NHL warns Bruins' Brad Marchand to stop licking opponents

The NHL has told Brad Marchand to stop licking opponents or the Boston Bruins forward will face punishment.

Senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell spoke to Marchand and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney on Saturday about Marchand's actions against Tampa Bay a night earlier.

Marchand licked Lightning forward Ryan Callahan on the face during Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series after appearing to do the same to Toronto's Leo Komarov during the first round.

"I don't get it, I don't understand it. How would you feel if I walked over to you right now and gave you one big lick? Right from the chin all the way up. There's just no place in the game for that."

- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

The league says Marchand has been put on notice that his actions are unacceptable and that similar behavior in the future will be dealt with through supplemental discipline. He could be fined or suspended by the NHL if he continues to lick players.

"All I'm going to say is there is absolutely no place in our game for that," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't get it, I don't understand it. How would you feel if I walked over to you right now and gave you one big lick? Right from the chin all the way up. There's just no place in the game for that."

After Friday's game, an overtime loss that put Boston down 3 games to 1 in the series with Tampa Bay, Marchand said Callahan punched him in the face four times.

"He just kept getting close," Marchand said. "Nothing big."

Marchand's antics were the talk of rinks on Saturday. Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl said it was impossible to avoid hearing about Marchand licking Callahan because it was all over social media.

Some Winnipeg players watched the game while in Nashville and had a variety of reactions.

"It's like spitting on someone. It's extremely disrespectful," Jets forward Adam Lowry said. "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."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.