By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — These days, everybody could use a good reason to smile. On Tuesday night, the members of the 2011 Boston Bruins provided.
Nearly the full team gathered on a Zoom call for a live stream during NESN’s re-airing of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Though there were some hiccups with getting the game synced up around North America and some of the usual Zoom hurdles that every remote worker in America has dealt with over the past month, the end result of the virtual reunion was a memorable, enjoyable evening for Bruins fans.
The event was named “Locker Room Time Machine,” and the actual event certainly lived up to that billing.
–First, as a matter of attendance, here’s everyone who joined the call.
That is every single skater (and the backup goalie) from the postseason, except for Nathan Horton. His teammates alluded to Horton living on the moon and not having any internet connectivity there.
Tim Thomas not only joined the call but remained on it all night long, despite the fact that he stayed out of basically all of the chirping all night long. Thomas hasn’t been seen or heard from since leaving the NHL in 2014, so seeing him at all was a treat for Bruins fans.
–Gregory Campbell was on a warpath. Brad Marchand was his top victim. The main conversation focused on who was uglier and who had the worse-looking head of hair. It got … well, ugly.
The rest of the Bruins while Marchand and Campbell go at it pic.twitter.com/UCQ4k9FTxx
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 22, 2020
Campbell came away with the burn of the night when he took a shot at Marchand for his clothing line. If you follow Marchand on Instagram, then you know that he promotes his March & Mill Co. clothing line all day every day.
Campbell’s line to Marchand was (paraphrasing), “Marchy, you’re worth like 60 million dollars, do you really need to be selling hats? Have some self-respect.”
It was so good that Marchand had no comeback. He just got mad at Seguin for laughing at the joke. When you can leave Marchand speechless, you’ve delivered a pretty thorough burn.
–Marchand did get Johnny Boychuk pretty good with a zinger of his own. The group was talking about how far Marchand has come since 2011, at which point Boychuck said “his nose got crookeder.”
Without missing a beat, Marchand fired back at Boychuk, who was wearing a colorful flannel shirt.
“Buddy,” Marchand said, “you dress like a picnic table.”
He wasn’t wrong.
–Campbell also might have gotten Tomas Kaberle to log off for the night. When the barbs were flying fast and furiously, Kaberle got caught in the crossfire, with Campbell telling Kaberle that he ought to get himself a gym membership. Some time after that, Kaberle was no longer on the Zoom chat. Nobody seemed to notice until the replay of the game showed Kaberle lifting the cup.
When they were trying to figure out Kaberle’s whereabouts, Ryder suggested, “he’s delivering groceries.”
–Early in the call, with no lines muted and multiple people talking and ambient sounds coming through, the feed was a mess. It sounded like a 28.8 dial-up modem connecting to the internet in 1997.
Andrew Ference had no patience for it. He referred to his pals as “idiots” and then said, “You can tell who has office jobs now and who’s just a hockey player.”
Of course, anybody who has an office job and relies on Zoom probably does not necessarily believe everyone with an office job knows how to use Zoom.
Later on the call, Boychuk tried to talk but didn’t realize he had muted his line. Hockey players — they’re just like us!
–Tyler Seguin was borderline silent throughout the entirety of the night. Maybe he felt weird, considering how abruptly his Bruins tenure ended in 2013. Or maybe he’s too cool for video chats.
Bergeron, Krejci, Seidenberg and Chara didn’t say much either. Chara seemed to be locked in to watching the game, which interested him more than hearing Campbell tell Marchand how ugly he is.
At one point, Marchand asked Chara if he was still on the chat or if a wax figure had been placed on camera.
–Bergeron did confirm that Alex Burrows bit his finger in Game 1. He said he still has a bite mark from it.
Not that there was any doubt. But as we know, Patrice Bergeron cannot tell a lie, so there you go.
–Most everyone was enjoying a libation or two during the game, but Milan Lucic certainly seemed to be the most affected. And it turns out, when Lucic has had a few glasses of red wine, he likes to tell his pals just how much he loves them.
–Toward the end of the game, Lucic got serious and addressed his goaltender.
“I haven’t seen Timmy T in a long time, and cheers to you, Tank,” Lucic said. “You know what? I’ll talk for all of us. You were MVP that season. What you did that year, .938 save percentage on the season, Conn Smythe … but anyways, Tank, I appreciated what you did that year. It was a historical year for a goaltender, and what you did for us to become Stanley Cup champions … I love you, man. Cheers.”
(If you didn’t know, Milan Lucic is a statistical encyclopedia. So even when he’s a few glasses deep into the vino, he can access Thomas’ .938 save percentage with ease.)
–Lucic’s … relaxed state also led to him letting loose a few sarcastic quips. Essentially, if you had trouble watching the diving, whining, embarrassing exploits of the 2011 Canucks during the re-airing of the series, then you have something in common with the Bruins.
After Burrows threw what the group chat considered a cheap shot, Lucic said something like, “Oh weird, Burrows cheap-shotted someone?” Later when Ryan Kesler was shown yelling about something, Lucic wasn’t pleased.
“Look at this f—— guy, Kesler, chirping,” a perturbed Lucic uttered.
Ryder offered some commentary on how much it bothered him, too, but then caught himself.
“You gotta watch what you say on this, huh? You never know, you might get in trouble,” Ryder said.
Was Lucic worried about that? I can tell you, dear reader, he was not.
“Buddy, he’s not even in the league anymore,” Lucic said. “F— ’em!”
Well all right.
–Tuukka Rask and his wife just welcomed their third child to the world. All three kids are girls. Tuukka … well … Tuukka wishes he had one boy. We’ll leave it at that.
This was the reaction to Tuukka Rask’s comment about his third daughter. pic.twitter.com/BavFwOOIHW
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) April 22, 2020
–You likely remember a few weeks back when Zdeno Chara commented on Tuukka Rask’s noxious flatulence. It was funny.
So, when someone on the Zoom call passed a little bit of gas, Marchand wasted no time in pointing the finger: “Was that you, Tuuks?”
Marchand recently said — like Chara — that he would least want to be quarantined with Rask, but not because of Tuukka’s toots. Marchand said he’d be worried that he and Rask would “just be hammered the whole time.” For what it’s worth, neither Marchand nor Rask appeared to be inebriated at all during the event.
–As tends to happen when old friends get together, other memories were recalled. In this instance, the case of Milan Lucic barreling through Ryan Miller in November 2011 came up.
Lucic sarcastically joked that he wasn’t quite sure why the league has established a sensitivity to hits on goalies.
Chris Kelly then chimed in, saying, “You ruined their entire season that year. … You ruined that organization, you didn’t ruin the year. … Poor Paul Gaudstad was puking, thinking about the next time we had to play you guys.
Shawn Thornton didn’t have quite the same happy memories.
“Do you remember when I had to get my head kicked in a year later because of that though?” Thornton said.
Thornton did actually fight three different Sabres in that same season, winning all three fights. But the following season, he had to deal with John Scott, who delivered an ultra-rare pounding of Thornton. It was a fight that came just 2:53 into that game, and it was the first meeting of the year between the two teams, so it was clearly a fight with a message.
Seven years later, Thornton still remembers that one pretty well. (Tuukka Rask cracked up laughing when Thornton brought it up. He must have enjoyed the view.)
–When Jannik Hansen’s dirty hit on an unsuspecting Andrew Ference aired …
… Ference revealed that his shoulder was damaged pretty badly, to the point where it affected him not just for the rest of the evening but for his whole summer.
When it came time for Ference to lift the Cup that night, he couldn’t keep it above his shoulders for more than a few seconds. A cocktail of adrenaline and pure joy, though, is a hell of a drug.
–Speaking of lifting Lord Stanley, Chara admitted that he almost face-planted immediately upon hoisting the Cup. That would have been a tough scene.
Chara, though, does far too many core exercises to ever lose his balance.
Someone (not sure who) told Chara that he almost knocked himself out with the Cup, too, which also appeared to be true. Fortunately, that hat might have been the difference between a glorious moment and an unconscious moment for the B’s captain who worked so hard and waited so long for that moment.
–LATE ADDITION: The 2011 Stanley Cup Final was without a doubt the lowest point of Roberto Luongo’s otherwise excellent career. The guy is likely a Hall of Famer, but he melted into a puddle three times on Boston ice, and he got yanked after no-showing following his “easy save for me” comments about Tim Thomas. What a nightmare, you might be thinking.
You’d be right.
This is precisely what my nightmares have looked like https://t.co/XsFQOQPwOW
— Strombone (@strombone1) April 22, 2020
Luongo has always been an all-time Twitter great. He cemented it further with that tweet right there.
–There was probably a lot more, as two-and-a-half hours of connectivity for old hockey pals leads to quite a bit of banter. It likely won’t ever see the light of day in its entirety again, because the F-bombs were flowing just as freely as the red wine was.
It was not a particularly earth-shattering or historical moment in sports history, but with the world on pause and with no sports taking place and with bad news flooding everybody’s lives at every turn, the members of the 2011 Bruins did precisely what they all combined to do nine years ago. They made a lot of folks happy. These days, that’s sorely needed.