BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Wednesday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he wasn't happy with Brad Marchand's taunts in Vancouver and that he spoke with the player about it.
Some observers may have taken that statement, added it to the fact that Marchand has not been playing well this season and assumed Marchand is on the trading block.
But if there were any misconceptions out there, Chiarelli wanted to set the record straight.
"Let me be clear on Marchy," said Chiarelli. "I saw some of the aftermath from my comments (Wednesday). I'm not trading Marchy. He's a good player. I like the way he plays. He'll figure it out."
Before breaking out for two goals Thursday night and playing well, Marchand had 14 points through 34 games — on pace for a career-low 33 over an 82-game schedule.
But Chiarelli had seen signs that Marchand is breaking out of his fog.
"He's skating better. He's driving deeper when he's rushing with the puck. I see him making plays. He pulls up a little sooner when he doesn't have the confidence," said Chiarelli. "I've seen him beat guys one-on-one and I've seen him make plays on both sides, the right side and the left side. He's not giving away as many pucks. The biggest thing for me is he's skating better."
Chiarelli might have been on to something, for Marchand had his best game in recent memory. The only drawback was that he just missed a couple chances to give the B's a third goal in the 4-2 loss to the Sabres.
Maybe the performance will finally get him going.
"You hope so," said Marchand. "It was nice to get one or two, but all that really matters is that we lost. I thought we had a pretty good game and we could have deserved more. But we have to regroup and play better next game."
Speaking of Marchand, the winger spoke for the first time about the hit from behind on Calgary's Sean Monahan that angered the Flames and earned him a two-minute minor for boarding but no supplemental discipline. Marchand thinks the refs — and the Department of Player Safety — got it right.
"Things happen quickly in a game. I kind of thought he was going to turn at the last second, just the way he was positioned," said Marchand. "It's not like I plowed him through the boards. He got up and he was fine. I think it was the right call. You don't have to be suspending guys for every single hit and completely take any kind of physicality out of the game. It's not what they want to do and they're doing the right job by taking dangerous hits out. I mean, that guy was fine and we moved on. I got a penalty, I served it, we moved on." . . .
Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber tried to get Milan Lucic to fight after he had taken a holding penalty on Lucic in the first, but Lucic refused. Weber still got him off the ice with matching roughing penalties, but coach Claude Julien liked the restraint Lucic showed.
"He doesn't have to fight every time," said Julien. "That's what we've told him before. Everyone knows he's tough, but he's a top-line player and we need him on the ice more than we need him in the penalty box. I thought he did what he needed to do."
Defenseman David Warsofsky made his NHL debut, seeing 12:29 of ice time.
"It was exciting. I was nervous at the beginning but I thought once I got into the game and once I started skating a little bit, it was fun. I wish we could have gotten the win but it was a good first experience," said the Marshfield, Mass., native/Boston University product.
Warsofsky had a tough break go against him on the Sabres' tying goal late in the second when he deflected Jamie McBain's shot wide but it went right to Marcus Foligno for the goal.
"One of those bounces you get in hockey. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't," said Warsofsky, whose parents and three brothers were in attendance. . . .
Matt Fraser got into his first NHL fight, squaring off with Foligno early in the first period.
"I'll never be mistaken for a fighter, but anything I can do to help stay in the lineup or help get the momentum our way, I'm definitely willing to do that," said Fraser. "I definitely don't want to be known as a one-dimensional player. Those top-six guys can do it all. You look at Looch and he can literally do it all. And (Jarome) Iginla can do it all. It's something you strive for."
Sabres tough guy John Scott had kind words for Shawn Thornton, who appealed his 15-game suspension for jumping Brooks Orpik to commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday in New York.
"It's not like Shawn Thornton. He's an honorable guy, a good guy," said Scott. "I think he just got caught up in the moment and I was actually surprised that it happened."
His thoughts on the appeal?
"He's allowed to do that. Obviously 15 games is a lot of games. He decided that was the best route. All the best for him and hopefully it goes well and he gets what he deserves," said Scott.
Scott, who was suspended seven games for elbowing Loui Eriksson in the head earlier this season, was a healthy scratch last night.