Brad Marchand once again finds himself in the line of fire from NHL fans again. This time because of a fight that occurred on opening night. With about six minutes left in the first period of the NHL regular season opener, Brad Marchand instigated a fight with Lars Eller after Eller taunted the Bruins bench on the goal that made it 7-0 Washington. The Bruins bench immediately chirped at Eller when he did his celebration in front of the Bruins bench. On the very next shift Eller was on he was jumped by Brad Marchand and forced into a fight. During the fight, Eller was bloodied up.
The outcry from Twitter users who think he jumped him. And he did but it wasn't like he jumped him from behind and beat him down from behind. Marchand approached from the side and dropped his gloves forcing Eller to scrap. There was no sucker punch, in fact, he ended squaring him up for a fight.
In fact before I break it down, let's take a look at the fight.
So in my view, Marchand did nothing wrong. Let me explain why.
Firstly he instigated the fight before the final five minutes, and the game was not in overtime. So there is nothing there.
There was no sucker punch, he came at Eller from the side but did not sucker punch him.
They ended up squared up, Marchand did not attack him from behind.
The punishment on the ice fit the crime, Marchand was given two minutes for instigating, five minutes for fighting and he was given a ten-minute misconduct. That is all he deserves.
I come from the era of you don't taunt your opponents, if you do, you need to be ready to answer the bell at some point. And if it is a 7-0 game, you should have expected to have to defend yourself. If you taunt the Bruins bench with a hand waving gesture, you can bet they will take notice.
And then there was the argument that Lars Eller isn't a fighter. Well, neither is Brad Marchand, so I don't subscribe to that notion. Eller and Marchand are probably even in that regard because as you can see Eller is taller.
So to recap real quick, I have no problem with what Marchand did. I think he timed it well, I mean the Bruins weren't going to win the game anyway so you may as well take that time to respond. I am an old school kind of guy, and Eller broke an unwritten rule. The problem ultimately became that he wasn't willing to answer for his misdeeds. But he still ended up having to pay for his taunting. Whether he, or NHL fans liked it or not.
-Kevin Gesterling is an NHL Columist for No Huddle Sports, he covers the Bruins, Oilers, and Sharks. You can find him on twitter @Kgesterling_FPC.