On Wednesday, the NHL announced it was suspending Brad Marchand for 5 games after he elbowed the head of New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson during Tuesday night’s game. Johansson suffered a concussion as a result of the elbow, his second of the season. The NHL Department of Player Safety took into consideration the injury, as well as the unnecessary extension of the elbow and Marchand’s past disciplinary history.

For Marchand, this is his ninth time receiving a punishment from the DoPS in his nine season NHL career. It is his sixth career suspension and his second suspension specifically for elbowing after being suspended two games in 2011 for the same offense. His other suspensions include five games for clipping in 2012, two games for slew footing in 2015, three more games for clipping in 2015, and two games for spearing in 2017. He has also been fined for slew footing in 2011, roughing in 2015, and dangerous tripping in 2017.

For the Bruins, five games without their leader in goals (21), assists (29), and points (50), despite him having missed eight games already due to injury, provides the team a mid-season challenge. Marchand has been a part of the league’s best lines with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. The offensive production is almost unmatched with all three being 20 goal scorers already, and their defensive play is astounding. Marchand is also an important piece to both the power play and penalty kill.

Marchand’s suspension creates a hole on the top line that needs to be filled. Danton Heinen has filled that spot earlier in the year, but the team could look to fill it with a call-up from Providence considering how Heinen has clicked on the third line with Riley Nash and David Backes.

Additionally, both Bergeron and Noel Acciari missed practice on Wednesday; Bergeron due to sickness and Acciari due to injury. The Bruins recalled Anders Bjork from Providence on an emergency basis.

The forward lines for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators will look a little differently than they have during the rest of the team’s 17-game point streak. Today’s morning skate indicates Bergeron will play and Bjork will take the top line spot left empty because of the suspension. It also seems with Acciari out, UMass Amherst alumni Frank Vatrano will see his first game since December 21.

Luckily for the Bruins, they have already built up a buffer of points during their current streak. The next five games will be a test for the team’s depth after losing their most productive player in Marchand. His missed games include a big game against the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on February 3rd, as both teams battle for second in the Atlantic Division.

Marchand is still allowed to go to All Star weekend as the only representative of the Bruins. This All Star appearance will be Marchand’s second after going last season as well. Alexander Ovechkin bowed out of the All Star game in 2012 because of the three game suspension he received right before it, but there is no indication that Marchand will do the same.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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