Marchand travels to Florida with Bruins, as Sweeney demands more transparency from NHL

BOSTON — Brad Marchand is seemingly making progress after a hit from Florida’s Sam Bennett knocked him out of Friday night’s Game 3 between the Bruins and the Panthers. But the Bruins will likely be without their captain for a second straight playoff game when they look to stave off elimination Tuesday night in Florida.

Marchand remains day to day and there were signs of progress on Monday. He returned to the ice for a quick skate and then traveled with the team ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 5, which are both steps in the right direction.

However, while confirming that Marchand skated and traveled with the team, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made it sound like the Bruins would have to extend their season beyond Tuesday in order to see Marchand in game action again.

“He’s still day to day and hopefully continues. Guys have got to give him a chance,” Sweeney told reporters before the Bruins departed for Florida.

Update on the health of Brad Marchand from #NHLBruins GM Don Sweeney – @wbz — Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) May 13, 2024

Marchand didn’t play in Sunday night’s 3-2 loss at TD Garden, sitting out Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with the upper body injury he suffered early in Game 3. Marchand took a hard — and dirty — hit from Bennett in the first period, and though he stayed in the game and played through the second period, he was ruled out for game’s final frame.

A new angle of the play that was released Sunday showed Bennett hit Marchand with a right hook as he made contact with the B’s captain. The NHL apparently didn’t have that angle until Sunday, but still wouldn’t have suspended Bennett for the hit, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.

To make matters worse for Boston, Bennett ended up scoring a controversial game-tying goal in the third period in Game 4.

On Monday, Sweeney made it clear that he wants to see more transparency from the NHL when it comes to hits like Bennett’s on Marchand.

“The Department of Player Safety needs to make a statement on how they interpret that situation,” said Sweeney. “We’ve seen every angle you can possibly imagine. No different than when Brad himself has been called to the carpet and comparables are looked at.

“That’s their job, their responsibility — to protect the players,” said Sweeney. “We have to respect that, whatever their judgment is.”

Bennett defended himself on TNT after Sunday’s game in Boston, saying that he was bracing himself for contact from Marchand when he delivered the hit.

“People can see it however they want. It’s playoff hockey,” said Bennett. “There’s going to be hard plays. Obviously, it’s unfortunate he got hit, but that’s just a hockey play in my mind.”

The Bruins could certainly use Marchand back in the fold Tuesday night, as they trail the Panthers 3-1 in the series. Marchand has three goals and seven assists in his 10 game this postseason, and leads the Bruins with 10 points.

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