Discourse on Bennett-Marchand hit continues ahead of Game 4

There will be a hockey game later tonight in Boston — an important one for both sides as the Panthers lead the series 2-1.


However, over the last 24 hours, the hockey world’s attention has been zeroed in on the Sam Bennett – Brad Marchand incident.


For those who have been off the grid since Friday night, in the first period of Game 3, Marchand attempted to hit Bennett in the neutral zone, but the Panthers forward saw him coming and reversed the hit — knocking the Bruins captain to the ice.


Marchand was visibly shaken up, but stayed in the game for the first and second periods. He would not return for the third. 


On Friday night, there wasn’t really any discourse regarding the hit from the Bruins bench. 


Nobody reacted, nobody went after Bennett and the game played out.


That would change the next day.


Everyone saw the hit in real time, but a few different angles of the play slowed down began circulating — which brings us to where we are today. 


Some believe Bennett “sucker punched” Marchand in the head as he was countering the Bruins forward’s attempt to lay the body. 


The day after the game, Bruins head coach Jim Montgoomery made it clear that he believes Bennett knew what he was doing on the play.


“Having seen it, there’s a history there with Bennett,” Montgomery said on Saturday. “There’s clearly evidence of what went on and people can say it wasn’t intentional. We have our view of it.”


On the other hand, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice thought the complete opposite of his Bruins counterpart.  


“No, no, and I don’t think most of you would’ve either,” Maurice responded when asked if he thought Bennett punched Marchand. “It was just a collision. In a perfect world, every team has everybody healthy, nobody likes to see anybody get hurt.”


The NHL’s Department of Player Safety appeared to share a similar view to that of Maurice’s as Bennett would not receive any supplemental discipline from the league.


While both coaches and the league let their opinions be known, the discourse continued in the hours leading up to Sunday’s Game 4. 


Boston announced that Marchand would not play on Sunday due to an upper-body injury. He’s currently day-to-day. 


Montgomery followed up where he left off on Saturday, letting his opinion on Bennett’s hit known after Boston’s morning skate on Sunday.


“I don’t think I classified it as dirty, I just thought it was outside lines,” Montgomery told the media. “I think it was someone that plays the game on the edge and he knew what he was doing. I don’t know if you’ve seen the picture from behind, but clearly he loaded up.”


Montgomery was then asked why his team didn’t retaliate as the hit took place in front of Boston’s bench and if Marchand was concussed on the play. 


While the status of Marchand’s health wasn’t fully disclosed,  Montgommery did answer why there was no response from his team.


“I feel it’s my fault that we didn’t retaliate to some degree,” Montgomery responded. “You’re trying to get back in a game, it’s 1-0 up until they get the four-minute power play. Then we start the third and score right away. Now we’ve got the juices going. There’s reasons why we didn’t. That’s something I personally take responsibility for.”


Game 4 is a big one for both sides, but the situation seems a bit more dire for the home team, especially since they’ll be without their captain.


Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Bruins have been outscored 12-3 in the past two games while being outshot 66-32.


A Bruins loss would have them down 3-1 in the series and it would give the Panthers three straight opportunities to move onto the Eastern Conference Final — two of those being at home in Sunrise. 

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