-footing in the past month, having suspended San Jose’s Kevin Labanc for one game
and fined Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman. Prior to this season, the last suspension for a slew-foot was Marchand’s two-game ban in 2015.
Marchand forfeits $91,875 in salary as a result of the suspension.