"[After the Cup, linemate Tyler Seguin] and I went on a bit of a tear, partying pretty much every night for a while," Marchand says. "I went home and kinda continued it. I thought [winning a championship] was something that might never happen, so I was trying to take it all in, enjoy it.... My dad sat me down and sorta gave me a lashing. He told me if we win two of the next three years, he'd leave me alone." Marchand's day with the Cup in late August was a demure affair. Says one attendee who has ties to the Bruins, "It was like he was grounded at his own party."
The Little Ball of Hate—"I guess if the President of the United States gives you a nickname you have to stick with it," Marchand says—is evolving. In the minors he would spin off two defenders at the top of the face-off circle and unleash a shot, usually over the net. Now he can see options—free ice, open teammates. "A lot of guys have their bread-and-butter [move] and never change," Chiarelli says. "Brad's shown he can adjust."
The autograph he once practiced so diligently also has changed. The opening B and M and the final d in his names remain precise, but the rest is scribble, a brisk scrawl that reflects a talented player who is in a hurry.
This writing business can be tricky, of course. Marchand's celebratory tattoo on the right side of his torso read: STANLEY CUP CHAMPIANS, BOSTON BRUINS, 06.15.11. When teammates in the dressing room caught the error, he returned for a touch-up, the tattoo artist finessing the wayward a into an o—a permanent reminder that with Marchand, there is more of this story to be written. And spell-checked.