Sam Bennett comments on play with Brad Marchand
Photo credit: NHL / TNT

Sam Bennett defends sucker punch on Marchand, embraces villain role

Published May 13, 2024 at 10:57

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett made his first public statement about his sucker punch on Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand that kept him out of Game 4.

During Game 3, Bennett dumped the puck into the Bruins zone when Marchand came across attempting to finish his check on the Panthers forward. Bennett saw him and braced for the contact which sent Marchand awkwardly into the boards. At the time, many thought that Bennett did nothing wrong. Yesterday, however, a reverse angle of the hit went viral showing that Bennett seemingly punches Marchand in the side of the head as they make contact and that is what sent Marchand to the ice and into the boards.

Marchand was unable to play in Game 4 due to the hit to the head, while Bennett helped the Panthers win the game by scoring a controversial goal to tie the game at two. Following the game, Bennett spoke with the NHL on TNT panel and was asked about the Marchand hit.

"I got a little taste of it last year in Toronto and I guess I'm getting kind of used to it," said Bennett of being public enemy number one in Boston. "On that play, obviously, I'm not trying to punch him in the head like everyone is saying... I'm just bracing myself for him coming to hit me. There's no way I would have had time to think about punching him in the head. People can see it however they want, but it's playoff hockey. There's going to be hard plays, obviously it's unfortunate he got hit, but its just a hockey play in my mind."

Bennett did not seem too bothered by the play or by the fact he was constantly being booed by Bruins fans. Of course, it helps that the Panthers took a strangle-hold on the series heading home with a 3-1 series lead. Marchand's status for Game 5 remains unknown at this time, and given that Gam 5 goes tomorrow night, it would be surprising to see him in the lineup.

May 13   |   794 answers
Sam Bennett defends sucker punch on Marchand, embraces villain role

Seeing the reverse angle of the hit, do you think Bennett should have been suspended?

Yes41852.6 %
No37647.4 %
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