BOSTON, MA -- The Bruins were a confused group after Tuesday's 3-2 victory against the Panthers, as Dougie Hamilton, missing another game with an as-yet undisclosed injury, announced his official retirement from pro hockey. The retirement comes towards the end of Hamilton's best year in NHL, and leaves the Bruins without much in the of building blocks towards replacing Zdeno Chara.
The shocking news was delivered via press conference, called by Hamilton himself. Unable to give the media crowd much of a clear reason, Hamilton's answer to the "why" question--really the only relevant one asked--was rambling. "Is it the fanbase? The media? The pressure? The injury?"
Hamilton shrugged this off, merely stating, "Sometimes some of those things bother me, but I've just found another opportunity elsewhere."
The only advantage to this move is on a salary basis: Hamilton was due a significant raise, which the Bruins can now re-invest elsewhere. Otherwise, this spells disaster for the Bruins.
"I'm somewhat surprised," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, "I was thinking Dougie'd be around for at least a few more years. I was looking at this website at our cap space and--"
The press conference was forced into a lull, then, as Chris Kelly and Doug Houda attempted to instruct Julien on how to use an iPad.
"For my money, it's just weird," said Zdeno Chara. "Hamilton is a good player and a good defensive partner."
"It's really not any of the things you guys are talking about," Hamilton had continued during his part of the interview. "Though I'll admit, the rest of the blue line drives me batty. Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller keep just randomly getting in my way when I'm trying to just walk through the locker room. Tory Krug won't shut up about how he's got a better slapper than me, despite the fact that he's the size of a hobbit and I'm the size of a cave troll."
An expression of puzzlement on his face, Hamilton added, "I don't even know what 'hobbits' or 'cave trolls' are, but maybe Krug learned about them in college."
When questioned about the remaining defensive players, Hamilton rolled his eyes. "Trotman's okay, I guess, though I don't really know him. Z's fine, though it's aggravating constantly being compared to him. I mean, Trotman's big, too, how come he isn't the next Chara?"
D.J. Bean of WEEI.com stopped playing Backgammon with Chris Kelly for five seconds in order to pose a question.
"What about Matt Bartkowski and Adam McQuaid?"
Hamilton paused as if in deep thought, then replied: "McQuaid is hard to talk to because he's always falling over. And when he isn't, he's usually reading books on how to cut your own mullet. Bartkowski used to share nachos with the rest of the team all the time, but he hasn't done that in awhile. He mostly just talks to himself and spins in circles."
Joey MacDonald of ESPN posed another one. Oddly, Hamilton ignored the ESPN reporter's existence.
During the post-announcement scrum, a few of Hamilton's teammates about the surprise retirement.
"What's bizarre to me," began Gregory Campbell, "is that Dougie just bought a dog. And he left it to me, apparently, thought the dang thing just runs off the leash every time I bring it into the locker room."
"It's a corgi, by the way," added Patrice Bergeron, as the dog happily licked him in the face. Bergeron chuckled, holding the dog out to Brad Marchand.
"Yeah, it is. Pretty sweet. A real champian." Marchand added.
"I don't get it," said Campbell. "It's supposed to be my dog--well, I'm going to let Piesy borrow it on weekends--but I can never catch the damn thing if we let it go here. And meanwhile it's all over Patrice and Brad. Apparently they already have a bunch of them?"
Campbell paused as Paille chased the dog by him. Paille reached out to grab the fleeing dog, but instead smacked his hand on the post of one of the practice nets.
David Krejci had another take, looking at the overall picture.
"It's pretty bizarre, really," said the Czech centerman. "Just the last couple days we've had four retirements, all from guys that are either in their primes or younger. Ryan Spooner retiring to go join Soundgarden made sense to me, of course. Carl Soderberg leaving to go live in a cave in the north? A little weird, but makes sense if you know the guy. The ones that have really taken us by surprise are Smith, Dougie, and Tuukka."
"At least there's now a 50-50 chance of them actually meaning to call me in to be interviewed," added Assistant Coach Doug Houda sullenly.
"David's right though," chimed in Milan Lucic, jabbing a rusty nail through his hilariously-badly-constructed Dale Weise voodoo doll as he returned from flushing its Alexei Emelin counterpart down the toilet. "This has been a weird group of happenings. We didn't expect Tuukka to quit to become a milkman, of all things."
"Or Smith to go get his own paper route." Bartkowski said, whistling a bit.
"RIP rosebushes everywhere," added David Pastrnak.
Later, Bergeron, as usual, would be the only one to provide the real answer.
"I can't blame Dougie for wanting to take an opportunity like this," said Patrice outside the locker room, away from the ears of his confused teammates. "Between you and me, I asked him to put in a good word for me with the Muppet Show..."