January 28, 2014

Original Six: Eye-opening Bruins publicity shots

By Jesse Connolly

From Bobby Orr jubilantly soaring through the air to a heavily bearded Zdeno Chara lifting the Stanley Cup high above his head, the Boston Bruins have been captured in numerous awe-inspiring action photos over the years. But for as many gems as there are of the Black and Gold in moments of glory, there are an equal amount of cheesy, awkward and occasionally downright scary publicity shots of those who have worn the Spoked B. Here are six standouts we came across:

6. Frank Rediker

Odds are pretty high you’ve never heard of Rediker. Heck, I’ll be completely honest: I never knew he existed until his 2005 headshot stood out from all the rest and begged for my attention. What’s going on in this picture should be considered one of the greatest mysteries in the history of photographs. Here’s my guess:

The oft-injured B’s draftee was up all night drinking … coffee, to stay awake studying the, ah, (presumably nonexistent) Bruins playbook. He fell asleep at the Garden, and groggily stumbled over to the photoshoot.

The crew quickly threw a jersey over his head, finally managed to keep him upright on the stool, told him to not bother pretending to look remotely conscious and voila!

Mugshots might not be his forte, but former Memorial Cup winner Rediker has thrived post-hockey, earning a degree in biomedical science and chemistry.

5. Robbie Ftorek

Sure, if you’re going to be all matter-of-fact, Ftorek was indeed a loser on the night of the 2002 NHL Awards, as Bob Francis went home with the Jack Adams Award as the league’s best coach. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t say Ftorek looked like a winner in defeat.

Decked out in a supremely sharp tuxedo, the Bruins’ bench boss arrived at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto looking like a million bucks.

Unfortunately, he was then thrown in front of a cheesy, blue-sky-with-a-hint-of-clouds backdrop that looked like it cost somewhere between five and seven U.S. dollars at a yard sale held by a photographer who’d recently retired from taking elementary school yearbook photos.

Seriously. That has fourth-grade portrait written all over it.

4. Denis Reul

The photogs on hand at the draft like to get a little creative when working with the 18-year-olds who have just lived out their childhood dreams of being selected by an NHL club. Sometimes, said photographers get a little too creative. Take for example the images produced from the behind-the-scenes photo shoot in 2007 of the league’s latest wave of potential future stars.

We get that players are supposed to be intimidating, but the mirrored double image, the blood-red backdrop and the about-to-pounce pose made players like Reul (130th overall) look like they were trying out to be the next Freddy Krueger.

They are, after all, just giddy teenagers. In 2007, they got portrayed as horror-movie villains from, like, outer space. Good look, NHL.

3. Zdeno Chara

Midway through his first season in Boston, Chara took part in filming for one of the NHL’s “Just like you and me” promo ads, though I can’t recall this one ever airing.

Thankfully, there are plenty of still images we can cherish forever.

The setup for Chara’s commercial — from what I can gather — was that the B’s behemoth blueliner is just as prone to spilling coffee all over himself at a local diner as us regular Joes.

While I’m sure Chara’s underrated sense of humor gets lost in these pictures, none of us will ever look as stoic drinking tea — or whatever’s in that cup — as the 6-foot-9 Slovak does here.


2. Patrice Bergeron

In what’s described as a lifestyle shoot from the summer of 2005, which followed his sensational rookie season in the NHL, photographers obviously wanted to convey just how young and hip a then-20-year-old Bergeron was.

They snapped pictures of him walking through the streets of Boston with friends, playing pool and bowling.

Then they captured this image, in which Bergeron — clad in khaki shorts and a clean, white polo — looks like he’s posing for the cover shot of a brochure for a local Catholic school with a headline along the lines of “At St. Patrice Academy, we don’t just score goals. We achieve them!”

1. Cam Neely

No one embodied the Bruins’ big, bad identity in the late ’80s and early ’90s more than fearsome forward Cam Neely.

Boston fans became accustomed to seeing No. 8 drop the mitts, but in this photoshoot, the future Hall of Famer and current team president discarded a different piece of his equipment: his pants.

Perhaps in an attempt to show his softer side, Neely got down to his personalized boxers and traded in his menacing glare for a warm smile as he gazed into the camera.

The only thing this photograph is missing in its quest for barelegged wholesomeness is an adorable puppy.

All photos: Getty Images

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com