Courtesy of Hertz

Drive to the Net: Marchand cries with cause ☕️

If it's true that good things happen to good people, what, pray tell, gets illustrated by Brad Marchand maybe costing the Bruins the Stanley Cup?

Look, I'll venture to tell upbeat tales of upstanding citizens across the scope of sports. That's the good part of this gig. But dammit, this is hockey, and there's no discussing hockey without at least a little genuine enjoyment in someone else's suffering. And within that context, there couldn't have been many more satisfying sights following Game 7 than that of Marchand in tears as he watched the Blues celebrate at the far end of the Boston ice.

A few hollow souls even made memes out of it on social media:

Hey, if karma was going to kick anyone on the way out of the NHL's 2018-19 season, it was going to be this face-licking, slew-footing, rabbit-punching, reporter-trolling, posing, preening weirdo. And ideally, it'd come via something dumb enough to resonate through playoff history for a generation or two.

So, let's get to it lickety-split ...

That up there is the live view and, uncommonly,  it's the most damning.

Roughly a dozen seconds remain in the first period as the Blues' Jaden Schwartz carries the puck through the neutral zone, then banks the puck off the right boards to himself in a classic ball-hockey move. The player who chips him at the Boston blue line, albeit barely, is Marchand.

And yeah, he's also the one who then bolts to the bench and waves for a change on the fly.

With fewer than 10 ticks on the clock.

With the Blues rushing into his zone.

Ultimately, with Alex Pietrangelo also slipping by Marchand and tucking the puck behind Tuukka Rask with a sweet backhander.

I mean ... that's an incredibly ill-advised change in a September camp scrimmage, never mind Game 7 of the Final. There's literally no purpose to it. All that matters in that scenario from the Bruins' perspective is keeping bodies back and playing to the horn.

Watch it again, this time from Rask's view:

From here, it's easier to see how understandably late Marchand's replacement hops over the boards -- why would anything be ready for anything on the fly? -- as well as the chaos that's caused among the Bruins, who'd need poor David Pastrnak to try in vain to grab Pietrangelo from the far wing.

If that's not enough -- I'll bet it's not -- watch how Marchand simultaneously raises his left arm to the bench as Pietrangelo skates by.

I mean ... it's inexplicable to the truest definition of the term.

Befitting that, Marchand didn't offer much of an explanation to reporters afterward: “I don’t know. They chipped it in. I thought Schwartz was by himself, so I went for a change, and a couple more guys jumped up on the play. I didn’t see the replay, but yeah.”

Even allowing for emotion, there's no logic there. Thinking that "Schwartz was by himself" suggests that he didn't see Pietrangelo practically pulling out the EZPass to go through him. Never mind the Blues' Brayden Schenn approaching up the left wing, stride for stride with Schwartz.

Never mind, yet again, the period was almost over.

That put St. Louis up, 2-0, and as Boston coach Bruce Cassidy plainly assessed afterward, "We kind of missed an assignment and they made a play, a nice play by Pietrangelo. But you’re probably talking a different game if it’s 1-0 coming out of the first. I do believe that.”

So do I. The Bruins owned that period but for two letdowns. One could have been survived had they kept coming. Two was too much with how the Blues can -- and did -- clamp down.

In lieu of cards and flowers, send future suspension money.

MORE DRIVE TO THE NET

June 13: O'Reilly, Blues dig up  glory
June 12: Trailing Tuukka's tracks
June 11: Blues must change QBs
June 10: When stupid tops strategy

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