Monday, 6 May 2019

This Is Just A Bad Look

I watched this moment tonight over and over on the internet as I tried to find the words to describe the look on Brad Marchand's face as Sportsnet's Kyle Bukauskas prepared to interview him post-game. The only word I came up with was "distant", and his answers to the questions Bukauskas asked him were short, direct, and had a touch of fire underneath them. We all know Brad Marchand is an agitator and loves to stir the pot on the ice, but it seems that when Bukauskas tried to have a little fun with him in the pregame warm-up interview, it set the tone for Brad Marchand's media interactions for the night.

As a guy who does between-the-benches interviews for Canada West hockey, I can honestly say that if one wants to make a joke with a player about anything that has happened to said player, that player has to be in on the joke long before it's ever delivered on a live broadcast. We normally don't joke with any of the players during our broadcasts because we never have a chance to speak with them prior to the game to clear these jokes. Bukauskas, to his credit, tried to have a little fun with Marchand over his comments regarding the incident with Cam Atkinson when Marchand stepped on the blade of Atkinson's stick with his skate earlier in the series and claimed Atkinson tried to dull his skate blade. Brad Marchand's reaction indicates he had no idea this was coming and didn't appreciate the little joke played on him by Bukauskas.
I'm not condoning what either person did here, but we've had coaches decline interview requests with players prior to the game so that it doesn't mess with their warm-ups. That's their right, and I will add that we're extremely grateful for those players who stop by between the benches to answer our vanilla questions. In saying that, it's pretty clear that Marchand's response to the first question concerning the hockey game shows he's focused on the game and the job he has to do tonight. The second question about the skate sharpening is clearly unappreciated as he barely answers before skating away.

Bukauskas took a chance and went for a non-vanilla question about something that won't affect anything in Game Six. I can't fault him for that because it could have resulted in something extremely funny. However, with any risk, the potential for loss was there as well, and he lost Brad Marchand by asking about something that had no effect on Game Six. Marchand had a job to do tonight, and he was focused on eliminating the Blue Jackets without any sideshow craziness. Again, Bukauskas took a chance with his question, and he lost on this one. C'est la vie.

The only thing Bukauskas needed to do now was apologize for the earlier question prior to the post-game interview with Marchand following Boston's elimination of Columbus. While Marchand likely didn't trust Bukauskas as much as he should have in this situation, what Marchand did to this post-game interview isn't necessary either as it seems Marchand accepted the interview with the intent on ruining it for Bukauskas.
I would say that Marchand made his point fairly clearly when it comes to Bukauskas' question prior to the game starting. Bukauskas' reactions to Marchand's short, pointed answers were a much better response than what Marchand did in the warm-up interview, but I'm sure Bukauskas saw this coming once Marchand accepted the interview request. Bukauskas learned something about Marchand tonight, and it's likely Kyle Bukauskas will seek interviews with other Bruins in the future after Marchand's antics here tonight. Bukauskas isn't innocent in this, but he certainly looks less hellbent on revenge than Marchand does.

So case closed on this, right?

Well, not exactly as Marchand continued his antics with other media in the locker room.
Look, I get intentionally ruining Kyle Bukauskas' interview at the end of the game. Marchand was unhappy with the line of questioning during the warm-up interview, so he made sure that Bukauskas wasn't going to get anything in the post-game interview either. Game-set-match on that sequence. But why does he continue with his antics when a number of press reporters are trying to get his thoughts on the game and the series? What purpose does this serve after he's already made his point with Bukauskas?

If we're going to be honest, call the Bukauskas-Marchand exchanges in tonight's game as a wash when it comes to who did what to whom. Bukauskas took a shot by asking a question about a situation where Marchand made a joke, and it blew up in his face. He's a professional, he'll continue on, and I doubt this will cause him any issues with other players moving forward.

As for Marchand, he made his point with Bukauskas in the post-game interview, and he can't be fined for answering the questions honestly despite the short, pointed answers he gave. The circus he ran with the media in the room later on in the evening should give a lot of reporters some thought as to whether or not Brad Marchand is a good interview candidate. If he continues to act like he did tonight in the locker room, it might be time to give Marchand a lot of time away from microphones and cameras.

Tonight's interactions between reporters and one player was just a bad look from start to finish.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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