Brad Marchand hasn’t always followed the rules to a tee during his NHL career, but he’s certainly making sure he follows all the league’s COVID protocols now.
If anyone needed a reminder of the importance of doing so, the Washington Capitals offered one this week. Four of their best players -- Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov -- were placed on the COVID-related absence list and the team was fined $100,000 for a violation of protocols, stemming from the four gathering in a hotel room during a recent road trip and doing so without wearing masks.
Players are not permitted to hold any gatherings outside of those approved by the league, such as team meetings or meals.
The Capitals released a statement saying they were “disappointed” in the players’ decision and Ovechkin released his own statement saying, “I regret my choice to spend time together with my teammates in our hotel room and away from the locker room areas. I will learn from this experience.”
While every player probably misses being able to hang out with teammates in someone’s room during road trips, Marchand didn’t seem to have much sympathy for the Capitals players when asked about the situation on Thursday.
“I think the big thing is, it’s more a respect thing,” Marchand said. “We all want to be able to play, and there’s rules put in place for a reason. They’re not that hard to follow. We all know the consequences of breaking the rules, and we know what the rules are. So they brought that on themselves. We’ve all been told very heavily what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do, so it is what it is on their side of things.
“I think it just comes down to having respect for one another. You can easily hurt your team by breaking the rules and potentially getting it and having to quarantine. It’s pretty simple to follow the rules. If you get it by chance, it is what it is. It’s almost inevitable. But if you’re going to put yourself in a situation, that’s on you.”
On another Capitals-related note, Marchand said he hasn’t watched much of Zdeno Chara with his new team, but his reason for not doing so isn’t what you’d expect.
“I kind of canceled my cable, so I haven’t been able to really watch hockey, and I haven’t been focusing on other teams,” Marchand said. “But I have seen a couple clips, and it is weird to see him in a different jersey.
“He’s obviously been here my entire career, the last 14 years, 15 years, whatever it’s been. It almost seemed like that was where he was going to be forever, but I think it speaks volumes to his character and who he is that he was willing to make a change like that, this late in his career. He wants to continue to play, no matter what that was going to take. He’s one of the best to ever play for a reason. He’s got that drive and that dedication.”
And on a non-Capitals note, Marchand was in rare form when asked about the NHL’s recent announcement that it was pulling microchipped pucks that were being used for tracking over concerns with their performance. Marchand was asked if he had noticed any difference with the pucks.
“Yeah, they wouldn’t go in the net,” Marchand joked, referencing the Bruins’ offensive struggles. “I don’t know what was going on with them. Maybe that was just for us. I mean, it’s tough. Maybe the weight felt a little different, but I can’t really say a whole lot about it. I didn’t even know they were in there. One of the refs asked me about it a couple games ago and I had no idea they were in there when he asked me. So I really don’t have a whole lot to say about it, to be honest.”