|04.23.15 at 10:21 am ET|
Editor’s note: We had planned on running this story between the end of the regular season and the playoffs, but the end of the Bruins’ season has changed many, many things. We figured his 55th birthday would be a good day to tell the story and lighten the mood.
— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) November 2, 2014
Sitting in a New Brunswick jail cell, a veteran professional hockey player tried to calm down his partners in crime.
Goaltender Ron Tugnutt, who was in his first professional season with the Fredericton Express, thought it was a joke. So too did the other handful of players. Tugnutt responded with an answer that could today cost someone their press pass.
“Yeah, OK, Claude,” Tugnutt shot back, mocking Julien.
Earlier in the night, Julien his teammates were hiding in bushes with baseball bats when they were stopped by the police, roughed up and thrown in jail. Tugnutt wanted to doubt the validity of the group’s arrest.
Any hope that it was a joke went away at around 2 a.m. That’s when head coach Ron Lapointe walked in.
“All of a sudden my face went, ‘Oh Jesus,’” Tugnutt recalled.
“He goes, ‘This is an embarrassment. We’re going to pack your equipment up. We’re sending you guys home.’ Right then and there I said, ‘OK, it’s 2 in the morning and my head coach is there.’ I said, ‘Oh. My. God.’
“I said, ‘This is really happening.’ Then it became a reality.”
After leaving the police station, Julien, Tugnutt, their small group of teammates and Lapointe went straight to the rink, where the players started to gather their belongings.
“We’re packing up our equipment and all of a sudden we hear a bunch of laughs,” Tugnutt said, “and it’s all the veterans in the shower coming out laughing that they got us.”
That’s right. There was once a time here on planet Earth when a group of adults wanted to pull off an exceptionally elaborate practical joke — one that involved the police — and deemed Claude Julien the man for the job.
To his credit, Julien pulled it off. He invited the players on what he called a “snipe hunt,” which Wikipedia defines as a practical joke that involves “experienced people making fun of credulous newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task.” Tugnutt and company took the bait.
“We were out in a bush with bats and nets,” Tugnutt said. “Apparently we were going out there to catch some of these ‘snipe birds.’ I was a kid from Toronto and I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever. I’ve never heard of these things.”’
A kid from the city was the perfect player to fall for such a prank, but the work that Julien and his teammates put in was enough to fool anyone.
“The police would be waiting for us. They knew exactly where those rookies would be, which area,” Julien recalled late in the season with a smile. “It was all pre-planned. They’d get arrested and be brought to jail. I would kind of be in that group so it wouldn’t look too suspicious.
“As they would be in the cell, [the police] would come and get me to tell me I had a phone call to make to get a lawyer for all of us. I would go out there and we’d kind of have a good giggle at their expense.”
The ‘snipe hunt’ doesn’t happen anymore. Why? Because while teams like a good laugh and bonding experience, they don’t like injuries.
“It was a good gig that we had for years in Fredericton,” Julien said. “I think it ended up in a situation long after we were gone where I think Marc Lamothe got really upset, punched a wall and ended up breaking his wrist. That was the end of that gig.”
Clearly, Julien’s teammates didn’t know him well, as they should have known something was up when he suggested they use bats instead of baseball gloves. If Julien’s detractors have taught us anything, it’s that Julien hates home runs and wants to win every game, 0-0.*
*Reminder: Julien’s Bruins finished top-five in the NHL in scoring in three of the four years prior to this season.
|04.22.15 at 7:10 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron is a Selke finalist for the fourth season in a row, as he has joined Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar as a top-three vote-getter for the award.
Bergeron has won the Selke, which is given to the game’s best defensive forward, in two of the past three seasons. He won in 2012 and 2014, with Toews narrowly edging him for top honors in 2013.
Bergeron, Selke and Kopitar were the three finalists last year as well. Toews’ only win came in 2013, while Kopitar has never won the Selke.
|04.22.15 at 6:46 pm ET|
According to ESPN’s Joe McDonald, the Bruins have already begun interviewing candidates for their vacant general manager position.
Source: Bruins have had ongoing interviews and have spoken with candidates already for vacant GM job.
— Joe McDonald (@ESPNJoeyMac) April 22, 2015
The team fired Peter Chiarelli last week, ending his nine-year tenure with the team. Chiarelli met with the Oilers earlier Wednesday.
|04.22.15 at 2:44 pm ET|
According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada and Mark Spector of Sportsnet, former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is currently in Edmonton meeting with the Oilers.
The Oilers currently have both a general manager in Craig MacTavish and a president of hockey operations in Kevin Lowe. It is unknown whether Chiarelli would replace one of them or join the team in another capacity.
Breaking from myself and @SportsnetSpec — Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton meeting with the Oilers. More to come…
‘ Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 22, 2015
The key here is what the position would be…Is President of Hockey Ops an option. Chiarelli flew into Edmonton today
‘ Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 22, 2015
Chiarelli will meet with Oilers today. Assuming he is interviewing for GM job, but that is unconfirmed. @FriedgeHNIC
‘ Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) April 22, 2015
If Chiarelli were to become the Oilers’ decision-maker on hockey operations, he would have the easy task of selecting Connor McDavid with the first overall pick in this June’s NHL draft. The Oilers also hold the Penguins‘ first-round pick this year.
Edmonton also has a number of former Bruins on its roster that had previously been brought to Boston during Chiarelli’s tenure. Chiarelli traded for Andrew Ference and Matt Fraser, while he signed Benoit Pouliot in the 2011 offseason. All three players are currently on Edmonton’s roster, with Ference serving as captain.
|04.21.15 at 7:06 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that Zdeno Chara has a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula that won’t require surgery but will have a four-week recovery time.
The injury was seemingly suffered when Chara blocked a shot from Maple Leafs forward David Booth on April 4. Chara missed a practice the following week but was hit on the other side of his left foot in the team’s next game with a shot from Capitals forward Joel Ward.
The injury did not cost Chara any games, as the B’s were still pushing for a playoff spot in the last four games of the season.
Chara said at last week’s breakup day that he was healthy and that he would have a full offseason to train. Even with the four-week recovery time, Chara should be able to train normally at some point in May.
It was reportedly earlier Tuesday that the injury would keep Chara out of the upcoming IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|04.19.15 at 5:29 am ET|
Should the Bruins have fired Peter Chiarelli? Are they going to fire Claude Julien? Did we really expect anything different from the NHL lottery? Does Tim Murray know the Sabres still have to… pick?
Find out the answers to all these questions and more in the midseason finale edition of the Sunday Skate live chat with Pete Blackburn, Naoko Funayama and DJ Bean. It’s the last Sunday Skate for a while, so make it count.
To listen to the show live, click here. Jump in the chat below.
|04.18.15 at 8:25 pm ET|
The Oilers won the NHL draft lottery Saturday night, doing so with the third-best odds to finish with the first overall pick. The Oilers, who will almost certainly select Erie (OHL) center Connor McDavid, have the first overall pick for the fourth time in the last six years.
The Bruins, who had a 1 percent chance of the first pick, will select 14th overall. Should they stay at No. 14, it will mark the highest they have selected in the first round since drafting Dougie Hamilton ninth overall in 2011.
Buffalo will pick second overall after missing out on the top pick. The Sabres finished with the lowest points in the NHL and had a 20 percent chance at the first pick. Barring a trade, they will select Chelmsford native Jack Eichel, who recently concluded his freshman (and likely only) season at Boston University. Eichel became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker since Paul Kariya.
The draft will take place June 26 and 27 in Sunrise, Florida.