For those standing at the edge of Lake Tahoe on Sunday afternoon, there was a reason to shield the eyes.
It wasn’t the glare off the water.
Like the Bruins team that showed up to the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame dressed like characters from “Peaky Blinders,” the TV crime drama set in 1920s Britain, this group had something prepared for their outdoor game against the Flyers.
Earth tones and grays? Not a stitch to be seen. Nary a scrap of wool or tweed, only nylon and iris-melting patterns from the neon ’90s.
Instead of English gangsters, the Bruins rolled up dressed like ski tourists from 30 years ago. It was no doubt a play on the setting, and debut of their “reverse retro” uniforms that recalled the Cam Neely-Ray Bourque days.
Those all-yellow threads they wore for the game were understated, compared to the sartorial vibes Patrice Bergeron and Co. displayed as they posed for a photo by the lake.
There was a lot to take in. Each player, it seemed, put a lot of thought into his look.
First there was Bergeron, the captain, who had the original idea.
“He’s always one step ahead with this kind of stuff,” David Pastrnak said, wearing pink-and-black shades during his postgame interview, which interrupted his participation in a dance party in the Bruins’ locker room. “We all loved it. We had fun ordering some stuff and walking to the game.”
Pastrnak:— Matt Porter (@mattyports) February 22, 2021
"We were listening to Barbie Girl before you guys asked me to do media. I was kind of dancing with these glasses ... and then you guys ruined it and I had to go answer the questions so I missed the Barbie Girl song. Who knows what’s going to be on when I come back?" pic.twitter.com/6P5KkAyHLG
Bergeron took the lead in an authentic Bruins T-shirt that someone from the North Shore might have worn to the Old Garden. It had Neely’s No. 8, a throwback B’s logo, and “1990 Playoffs” on it. He completed the look with what appeared to be an old-school Walkman, a psychedelic fanny pack, and a neon blue, pink, and black jacket atop rolled-up jeans and white sneakers.
There were mirrored shades and neon windbreakers everywhere. Tuukka Rask, Brandon Carlo, and Jaroslav Halak wore jackets painted in highlighter tones. It appeared that Halak, who keeps his hair short, was wearing a fake ponytail that flowed from his yellow-and-pink cyclist’s cap.
Trent Frederic donned a jean jacket, orange-and-pink wind pants, and a Sublime T-shirt he said he recently purchased. Urho Vaakanainen, called up from Providence, brought his Aerosmith shirt. Jake DeBrusk looked like the Fresh Prince of Edmonton.
Charlie Coyle had a white turtleneck and acid-washed jeans, set off by a Lake Tahoe shirt with a bear on the front — the latter possibly evidence that the players did a little shopping while in town. No word if Coyle’s white Reeboks or Pastrnak’s old-school Filas were purchased online or in a store, but both rolled up their pants to show them off.
A few players went with neon, belted ski suits. Brad Marchand rocked a blue getup with flames on the pants, Charlie McAvoy looked ready for the black diamonds in lime green and baby blue, and John Moore sported all kinds of shapes on his, looking like a walking “Saved by the Bell” logo. Chris Wagner’s white jumpsuit — with blue, red, orange, and yellow racing stripes — turned him into Evel Knievel on vacation.
A few players wore jerseys, including Connor Clifton and Steve Kampfer (Mighty Ducks: the movie, not the team), Anders Bjork (Kobe Bryant), and Jack Studnicka (Allen Iverson’s high school jersey, which he would have worn in the early ’90s). Jeremy Lauzon had a Power Rangers crew neck sweatshirt, a yellow fanny pack, and color-blocked cargo pants.
“Look good, feel good, play good” has been said in many a hockey dressing room over the years. The Bruins were clearly enjoying themselves in Tahoe.
Coach Bruce Cassidy was hoping Charlie Coyle, scoreless in eight games entering Sunday, would be a bit more selfish. Coyle delivered in the second period, tallying his third goal of the season in a four-goal outburst that gave the Bruins a commanding 6-2 lead headed into the second intermission.
“I just think he has to drive the line by being a little less cerebral, than worrying about who his linemates [are],” said Cassidy, who reunited the Weymouth product with wingers Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith. “I thought they were our best threesome in camp. Some injuries forced us to juggle a few things.”
Coyle, Cassidy noted, has always been a pass-first center, and isn’t likely to become a sniper overnight. But his coach feels Coyle isn’t attacking enough, “regardless of what he decides to do as he gets closer to the net, shoot or pass.”
The pregame message to Coyle was to “take care of your own game,” Cassidy said. “Just play. Trust your instincts, and kind of let your wingers feed off of you, as opposed to you thinking, ‘What do my wingers need,’ and doing it the opposite. Just play your game and let them adjust.
“Usually when a centerman drives a line — and by ‘drive the line’ I mean demand the puck, attack with the puck, be the force that’s creating offense — the line will go well. I’ve always thought that.
Urho Vaakanainen made his season debut, after three games with Providence. Cassidy was expecting the 22-year-old, playing in his eighth NHL game, to play to his strengths: defend with his feet and stick and make a strong first pass.
“I thought in camp he was as good as [Jeremy] Lauzon and [Jakub] Zboril,” Cassidy said, referring to the two left-shooting prospects the Bruins deployed before him. “It’s always a good problem to have when you know you’ve got guys you feel can play. Now it’s up to him to prove it. It’s a little bit of a different stage for him, but at the end of the day, that’s the hand he’s been dealt. He’s going to play with Brandon Carlo, who’s a good, experienced, stay-at-home guy. Hopefully they complement one another and are a good shutdown pair for us.”
‘A’ for effort
With David Krejci out of the lineup, Brandon Carlo wore an ‘A’ … As of puck drop, there were 10 players on the NHL’s COVID protocol list. Six of them were Flyers: captain Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, and Oskar Lindblom up front, and defenseman Justin Braun … With Jack Studnicka and Vaakanainen in Lake Tahoe, the Providence Bruins dressed 17 skaters, including 11 forwards, for their game against Hartford … Studnicka turned 22 on Thursday, the night he was recalled. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he said. “Pretty awesome birthday gift” … Cassidy, making his first visit to Lake Tahoe, believed the water might be frozen. He didn’t expect to see boaters by the rink, which was set up on the 18th hole of the Edgewood Tahoe Resort golf club. “To see boats out there, it’s awesome,” Cassidy said. “You’ve got the mountains in the background, people walking over to the ski lifts. I saw someone swimming in the pool looking out the window in the hotel the other day, so you’ve got a little bit of everything. The guys in their kayaks remind me of San Francisco, the home run balls. I don’t know if any pucks made it out there yesterday. But good for them. They’re in the spirit of it.”