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.