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01-08-2012, 07:31 PM
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At best, Marchand panics at the last moment and dives down to avoid getting hit. The resulting injury is an unintended consequence. Marchand's actions are still craven, stupid, and worthy of suspension.

At worst, Marchand fakes a play on the puck to suck Salo into committing himself to throwing a hit and Marchand then times his move so that Salo has no way to defend himself. Essentially this is intent to inflict injury on an opponent; he willfully makes a dangerous and dirty hit.

Although Marchand will plead the former and it is impossible to definitively say what went through his head, I think he is guilty of the latter here for a number of reasons. First, about 8-10 seconds prior to the incident, both players came together in the same corner from very similar positions. Marchand takes the shoulder to shoulder contact like a man. The second time around he adapts his play with ill intent. The way he lets moves his stick past the puck looks like an intentional feint. The sequence is too well timed to suggest Marchand was only reacting and trying to protect himself. Second, Marchand has proven that he has this manoeuvere in his repertoire as an act of aggression. It doesn't look as though he just tries to avoid contact, it looks like he delivers a hit with as much force as he can at the lowest possible point and follows through. Finally, Marchand has a history, indicating that he is capable of malicious play.

He deserves 4-5 games.

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