"We respect our opponent. On any given night you can be beaten by any team. We've seen that - the year we won we were playing the Belfast Giants, we almost lost that exhibition game, there was the Providence game this year...our guys have to respect the opponent."
That was Peter Chiarelli today, speaking about a quote from David Krejci and how the entire Boston Bruins squad this year has no prima donna players, no person who feels he's above anyone else. That in and of itself is pretty cool.
That Belfast Giants reference brings back memories, though. Memories of how cool it was that a team of EIHL Selects got to skate against the Boston Bruins. And memories of groaning as pride of the Nottingham Panthers, Jade Galbraith, skated down the wing, took a seemingly harmless shot at Tuukka Rask, and scored.
The Bruins, of course, stormed back to defeat the Belfast Giants Selects 5-1, so it wasn't as close of a game as Peter Chiarelli made it sound today, but still -- being down against an EIHL team was probably a little stunning.
Which brings us back to this Galbraith guy. Who is he? How could he do in under 40 minutes what the Penguins, an actual NHL team with the best supposed superstars in the entire league, in four games and nearly 280 minutes of ice time, could only do twice?
He's a guy who only played three games at the college level before defecting back to the WHL. He's a guy who played four seasons in the ECHL, once for a team called the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (what a name). He's played in the DEL, Germany2, and Germany3. And since 2008-2009, he's played in the UK's EIHL -- for the Nottingham Panthers and the Braehead Clan.
As far as relative talent -- he's not on the level of NHL players. He's excellent in the EIHL, even putting up 101 points one season.
And yet he managed to do what only four Penguins could do this regular season AND playoffs -- score one goal against Tuukka Rask.
Through six total games this season, the Penguins played Tuukka Rask five times, and only scored four goals against the Bruins' goalie. (They put up three on poor Anton Khudobin in the other regular season game.) In the regular season, it was Sidney Crosby and Joe Vitale; in the playoffs it was Chris Kunitz and Brandon Sutter. Each had one goal. That's it.
Congrats, you four: you're as good as an EIHL player. The rest of the Penguins? Not even close.
The Bruins respect their opponents; when they don't, things go south incredibly quickly. Just look at, as Chiarelli pointed out, the Providence scrimmage this year. Or even, that preseason game. After Galbraith scored, the Bruins honed in, focused themselves, and scored five goals, including a couple from Tyler Seguin. Respect. What a great game that was, and what a fun trip down memory lane.
Edit: the legend grows. This guy is even more of a champion than previously expected.
Later that season Galbraith was carried out a Belfast pub drunk the night before a Panthers/Giants game. We lost 7-2.— Nathan Greasley (@cricketcelt) June 8, 2013
What. A. Winner.