Boston Bruins wing Brad Marchand says nobody from the NHL has told him to stop licking opponents, despite reports to the contrary.
“No one said anything to me,” Marchand told NBCSportsBoston.com via text on Friday morning.
“If they are worried about that the league has much bigger issues. If they call, it’s a perfect example of the Toronto media controlling the league.”
He sent a separate denial in response to a tweet from the Boston Globe about the story, saying simply, “This is false.”
The NHL confirmed Marchand’s statement on Friday to USA Today.
“No, we did not contact the Bruins or Brad Marchand regarding this incident,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. “It’s just not true.”
On Thursday, it was reported that league officials had called the Bruins’ front office this month and asked them to tell Marchand to keep his tongue to himself, according to an article posted on SportsNet, a Canadian sports news site.
Marchand pressed his mouth to the neck of Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov during Game 1 of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup playoffs series against Toronto and appeared to lick him in a bid to disrupt Komarov’s game.
After the game, Marchand was asked by a reporter, “What is it about Komarov that makes you want to cuddle with him?” according to the Boston Globe.
“He keeps trying to get close to me,” Marchand replied with a wry smile. “So I don’t know if he has a thing for me or what. But he’s cute.”
The two players have a bit of a history. During a game in November, Marchand appeared to attempt to plant a kiss on Komarov’s cheek. Asked about it afterward, Komarov said, “I kind of liked it.”
A message was communicated to Marchand through supervisor of officials Mick McGeough, according to ESPN.com.
Marchand has three goals and six assists in seven playoff games for the Bruins, who begin their second-round series at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
–Field Level Media