Brad Marchand was scheduled to speak with prospects at Boston Bruins development camp Monday. But instead of merely addressing the crowd, he was with draft picks and invitees riding an AssaultBike Elite, grimacing with the effort of it all.
“It was tremendous having Brad Marchand here yesterday,” forward Curtis Hall said. “Even when we first got to the rink, we were here around 7 a.m. to do some testing, we had a bike test. We all see Marchand walk in the room and hop on the bike and do the test with us, and that was just a testament to how hard he works.”
Hall, a 21-year-old chosen in the fourth round (No. 119) of the 2018 NHL Draft, scored one goal in 13 games for Providence in the American Hockey League last season after attending Yale University for two years.
“He’s really an inspiration for all of us, all of us in the program and the prospects,” Hall said.
For goalie Kyle Keyser, it wasn’t the first time he’d been around Marchand. The 22-year-old has played three seasons in Providence and has practiced with the Bruins here and there, including during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Marchand, a forward who’s played all 12 of his NHL seasons for the Bruins, still made an impression.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the organization for five years now and I’ve been around ‘Marchy’ quite a bit,” Keyser said. “But for him to just jump into the bike test, which is not an easy test by any stretch, just because he was here and he wanted to show the guys what it takes, I think that’s pretty impressive, and it speaks for itself on why he’s one of the best players in the NHL.”
Marchand spoke to the prospects after their testing, giving them some words of wisdom from his perspective. He’s scored 715 points (319 goals, 396 assists) in 804 NHL games, including 69 points (29 goals, 40 assists) last season.
“In the meeting yesterday, he was talking about the keys to being a Bruin: being a good teammate, having courage, and being there and supporting each other and pushing each other, being competitive,” Hall said.
“Even just to have him in the room with us was unbelievable. I remember a couple years ago, [Bruins captain Patrice] Bergeron came and talked to us, so whenever we get a chance to see those guys it’s really something special for us. Those are the guys we really look up to.”
Keyser echoed that sentiment about the impact that advice from a player like Marchand can have, especially one with Marchand’s work ethic and Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
“I think it’s huge for us to see the kind of work ethic and what he brings to the rink every single day as a professional,” Keyser said. “His speech was awesome, just talking about the compete level and what it takes to be a champion at this level.
“He’s won a Stanley Cup here in Boston. He knows what it takes and how to push it to the end. I think it’s important for us, especially me, to hear from his experience on what worked and what didn’t. And him talking about not waiting for opportunities and going out and getting them, all those kinds of things touch home for us guys. It’s important to listen and have your ears open when guys with that much knowledge and experience are talking.”