BOSTON -- As Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, prepared to head to Raleigh, N.C., to participate in the skills competition at All-Star weekend, fellow rookie Brad Marchand was the one swarmed by the media Wednesday night.
Marchand scored his 13th goal of the season and his seventh in 11 games to help the Bruins beat the Panthers 2-1. Cast as an agitator earlier this season, Marchand keeps proving the critics wrong -- and enjoying it.
“I don’t think anyone even thought that I might score 10 this year,” Marchand said. “It was nice to kind of have a little offensive play here and there, but I don’t care what anyone says. I have to go to work here. Whatever happens, that’s how it goes.
“I thought I might be able to score 10. I knew I could make it. Last year I know I could have had a bunch, and they just weren’t going in, they weren’t bouncing the right way. This year, I knew if I kept getting opportunities they were eventually going to go in.”
Would Marchand like to be headed to Raleigh with Seguin and be recognized for his 13 goals, now sixth best among rookies?
“It would be nice, but really I don’t care,” Marchand said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing my family and just getting some rest.”
More important than All-Star accolades is that Marchand's teammates and coach have had faith in him and taken note of his hard work in practice.
“You could see him shooting the puck well in practice, it was there, it wasn’t happening in the game,” Claude Julien said. “So I think it was a matter of encouraging him and I know that we had many discussions and talked to him about taking that shot when he has the opportunity.
“I thought early on he was trying to make too many plays and sometimes passing up those shooting opportunities, and I think he’s getting confidence now at picking the right times to shoot the pucks or hold on to it. He’s making the right plays. Am I surprised? Not really. I think we knew he was an energy guy and production-wise we knew he could produce.”
Julien said Marchand predicted this recent scoring outburst.
“He told me at some point he was going to score 20 for us this year, and I think he had two goals and we were getting close to that halfway mark, right?” Julien said with a smile. “I told him he had to pick it up, and he answered the call pretty good.
“He’s really done a good job lately, and obviously playing with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and Rex [Mark Recchi], guys that seem to complement him well, has given that a pretty steady line. He’s one of those guys that you have to be pleased for in the first half, how he’s responded and what he’s given us.”