The National Hockey League appears to be tired of Brad Marchand's licking act.
The NHL's Colin Campbell spoke with Marchand and general manager Don Sweeney Saturday. The league put Marchand on notice and said his actions were unacceptable, adding that similar behaviour will be dealt with by way of supplemental discipline.
This comes in the wake of Marchand licking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan in the face during the second period of Friday's Game 4 between the Bruins and Lightning.
It is the second time Marchand has licked an opponent during the playoffs after also doing it to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov in the first round.
There were reports after licking Komarov that Marchand was asked to not lick any other players moving forward, but the 29-year-old said that wasn't true.
After the game Callahan likened getting licked to getting spit on, speaking to reporters.
"I don’t know what the difference is between that and spitting in someone’s face," Callahan said.
According to TSN Senior Hockey Writer Frank Seravalli, the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets both received warnings ahead of their Game 5 matchup that licking an opponent may result in a 10-minute misconduct.
Around the league, other players reacted with both bemusement and anger.
“Probably punch him in the face,” Winnipeg Jets centre Adam Lowry said of what he would do if licked. “You know what? It’s hard to say, it’s never happened to me. I think I’d be pretty pissed off. You’d look for the refs, I don’t even know if it’s a penalty, but for misconduct or something. No, that would be real irritating, for sure.”
Lowry believes that the act is absurd and doesn't belong in the NHL.
"It’s extremely disrespectful,” Lowry. “I don’t think there’s a place for that stuff in the game. You got to respect your opponents. I get playing hard in a series and there might be some dislike between guys, but there’s a certain line that shouldn’t be crossed and that’s one of them.”
Nashville Predators centre Kyle Turris believes that the act should have been penalized.
“Yeah, unsportsmanlike [conduct], I guess,” Turris said of what should have been called. “I mean, to be honest, it might be the last thing that would ever come to my mind. I’ve never thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to lick somebody or somebody is going to lick me.’ It’s just a weird. … It’s just kind of a weird thing. It crosses the line. It’s gross.”
Teammate P.K. Subban found it all surreal.
“Um, I’d probably enjoy it to be honest with you,” Subban said jokingly. “I don’t know. If someone licks you in a game, obviously it’s something that’s not expected. I don’t know if I really want to be licked by someone else on the ice. In that situation, I think Callahan did exactly what any other guy would do. It would kind of be funny, but in the moment, it probably wouldn’t be very funny. I’m sure looking back you’re like, ‘I got licked in a hockey game.’ It’s just weird, you know?”
Game 5 between the two teams goes on Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay with the Bolts looking to close out the series, leading 3-1.