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Even Off the Ice, The B's Rock the House

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
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The B's band rocked out on Sunday. (Photo: Babineau)
Boston, MA -- Following a terrific TD Banknorth Garden debut by a Rock Band group culled from the best of the participants from Boston Bruins Wives' Carnival, and fronted ably by top performer and grand prize winner Chris Sousa from Somerville, four members of the Black & Gold knew that they were in for the off-ice challenge of their lives.

So with Mark Stuart on vocals, Milan Lucic on lead guitar, Matt Lashoff on bass and Blake Wheeler on drums, the Bruins own participants in the Rock Band video game competition sought to put on a great show and end the 19th Annual Boston Bruins Wives’ Carnival on…uh, a high note?

“It was different,” said Stuart the following morning. “You look out there and there’s all those people.

“I got ten times more nervous for that than I do a hockey game.”

Milan Lucic was stunned by the set up, which had the two bands playing the video game on risers at center ice and broadcast on Garden HDX.

“Well, I didn’t know we were going to be on stage, in front of everybody,” said Lucic. “But it was a cool experience.

“Now we know, kind of, what it’s like when those guys go up and play in front of everybody.”

Matt Lashoff, who is an actual musician in his spare time, said that despite the fake instruments, the experience was real.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Lashoff. “The guys were pretty nervous about that.

“It is a different high and it’s a different experience to ‘play’ music in front of that many people. I was talking to the guys before and even though it was a video game, you get that rush.

“It’s just that exhilaration that is fun and I think the guys got hooked on it. Now, everyone knows what I am talking about and what I am feeling when I play,” he said.

Blake Wheeler, who has received his fair share of applause on the ice during his rookie season, said he just enjoyed the ride.

“Well [the game] was set on easy, so I just did my best and worked hard,” said the forward. “When you get up on stage, things just happen that you don’t expect, and I just, you know, had one of those out of body experiences and I just went with it and didn’t fight it.”

Stuart was the real star of the afternoon.

No stranger to tough assignments on or off the ice (he was in the dunk tank at last year’s carnival), the big defensemen shook off any early trepidation and was the star attraction.

“Stu was our MVP,” said Wheeler. “He put so much heart into it.

“He was suffering from a mild case of laryngitis and he just brought the house down and brought the crowd to their feet.

“And that’s what we were there for – to put on a show,” he said.

Lashoff agreed and said that Stuart, who sang Pearl Jam’s “Alive,” put on a terrific performance.

Pearl Jam prior to their September 2004 show at the Garden. (Photo: Brian Babineau)
“Stu sounded great,” said Lashoff. “He loves Pearl Jam so I think he had the choice of songs to pick to sing and I think he did a great job.

“He’s got a good voice and he gets into it, which is the most important part because if you have some soul behind your throat, you should be pretty good.”

Stuart had Lucic in stitches.

“He loves Pearl Jam and he’s a big fan of Eddie Vedder,” said Lucic. “When he started singing there, he sounded so much like him I was laughing and I almost stopped playing because I was laughing so hard.

“He really did a great job.”

Stuart, true to form, didn’t have a heck of a lot to say about the night, but looked relieved and happy when he spoke about it on Monday morning.

“I lost my voice, actually,” said Stuart of his practice sessions on Saturday. “It was tough. You sing along all the time, you know, but when you are actually up there and trying to hit all the notes…you realize how hard it is.

“It was fun, but it was nerve wracking, though. It was a good time and I think the fans enjoyed it. The other band that was playing against us was really good.”

Lashoff and the rest of the Bruins truly enjoyed the experience and were sorry that the show went by so quickly.

“The main thing about that is to put your soul into it and even though it is a game, it makes it easier,” he said. “If you get into it…everyone else will get into it as well.

“When the first song was over with [you felt] like you wanted to do another two hours.

“Everyone wanted to have a good time...and it was amazing that everyone stuck around for the Rock Band Contest. We weren’t expecting that.”

Clearly, the fans weren’t expecting Black & Gold to rock the Garden off the ice, either!
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