It really is comical how certain things work out in the world of sports.
When a player is criticized or even attacked in the media, it sometimes could be the motivation needed to break out of a slump. The coaches and teammates can only do and say so much to get a particular player’s head on straight. They are too close to the situation.
Where am I going with this? Allow me to explain.
Three weeks ago, I proposed the thought to hockey fans out there that Boston Bruins forward Jarome Iginla was getting a free pass by advocates of the game. When that article was posted, he was on pace to record only 14 goals on the year and his most recent goal was an empty netter.
Ever since then, he has turned things around. He has recorded points in three out of his last five games, including a two-goal performance last week against the Edmonton Oilers. He even dislocated his thumb during a fight with Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler and returned to the game. His toughness, along with his offensive production, is starting to balance out.
With all of that being said, it is time for another player to accept some responsibility for his sub-par play. Where are you, Brad Marchand?
The 25-year-old left winger was coming into this season with extremely high expectations. He led the team in goals (18) and points (36) during a lockout-shortened season in 2013. With the departure of Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton, Marchand was poised to take that next step and become a 30-goal scorer.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case. He has just five goals and nine assists through 33 games so far this year and his two-way play has been difficult to watch. Yes, he does have a new linemate in Loui Eriksson, but they have had time to adjust.
This is the perfect opportunity for Marchand to pick things up. The Bruins are approaching a section of their schedule where the matchups favor the forwards against weaker teams. Also, six players who are considered “regulars” in the B’s lineup will continue to be sidelined with various injuries or different circumstances.
The table has been cleared (or in this case, the sheet of ice has been resurfaced) for Marchand to become an elite forward that he was projected to be at the beginning of the year. My words are not influential by any means, but coincidences do happen.
It worked for Iginla. Now, it is his turn.