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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Debate Over Sam Bennett ‘Punch’ on Brad Marchand Rolls Into Game 4



Bennett marchand
Sam Bennett heads to the bench after colliding with Boston captain Brad Marchand on Friday night. It has been quite controversial. // TNT

Did Sam Bennett punch Brad Marchand early on during Game 3 on Friday night?

The Boston Bruins certainly seem to think so.

Whether it was a ‘rabbit punch,’ or a sucker punch as NESN’s Boston-based commentator Andrew Raycroft called it, folks in Boston are pretty upset with Bennett.

Truth is, it is hard to tell from the angle of the TNT cameras whether Bennett meant to pop Marchand in the head or not.

It certainly appears that Bennett did catch him, however, as Marchand went down and looked woozy on the bench. He would not have crumpled like that with a shot to the shoulder.

Darren Pang seemed to have a pretty good view of the whole thing — which Marchand himself instigated.

With Bennett playing the puck off the wall and headed to the bench, Marchand skated in and lowered his shoulder; Bennett spotted him, braced for the hit and sent Marchand sprawling.

After being helped off the ice, Marchand left the bench for a minute, returned to the game and played through the second period. He did not play the third. Marchand was also missing from Saturday’s practice.

The Boston captain may not play tonight in Game 4.

What we do know is that no one really mentioned the ‘punch’ on Friday night; if the Bruins thought their captain was victim of a cheap shot, they certainly did not do anything about it.

No one, including the Boston media, asked Bennett about it after the game.

It really only became a story on Saturday morning and then grew when Boston coach Jim Montgomery talked about it.

“My eyes weren’t on the exact play … but having seen it, there’s a history there,” Montgomery said. “Bennett [is a] good, hard player, but there’s clearly evidence of what went on. People can say it wasn’t intentional. We have our view of it.”

Here is how it is being written up:

Florida Hockey Now — Bruins Call Bennett Hit on Marchand Dirty. OK Then…

Miami Herald — Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins have differing opinions on Bennett-Marchand collision

AP — Bruins hoping Marchand can return and give team a boost in Game 4 vs Panthers

Boston Hockey Now — Montgomery Implies Intent to Injure By Bennett on Marchand

NBC Boston — Bruins-Panthers animosity hits new level after Bennett hit on Marchand

ESPN — Brad Marchand questionable for G4; Bruins unhappy with hit

Boston GlobeJim Montgomery not happy with Sam Bennett’s apparent punch against Brad Marchand

Boston Herald — Jim Montgomery didn’t like Sam Bennett hit on Brad Marchand

Sportsnet — Bruins, Panthers debate Sam Bennett’s hit on Brad Marchand

NHL.comStanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Marchand day to day for Bruins


Brandon Montour is cool under pressure. And thrown water bottles, too.

Nick Cousins is the latest Florida player to be scratched due to the team’s depth — and the return of Bennett.

— The Panthers power play got going in Game 3 and the penalty kill has kept the Bruins off the board this entire series. Story at 10.

Sergei Bobrovsky is not facing many shots this postseason. That’s good and bad.

— How the Panthers put the hammer to Boston in Game 3.

— Bennett has an instant impact in his return to the Panthers.

— Don’t forget to subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel. Lots of video from practice, pregame and the postgame.


The Carolina Hurricanes survive Game 4, send series with the New York Rangers back to Madison Square Garden.

Colorado Hockey Now: The Stars take a 2-1 series lead with Saturday’s win in Denver.

Boston Hockey Now: Montgomery took the heat for his players after Game 3.

Detroit Hockey Now: Alex Lyon leaves Team USA game early after apparent injury.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins have options in their rebuild.

Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers have a pair of first-round picks this year. Again.

Montreal Hockey Now: It’s a Canadiens Mailbag!

Nashville Hockey Now: Philip Tomasino’s future may hinge on AHL playoffs.



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I’ve watched that clip at least 20 times, there was no punch. I have no clue what you’re referring to “swinging his arms”He simply braces himself for a hit from Marchand, who took the worst of it. There was no rabbit punch, no sucker punch, no punch of any kind. He raised his arms to brace himself. Anyone who sees anything other than that is looking at it through bruins colored lenses. Pathetic.

Gary Moran

Ditto! The clips don’t show whether Bennett’s right hand actually makes contact with Marchand’s head. He’s holding the top of his stick and protecting himself with his left hand. There was no visible swinging motion with either hand. If there was an intentional sucker punch by Bennett, it would have been clearly visible. Marchand hit the ice on his left side and slid into the boards, causing his own injury. His unmistakable wobble should have immediately sent him to the dressing room. Montgomery should be taking the heat for risking his health and sending him back into the game. Boston… Read more »

Gary Moran

After seeing the new clips of the Marchand hit, Bennett indeed makes contact with Marchand’s head. My take still is that it was defensive but, like Coach Maurice, I’m biased. Marchand’s history as a nasty individual is all the more reason that players have to take precautions with this guy. Brad is out for the same reasons that he’s hurt other players. I remember Eric Lindros who inflicted many a concussion on opposing players only to have his career end for the same reason. Play with fire, you get burned.

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