Julien owns up to Smith/Iginla lineup gaffe

Julien owns up to Smith/Iginla lineup gaffe
November 30, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Wondering why Reilly Smith was in the starting lineup for Friday afternoon’s nationally televised Thanksgiving Showdown game on NBC against the New York Rangers?

It wouldn’t be shocking to see the 22-year-old as one of the starting forwards given that he’s third on the team with 17 points this season, and has been one of Boston’s better offensive players.

But he was announced with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, which is normally the domain of future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla. Iginla was actually out on the ice for the Star Spangled Banner before exiting to the bench in favor of Smith for the drop of the puck, and then hopping right over the boards as soon as the opening face-off was over.

So what was the grand design behind the move?

Apparently it was just a simple, clerical error with Claude Julien perhaps very much in the habit of circling the No. 18 as the right wing with Krejci and Lucic, as it was for the previous three years with Nathan Horton on board. The longtime B’s coach owned up to the miscue on Saturday morning.

“You had to bring that up didn’t you? That was my fault,” said Julien. “Instead of circling 12 and 17 on my lineup that follow each other, I accidentally went 17 and 18. So then when they called it up, which was lucky we were paying attention, I said, ‘Oops.’

“I had our trainer run and get the sheet, but I asked the referee first because he’s got the sheet. I’m allowed to do that. I had mistakenly done that. We’re not perfect right?”

Iginla was having a good laugh about it during Saturday morning’s skate while getting filled in on what exactly had transpired prior to puck drop against the Blueshirts, so it was clearly all good.

Julien may not be perfect, but his batting average is pretty good with two Stanley Cup Final appearances in the last three years.

So what’s a starting lineup goof or two between friends during the holiday season?