<
>

Bruins' Brad Marchand suspended

BOSTON -- Bruins forward Brad Marchand was suspended by the NHL for two games Thursday as a result of his hit to the head of Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger during Tuesday's game in Columbus.

Marchand had a disciplinary hearing with the league Thursday morning, after which his punishment was announced.

"Any time there's a head shot right now, with the amount of concussions and how they're trying to get that out of the game, there's going to be a reaction to it," Marchand said after the morning skate in Nashville to prepare for Thursday night's game against the Predators. "And that's what happened."

With eight minutes remaining in the second period, Umberger -- who did not have control of the puck in the neutral zone -- was caught from behind by Marchand with an elbow. Umberger went down, but was not injured as play continued, and Marchand was not given a penalty. The Bruins won the game 3-2 in a shootout.

Marchand is the fourth Bruins player this season to have a hearing with the league, but only the second to receive a suspension.

Milan Lucic was not suspended following a match penalty against the Atlanta Thrashers in December. Daniel Paille was suspended five games for his hit to the head of Dallas Stars forward Raymond Sawada in February.

And captain Zdeno Chara was not suspended after a hearing last week for his hit on Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty.

Marchand has 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points in 66 games this season. The Bruins play the Predators Thursday night in Nashville.

"I understand where the league's coming from," Marchand said. "They really want to crack down on head hits right now. Obviously, I'm disappointed to have to miss a couple games. It's always frustrating when you have to watch your team play. But I understand why. And the biggest thing now is you have to regroup and make sure I'm ready for when I can get back in action."

He will forfeit $6,330.64 in salary and be eligible to return March 22 against New Jersey.

"You go out there and you can't let it change your game," Marchand said. "There's always going to be hits to the head, especially with how fast guys are, and how big and strong they are, and how physical guys are. It's always going to be there. The biggest thing is that you can't be taking cheap shots. I think that's where you've got to draw the line."

Marchand said he watched the tape a couple of times and acknowledged that he hit Umberger in the head, but said he wasn't aiming high or trying to injure anyone.

"I did get him in the head," he said. "That wasn't my intention. I was just trying to make contact. That stuff happens in hockey. It's a rough sport. Sometimes that happens, and you have to live with it."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.