Nine years after clinching the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, the 2010-11 Bruins came together Tuesday night for an online reunion carried live on YouTube, their first time together to watch a replay of their Game 7 win over the Canucks.
Just about the entire gang was there, including reclusive goalie Tim Thomas, albeit with none of them in the same room. Instead, they were a team again via the technology of a Zoom session, each of them appearing in a postage-stamp-size window on their laptop screens and handheld devices.
The Cup is in the building.
Re-live the final moments of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with the team:https://t.co/hhGBPc6ha6
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 22, 2020
Team captain Zdeno Chara signed in from Florida. Tyler Seguin, among the quietest of the bunch, was at his home in Dallas. Milan Lucic, by far the most sentimental of the bunch, was in Los Angeles, where he sipped liberally from a large bottle of wine stamped with the Bruins logo. Michael Ryder signed on from Newfoundland.
The virtual event, which lasted nearly 2½ hours, was a major league lesson in busting chops, the dialogue often laced with language that would make the Gallery Gods blush.
It was Lucic, who has played for Los Angeles, Edmonton, and Calgary since his Boston heyday, who provided the most touching moment, making a point of acknowledging the stellar work that season of Thomas.
“Cheers to you, Tank,” said Lucic, noting that Thomas was named the postseason MVP, even recalling his superlative .938 save percentage. “Tank, I appreciate what you did that year … and what you did for us to be a Stanley Cup champion. Here’s to you, man.”
The sentimental moment came midway through the third period with the Bruins holding a 3-0 lead, Thomas needing only a few more stops to secure his second shutout of the series.
It was particularly poignant in light of the mental health struggles Thomas has endured in recent years, which he made public for the first time in December when he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Obviously, it was all of us,” said Thomas, clearly touched by Lucic’s words, adding that it was a “super special” season in which every team member made key contributions.
“And I’m looking at you, Sheriff,” said Thomas, acknowledging Shane Hnidy, one of the club’s depth defensemen that season.
Coach Claude Julien was not part of the online party. Nor was right wing Nathan Horton part of the chat, which was sponsored by Budweiser as part of its “Locker Room Time Machine” campaign that it has rolled out during the ongoing pandemic.
Chara, seemingly absorbed in watching the replay throughout the night, said little until the game’s end.
“This is the first time I’ve seen it,” he told his teammates, who often seemed to forget everything they said was being broadcast uncensored. “That’s pretty special, boys. I’m so happy to be part of the group.”
2011 STANLEY CUP CHAMPS!!! pic.twitter.com/HWtkIZJB1i
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 22, 2020
Chara, who moved with his family to Florida soon after the NHL halted play on March 12, was kiddingly accused of “wrestling alligators down there” by fellow defenseman Andrew Ference.
“Yeah, it’s what I do,” said Chara, summoning a fictitious strongman for a TV commercial for fitness clubs, “I pick them up and put them down.”
Gregory Campbell grew more animated and feisty during the replay, which was broadcast in the New England market by NESN. He particularly enjoyed giving the needle to Brad Marchand, who is typically the one who dishes out the snipes.
“You’re worth $60 million,” said Campbell, teasing Marchand for his off-ice enterprise selling ball caps. “You don’t need to sell $20 hats! Yeah, everyone needs to buy a hat … he’s struggling.”
Forward Rich Peverley wondered what got into Campbell, noting that he didn’t see the usually stoic fourth-liner smile in the three years he was in Boston.
“I miss you guys,” said Campbell. “I missing being with guys I like.”
Soon after Marchand fired into an empty net for the 4-0 final, it was Lucic who recalled Dave Goucher’s signature play-by-play call on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“Get the duck boats ready!” said Looch.
Mark Recchi, who made the Cup clincher the final game of his Hall of Fame career, added, “It never gets old, watching this … it never gets old.”
With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about to present the Cup to Chara, Lucic implored his band of brothers to “raise a glass.” For the most part, the well-lubricated group needed little coaxing, although Adam McQuaid and Chara were notable abstainers.
“I love you guys,” said Lucic.