On Friday afternoon, the Boston Bruins announced, via press release, that they had come to terms with forward Brad Marchand on a four-year contract extension worth a total of $18 million dollars. The contract will pay no. 63 an average of $4.5 million dollars per season until the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign.
“I just want to thank the Jacobs family and the Bruins organization for allowing me the opportunity to be part of the team for this year and four more years. It’s an honor to be part of this organization and I’m very excited for what the future may hold for the Bruins.” – Brad Marchand
The 24-year-old enjoyed a successful sophomore season in 2011-12, scoring 28 goals and adding 27 assists for a total of 55 points. It can be argued that Marchand would have easily eclipsed the 30-goal plateau if not for the five-game suspension he received back in January for his infamous low-bridge of Vancouver Canucks’ defenseman Sami Salo.
Marchand’s 28 tallies last season were good for second on the team in scoring, just one goal behind offensively-prolific linemate Tyler Seguin. A career-high +31 plus/minus rating would rank Marchand fifth in the entire NHL in 2011-12, behind only teammates Patrice Bergeron (+36), Zdeno Chara (+33), Chris Kelly (+33) and Seguin (+34). On December 23, 2011, Marchand would register his first career NHL hat trick during Boston’s 8-0 rout of the visiting Florida Panthers.
In his rookie season of 2010-11, Marchand began the year skating alongside Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton on Boston’s fourth line, or as they called it, “The Merlot Line”. Despite his small stature (5’9″, 180 pounds), Marchand was able to succeed on a grinding line because of his work ethic, agitating style of play and a willingness to be physical. Midway through the season, no. 63 earned himself a promotion to the Bruins’ second forward line, where he would remain for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, skating with defensive-minded forwards Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi. He would eventually finish the regular season with 21 goals and 20 assists, far exceeding the expectations set for him in the preseason. He would then be rewarded for his efforts through the Seventh Player Award, given annually to the Bruins player who “went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the given season”.
In the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs, Marchand would take the next step on the ladder to NHL super-stardom. In 25 postseason games, Marchand would score eleven goals and pick up eight assists, including a three-point night (2G/1A) during game seven of the Stanley Cup Final, while helping the Bruins capture their first championship since 1972.
In just two full years with the Bruins, Brad Marchand has seen himself go through a meteoric rise to cult-like status in the city of Boston. The 24-year-old has become arguably the most popular player on the Bruins roster, at least amongst the fans. The man has more nicknames than any hockey player I’ve ever seen. From “honey badger”, coined by teammate Andrew Ference, to being called the “little ball of hate” by the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
However, the clear-cut most popular nickname for Brad Marchand in the city of Boston has been “Nose Face Killah”. The moniker was given to him by Bruins fans towards the end of his rookie season and has stuck ever since. Even today you will see fans, teammates and even no. 63 himself donning a yellow t-shirt with the name “Nose Face Killah” emblazoned across the front.
With most of the same team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 locked in to long-term contracts that will keep them in Boston for years to come, Brad Marchand is quite optimistic about the future of the Bruins franchise.
“I think we can have the opportunity here to do some very good things and especially make a couple of good runs at the Cup. With how dedicated everyone is to the city and the organization, I know everyone is going to put their best (foot) forward every game and make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to do that.” – Brad Marchand
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.