Hockey Night in Canada

Brad Marchand calls face-licking protest 'cute,' but NHL says it must stop

As Brad Marchand continues tongue lashing his opponents, his latest victim says it's time the Bruins agitator was penalized for his actions. The Boston pest says after getting punched "four times in the face" by Ryan Callahan, his face-licking response was "nothing big."

Ryan Callahan says Marchand should be penalized as if he were spitting on someone

Bruins' star continues to taunt opponents with his tongue 0:09

As Brad Marchand continues tongue lashing his opponents, his latest victim says it's time the Bruins agitator was penalized for his actions.

And the NHL seems to agree.

On Saturday, the NHL's deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league will tell the Bruins that Marchand's face-licking antics must stop.

"Yes, we will be communicating with the club. We don't expect it to happen again," he told ESPN in an email.

The league confirmed via Twitter that they spoke the Bruins GM Don Sweeney, as well as Marchand, about the incidents and that supplemental discipline will be handed out if it happens again.

Callahan says it's worse, if not the same, as spitting

Ryan Callahan was the latest player to have his face licked by Marchand, during the Tampa Bay Lightning's 4-3 overtime win in Game 4 in Boston on Friday.

"It's unfortunate that he goes that low to do that, but doesn't take us off our game," Callahan said. "Hopefully, the league looks at it. I don't know if there is discipline for spitting in someone's face, but to me it's worse, if not the same."

Marchand got up close and personal with Callahan after a whistle with 1:21 left in the second period, then leaned in and tried to lick Callahan's face. The Lightning forward pushed him away.

"He punched me four times in the face," Marchand said. "He just kept getting close. Nothing big."

The Toronto Maple Leafs also complained about the tactic during their first-round series with Boston.

Bruins instigator has found a new tactic​ 0:26

Told that Callahan compared licking to spitting and said it should be penalized accordingly, Marchand said, "That's cute. Good for him."

Oddly enough, Callahan was asked before the series began what he would do if something like this happened.

"I don't know, I guess we'll see if he licks me," Callahan said.

After the game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper expressed his frustration with the incident, telling reporters there is "no place in our game for that."

Don Cherry weighs in

Don Cherry weighed in on the lick Saturday night on his Coach's Corner segment that aired during the first intermission of the Winnipeg Jets game against Nashville.

Cherry tried to make light of the incident before turning serious.

"It was a kiss, it was a kiss, come on, it was just a little kiss. He's from Montreal, it's a french kiss," Cherry said. "No, kids, you never do this. I don't know why he's doing it."

"You know when you do stuff like that you embarrass the referees," Cherry added, suggesting that referees have not called penalties in Marchand's favour because of his actions. "You know what I think of Marchand, I think he's great ... he's gotta stop that nonsense."

Marchand is from Halifax. He played junior hockey in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads, Val-d'Or Foreurs and Moncton Wildcats.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press