September 13, 2011

Fischler Report: Time running out on Marchand?

By Stan Fischler

Brad Marchand hoists the Stanley Cup (photo: Getty) Despite not yet having a contract, Boston forward Brad Marchand was on the Ristuccia Arena ice last week in Wilmington, Mass., alongside 20 of his teammates, as the Bruins begin the process of looking to defend their Stanley Cup.

“I’m anxious for it to be done,” Marchand said. “I just want to be here and be on the ice with the guys. That’s all I’m looking forward to.”

Coming off his entry-level contract, Marchand is projected to be the Bruins No. 2 wing. However, his spot may be in jeopardy if the forward isn’t signed before the start of training camp.

“I’m not thinking that far ahead right now,” he said. “It’s just day-to-day. Hopefully it’s done before then.”

Observations

* Sidney Crosby was as good off-ice as he was on the rinks before being K.O.’d by concussions. His bring-everyone-up-to-date press conference could not have been handled better by The Kid, Penguins GM Ray Shero or the two head-injury specialists invited by the Penguins.

Crosby was as candid and insightful as one could be, never ducking a question and never cutting any questioner short. Ditto for Pittsburgh's affable GM and the medics. But no matter what any theorizes, it's clear that: 1. Sid is not free of symptoms; and 2. Nobody can foresee how a few hard -- but clean -- hits will affect Crosby whenever he does return to action.

* Last week’s Lokomotiv disaster will be further compounded if investigators determine that negligence by an airline with a questionable safety record played a part in this horror of horrors.

The hockey world is smaller than many think and -- like so many others -- we count a number of ice pals among the victims. Among them, former Bruins player Brad McCrimmon, who was as solid a defenseman as he was a stand-up guy. Few loved, played or -- in later coaching life -- diagnosed The Game as well as Brad. He will be admirably remembered for his affability as much for his starry efforts, most especially when “The Beast” and Mark Howe combined for one of the best two-way defensive pairs in history.

Gossip

* Isn't it interesting that within two weeks of the Bruins announcing that the concussed Marc Savardwould not play in 2011-2012, the man who bopped the Bruins ace out of competition, Matt Cooke, is explaining how he's going to be a reformed hockey player?

Even more interesting is the fact that not one questioner at the Sid Crosby press conference last week brought up the fact that Sid's teammate, Cooke, ruined Savard's career; and what did Crosby have to say about that now that his own concussion symptoms have not fully disappeared?

You can bet that Cooke's deportment will be viewed as intensely as closely-watched trains.

* There are those who believe that the best of former Boston College star Scott Clemmensen -- yes, as a starting goalie -- has yet to be seen. Who knows? Clemmer may get more ice now that he has a new coach in Florida.

* The Devils' top center, Travis Zajac, spoke for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon during offseason training. Speaking with Tom Gulitti's “Fire & Ice” blog, Zajac revealed that the timetable for his return to the ice has still not been determined. When the surgery was conducted back in August, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello (Providence, R.I.) said Zajac's recovery would take three months.

* That Ryan Callahan was a sure thing to be named Rangers captain -- which he now is -- was not an open-netter. Brad Richards, Marc Staal and Brandon Dubinsky all were reasonable choices. Nonetheless, Cally epitomizes what coach John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.) hockey is all about. In the end, Cally's selection is a natural.

Stan Fischler can be reached at FischlerReport@gmail.com