After seeing his former club’s reputation dragged through the mud by an old foe, Kevin Bieksa is setting the record straight.
Earlier this week, longtime Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara kicked up a fresh storm of online hysteria when discussing the 2011 Stanley Cup Final series between his Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks — for whom Sportsnet broadcaster Bieksa served as an alternate captain at the time.
During an appearance on the ‘Games with Names’ podcast, the former Bruins captain said his club was motivated to earn their eventual series win after seeing the Canucks practising their trophy celebrations.
“After losing two games in Vancouver, we saw players from Vancouver coming on the ice in the Garden, and they were actually practicing how they would be lifting the Cup and handing off the Cup to each other,” Chara said. “We found out about these things and we were like, ‘F––– this, we are not going to allow this to happen.’ It just fuelled us.”
After telling Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek that the event described didn’t happen, Bieksa took to the air Saturday to further refute what he called “one of the dumbest things we’ve ever heard.”
“I don’t think I have to spend a whole lot of time discrediting that this didn’t happen, because logistically it’s impossible,” Bieksa said Saturday during Hockey Night in Canada’s ‘To The Point’ segment. “You think about all the media that’s there covering the Finals, and all the competitiveness of trying to find some story different than the other person — clearly somebody would’ve reported about that, or had a camera.
“Even Chara walks it back a little bit with his comments, from ‘We saw them in the Garden’ to ‘We heard’ to ‘We believe we heard.’”
What irked Bieksa most, the former big-league vet said, was the lack of respect from his former Cup Final competitor.
“You know, originally I was upset to hear about it, because it’s a little bit of an attack on our character as a team and an organization, but also our leadership group,” Bieksa said. “You’re talking about three first-ballot Hall of Famers in the Sedins and (Roberto) Luongo. You’re talking about (Manny) Malhotra and (Dan) Hamhuis and myself. To think that we would allow something like that to happen, let alone participate in it, is disappointing coming from a guy like Chara.
“You would expect more, and maybe a little bit more mutual respect, that he wouldn’t repeat a story like that, that’s so insulting to us, without fact-checking it or seeing it or witnessing it firsthand. So, I think the main emotion I have right now is just [being] disappointed in him.”
Bieksa spent 10 years as a member of the Canucks, logging 597 games with the club before finishing out his NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Bruins won the 2011 Stanley Cup in seven games.