One of three Bruins invited to camp, some of that shock may be attributed to the fact that Marchand is one of only eight prospective Olympians who has not represented Canada at the senior level (along with Karl Alzner, Corey Crawford, Travis Hamonic, Braden Holtby, Kris Letang, Milan Lucic and Carey Price).
BUT, if you've been paying any amount of attention to what he has done in his 3 years in Boston OR what he accomplished in his junior days, the possibility of seeing Brad Marchand wearing the good kind of maple leaf in February doesn't seem all that outlandish.
Success in Boston
Known for his pesky style and penchant for big goals, Marchand really made his mark during the 2011 Cup run. In those 25 playoff games, Marchand scored 11 goals (including 2 in the decisive Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks), chipped in 8 assists and added 40 PIM (just 11 less than he had amassed in 71 regular season games) while routinely getting under his opponents skin (including two Swedes and an American ... hmmmm).
Big games, crucial situations, and Brad Marchand (as a rookie) was right in the thick of things and making a huge impact.
Having said that, it's no secret that Marchand didn't exactly excel during the Bruins latest run to the Final: 4 goals and 9 assists in 22 GP. He was largely invisible against the Blackhawks, and wasn't much of a scorer or a pest in that series. He was, however, one of only five Bruins forward with a positive 5v5 CorsiOn in those 22 games (13.2), and what often stood out was his ability to create chances, like this one vs Pittsburgh.
And hey, maybe he was just distracted by the alleged antics Tyler Seguin and/or thrown off by having a new line mate to play with in Jaromir Jagr.
On a larger scale (and for the visual learners out there), here's a handy table to break it down the goals scored by Bruins forwards over the past 3 seasons:
The Bruins, of course, have had an amazing stretch of success during this time, and here we see Marchand with the most goals scored of any Bruins forward. Not bad.
As a rookie, Marchand scored 21 goals, good for 4th among Bruins and tied for 5th among all NHL rookies (behind fellow Canadians Logan Couture, Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner). In 2011-12, Marchand scored 28 goals for the Bruins, second only to Tyler Seguin for the team lead, a feat accomplished in 5 less games played and on 75 less shots on goal. This past season, he led the Bruins in goals (18) on only 91 shots (19.8 S%); he also ranked first on the team in PPG, SHG and GWG, and with a CorsiOn of 23.49, he demonstrated an ability to play and create opportunities in all situations.
The Junior Story
To take it back to the junior days, it should come as no surprise that Marchand has been able to achieve this level of success at the NHL level. In the QMJHL (as per eliteprospects.com), Marchand was better than a point per game player, scoring 102 goals and adding 146 assists for a total of 248 points in 242 GP. He also added 319 PIM, early evidence of the chippy style of play that he’s now known for.
And in 65 junior playoff games, Marchand scored 25 goals and 54 assists (with 95 PIM), including an amazing run in 2006-07 where he scored 16 goals and 24 assists in 20 playoff games as the assistant captain for the Val d’Or Foreurs, who would go on to be swept in the league finals despite his efforts.
Marchand also excelled at the World Junior level, winning two Gold medals with Team Canada (2007, 2008.) During the ’08 tournament (while serving as an assistant captain), he scored 4 goals in 7 games, tied with teammates Kyle Turris and John Tavares for the team lead, and more than current NHL superstars and Team Canada probables Steven Stamkos (1) and Claude Giroux (2).
It should be noted that these tournaments were played overseas, and, as Justin Bourne notes, it's a whole different game on the bigger sheet of ice. As such, guys who have done well over there should be given extra consideration, since, you know, Canada's recent Gold medals have come in Olympics played exclusively in North America.
Not So Dramatic Conclusion
What's the point of all of this? One could look at that list of guys (and several others who were not invited) and easily make a case for Team Canada consideration based on their respective hockey CV's. But that's precisely the point: if them, then why not Brad Marchand? He has a proven track record at every level, he raises the level of his game in big situations, he's the highest scoring Bruin over the past 3 years, his name is on the Cup and he has won 2 Gold medals for Canada on international ice surfaces.
Yes, he struggled to make an impact during these past playoffs, but if he comes out firing in October, there's every reason to believe that he should get serious consideration to represent Canada in Sochi.
Oh, and don't forget that Marchand's line mate over the past 3 years has been Patrice Bergeron, who appears to be a lock to make the team. Based on 2010, Steve Yzerman puts a premium on preexisting chemistry (hello Sharks line), and that may be an advantage for Marchand.
We all know that Canada possesses a boat load of hockey talent, so maybe this is a long shot. But based on his production and the role he plays, it's not out of the question.
Som #MarchandForSochi anyone?