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June 18, 2013

Marchand draws line between dirty and tough

BOSTON — Brad Marchand is known in Boston as the “Little Ball of Hate,” a nickname that captures his stature — he’s listed at 5-foot-9 — and his tendency to get on the nerves of opposing players.

An offensive threat who led the Bruins in scoring in the regular season, Marchand entered Monday night’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals tied for the team lead in penalty minutes.

But he’s yet to get sent to the box in the finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Give him time.

“I haven’t really tried to do a whole lot,” he said. “I’m just trying to play the game. Everyone is so caught up in trying to antagonize guys and stuff like that; it just doesn’t happen like that. It comes with the game and you have to react to different situations.”

Marchand was asked after Monday morning’s skate what the difference is between a dirty player and one who is just tough.

“When you’re getting suspensions and stuff like that, that’s playing dirty,” he said. “You play hard, a lot of things happen in a game. But I don’t think anybody is out there trying to injure guys.”

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said he understood that Marchand was just “doing his job.”

“We know the style of hockey he wants to play, and we’re not going to buy into the antics and the things he wants to try to pull on us out there,” he said. “That’s the best way to control a player like that, I guess.”

Youthful Toews: In 2006, Jonathan Toews was an 18-year-old star waiting to be chosen near the top of the NHL draft. During the Stanley Cup finals that year, he was one of the leading prospects who attended a game, a practice the NHL began in 1994.

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