BOSTON – He only played seven minutes during the Boston Bruins’ postseason run to the Stanley Cup championship last season.
But Shane Hnidy made many more contributions to the Bruins’ cause off the ice, by providing verbal encouragement to his teammates and imparting knowledge on Boston’s younger players. That was what Boston brought him back into the fold to do in the middle of last winter, and it paid off with a Stanley Cup ring.
Hnidy is now the color analyst on radio for his hometown Winnipeg Jets, who play the Bruins at TD Garden tonight for the first time this season. Although he filled just a bit part in Boston’s 2011 triumph, Hnidy still attracted the type of media attention normally reserved – as he pointed out – for the likes of Shawn Thornton.
“I’ve always said, when you win a Cup you’re forever bonded with that city and those guys,” said Hnidy. “It’s a real special feeling every time I come back to Boston, every time I see the guys. It’s a memory that lasts forever.”
Like his Hall of Fame-bound Bruins teammate Mark Recchi, Hnidy’s last official on-ice act in the NHL was hoisting the Cup. He says his transition from player to analyst has gone smooth with some help from his colleagues.
While he played more games in places like Ottawa and Atlanta, Hnidy’s rugged style of play was always perfectly suited to being a Bruin.
“When I put on that jersey, it felt right. It was a jersey that, you put on a Bruins jersey, you’re proud to wear it and there’s something special about it,” he explained. “To be able to come back and raise that Cup while wearing a Bruins jersey is another moment that you’re just going to remember forever and there’s always going to be a Bruin in me.”