It’s an odd story that has stolen much of the thunder of the NHL Playoffs in 2018. While Brad Marchand’s Boston Bruins are currently going through a war with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Eastern Conference Semifinals series is now tied at a game apiece, the hockey isn’t what’s catching most of the buzz.  It’s the drama that is Brad Marchand kissing and licking players that has everyone talking. But, should we really be surprised?

Marchand has been known throughout his NHL career as controversial at best, enemy No. 1, at worst. Marchand has earned his nasty reputation in the NHL. He’s often a pest, a scrappy enforcer or a cheap-shot artist, aside from being an incredible talent. He played his first full NHL season in 2010-11 and helped his team to the Stanley Cup. It was a great time but even then was overshadowed by the label given to him by the President, Barack Obama who called him  “a little ball of hate.”

Since that day, he’s been given six suspensions paid countless fines and been penalized for every possible infraction imaginable – many of which are of the nasty variety, including spearing a player in the groin. Perhaps most nasty is the kissing and licking of his opponents that he’s started doing and has now been caught for more than five times.

While Marchand has claimed he’s trying to stay away from the stuff that gets him suspended, he has not caught the eye of the league for trying to kiss, nuzzle, cuddle and lick his opponents. It’s an odd thing to think any player might do but of course, Brad Marchand is doing it. He was noticed in November of 2017 trying to kiss Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov. Then, when the two teams met in the first round of this year’s playoffs, Marchand went after Komarov again.

After this incident, it is now being reported that the NHL, through series supervisor of officials Mick McGeough, has had to ask Marchand to quit it although Marchand himself has denied the report. On April 27, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told Kevin Allen of USA Today that the NHL hadn’t been involved, at least not yet. “No, we did not contact the Bruins or Brad Marchand regarding this incident,” he said. “It’s just not true.”

So far in the series against the Lightning, Marchand has managed to stay out of trouble but it looks like he might be having a hard time controlling himself. (see video below)

The semifinals go again on Wednesday night in Boston, and not only will the two teams be fighting to take the edge in the series but fans will be watching to see if the action turns into a romantic drama on the ice.