Hnidy stirs up Cup memories with return

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Hnidy stirs up Cup memories with return

BOSTON One of the most underrated aspects of last years Stanley Cup season in Boston was the late year addition of Shane Hnidy to the roster of players battling for NHL supremacy.

Hnidy played only a handful of games in the regular season and playoffs for the Bruins after signing with the team in February after coming off shoulder surgery, and didnt have any notable moments on the ice. But the veteran Bruins defensemans voice was perhaps the most valuable part of the package, and something that was missed during the season he exited Boston for the Minnesota Wild.

So the Bruins righted that wrong and plucked Hnidy when he was available coming off the injury, and he filled in for both Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid when they suffered injuries during the playoffs. He was an insurance policy that skated during warm-ups before every game and became a big veteran influence on a young player like Tyler Seguin while also backing up veteran voices like Shawn Thornton, Mark Recchi and Chris Kelly in the dressing room.

Now he is part of a Stanley Cup winner, and that is something hell always associate with the city of Boston and the Bruins organization.

Its great to come back to Boston and see the guys. Ive always said that when you win a Cup youre forever bonded with that city, said Hnidy. Its a really special feeling every time I come back to Boston and see the guys. Its a memory that will last forever.

I think about it every day. It was a special moment. The opportunity to win and end my career on a winning note was a great thing and something Ill always cherish. The first time I put on a Bruins jersey it really felt right. There was something special about it. To be able to come back and raise that Cup wearing that Bruins jersey is something Ill always hold dear. There will always be some Bruin in me.

Claude Julien was giving Hnidy a hard time in the post-morning skate media session now that the veteran defenseman has retired and taken a job as the color analyst on Winnipeg Jets broadcasts.

Do you want the truth, or the B.S. that goes along with it? asked Julien with a smile on his face.

But it was clear in the Bs coachs voice that he had a special level of respect for a blue collar blueliner that took two tours of duty in Black and Gold under Juliens tutelage.

He was a really good leader in our dressing room. He had a good voice and was obviously a guy that had a long career given the way that he competed, said Julien. He was a hard, honest player to play against. During the playoffs we kept him around the room and out there during warm-ups because we liked his presence there.

Now hes moved on and as a new media guy I think he should just stay quiet and listen.

Julien only busts on people he really likes, so its awfully clear that there will always be a place of respect for Hnidy in Boston.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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