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NHL

Give Me Multiple Overtimes Or Don’t Even Bother

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his game winning goal in overtime against the Washington Capitals in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC.The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Brad Marchand is, I think we can all agree, a bit of a bastard. Not for any of the reasons you think he is, because nobody’s asking you, but for what he did Monday night in the Boston Bruins’ 4-3 win over Washington.

At this point, you may be wracking your brain for what it could have been, and most of you would guess the stick exchange he had with Anthony Mantha in the second period, but he does stick stuff all the time; just ask Jake Dotchin’s groin about that. Or maybe it was the roughing penalty he took at the expense of Brenden Dillon, himself a bit of a bar fight in human form. But again, no big deal—Marchand has 925 career penalty minutes, plus six suspensions totaling 19 games, so he does that more often than merely routinely.

It isn’t how he starts fights he has no intention of getting involved in as part of his role as the game’s Amish Loki. It’s isn’t his smug face, with the nose he fashioned by slamming a piano lid down on it 25 times a day as a youth, or the fact that Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards risks a coronary any time he believes Marchand has been wronged by an official or opponent (or even righted), and by “any time” we of course mean “every time.” It is none of those things, and you’re all small-minded hatemongers for bringing any of them up.

What he did wrong last night was score the winning goal 39 seconds into overtime, which quite frankly is a horrible thing for anyone to do. Overtime is meant to be savored, not ruined as soon as the drink arrives by having the prick at the next table grab it off your table, drink it in one gulp and then run off, which is also something I fully imagine Marchand would do.

Now don’t misunderstand, oh miscellaneous Bruins fan killing time between court appearances. I don’t care THAT he actually scored the goal, but WHEN he did. It’s that he did it like he had a Lyft waiting outside the arena. Thirty-nine seconds isn’t overtime. It’s not enough time to get the Zamboni off the ice, and threatens to crush the typically thin-clad elves who help squeegee the surface after the Zamboni leaves. NBC’s John Forslund was barely out of the press box men’s room when Marchand scored, and he was still holding the wet paper towel with which he washed his hands. Frankly, it is a measure of his stern professionalism that he didn’t describe the goal by saying, “Well, shit. Now to Kathryn Tappen in the studio.”

Multiple overtimes are an article of faith for all right-thinking hockey fans, of which I must sadly report that Comrade Theisen is not. She has described short overtimes as, and I’m quoting here, “like when the teacher dismisses you before the bell,” a blasphemy which ought to be legally actionable on its face and worthy of six months at the Making Small Rocks Out Of Big Ones Prison Farm. In fairness to her, though, her twin devotions to the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings (in that order) has seared her sensibilities because she hasn’t seen a playoff game in four years.

But we digress. All sports fans understand that this feature, that only hockey has among the  major sporting money-sucks, is something they all wish their favorite sports had. It is a glorious thing that only sudden death (or if you prefer, first-score) overtime possesses. Even football, which used to have it, abandoned it out of misplaced claims of fairness and getting the game over with. The ignorant jackals.

But we digress a second time. This is about Marchand, and how he ruined the rest of the evening for all hockey fans everywhere because the game didn’t actually reach overtime by the most sensible description of the term, which is, “Overtime is is spelled ‘overtimes.'”  Single overtimes are a cheap tease, like being asked out to a steak restaurant only to find out that the meal has been pre-ordered by a vegan. Or, to be all equal time-y about it, to go to a vegan restaurant and have your dining partner slap a home-brought pork chop on your plate. (Your dining partner is Brad Marchand.) Single overtimes are a mockery of the concept, and it is why the cruelest goal in Stanley Cup history is Mike Bossy’s winner at 19:58 of the first overtime period in Game 1 of the Final against Vancouver in 1982. The Islanders went on to sweep that series, and I am convinced it is because the Canucks felt cheated by the lack of more overtimes and never recovered.

No, I lie. The Bossy goal is second cruelest. The cruelest is Brian Skrudland’s goal to end Game 2 of the 1986 Final between Montreal and Calgary because that took only nine seconds. Nine freaking seconds. That’s not even a regulation-time goal; that’s the last goal of warmups. According to the laws and standards set down by, well, me, Skrudland is therefore a bastard too, even if his resume for all-encompassing bastardy isn’t nearly as long as Marchand’s.

Multiple overtimes are the only way a decent human being conducts his or her life, but if you are limited to one overtime, Marchand still screwed you out of yours last night. Indeed, you barely got one of Comrade Burneko’s Flaming Anchovy pot pies out of the oven and sat down just as the little hyena ended the game, leaving you with no game at all and something you really didn’t want to eat but grabbed because it was closest to its expiration date. You then spent the rest of the night looking for Blues-Avalanche and despaired before you realized it was on CNBC, the home of Shark Tank, the show where four Brad Marchands in varying costumes tell young entrepreneurs with products nobody actually needs that they are useless failures and over-evolved lampreys who are bereft of useful ideas and are actively stealing oxygen from the rich folks who already have enough but need more just in case.

See? Marchand did all of that damage to you and your evening because he was in such a hurry to get on the plane that he couldn’t grasp the true meaning of overtime. A series that has given us two overtimes in two games (and all credit and honor for that) has ended them after only a combined five minutes and 20 seconds, or half the average ice time of Washington’s Daniel Sprong. Nic Dowd’s goal in Game 1 was a profound disappointment. Brad Marchand’s was an outrage, and the unmistakable act of a bastard.