Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Peverley proving his worth with B's

Ex-Thrasher tallies two helpers in win

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BOSTON -- He was a helpful piece to the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup championship last season and he helped dismantle them on Saturday night at TD Garden.

Bruins' centre Rich Peverley, who had two assists in the B's 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers until just before last season's trade deadline, when he was moved to Boston for current Jets Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler.

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Peverley also has ties to the current Jets coach Claude Noel, for whom he played in the AHL in Milwaukee.

"He's the one who gave me a real opportunity in the American League when I got called up from the ECHL (in 2005)," Peverley said. "I was really thankful to him for that. He played an important part in my career, helped me out a lot.

"He's a really smart coach, very passionate about the game and he doesn't like to lose. He brings a good, winning mentality over there. I congratulated him on getting a chance. I think he deserves it."

Noel said this morning that he rather liked Peverley as a player, even advised the Columbus Blue Jackets, when he was an assistant coach there in 2008, to put in a waiver claim when Nashville had offered him. Atlanta got him and Noel said he believed there were as many as five claims for Peverley.

"I got him in Milwaukee (in 2005) and from the ECHL, so he's come a long way," Noel said. "He was really good, showed a lot of skill, same skill set he has now, only he's matured.

"I'm really happy to see he's turned into a key player."

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LEFT-winger Jason Jaffray recorded his first point for the Jets on Saturday night.

He assisted on Dustin Byfuglien's first-period goal, ended up a plus-one in the game and played 8:57.

-- -- --

SHANE Hnidy, the 10-year NHL defenceman who retired this past summer to become a radio analyst on the Jets broadcasts this season, is still well-regarded in Boston.

Saturday, he returned to the city where he won a Stanley Cup last June and had quite an eventful morning on the day of the game.

A posse of reporters descended on the Neepawa native for some reminiscing when he entered the Bruins locker-room for morning interviews.

And some of his former teammates were quick to give him the gears, including Bruins coach Claude Julien.

"The truth or the B.S. that goes with it?" Julien said, asked to voice a comment on Hnidy's time with the Bruins. "He was a really good leader in our dressing room. He had a good voice. Obviously he had a long career because of how hard he competed.

"He was a hard player to play against, honest and at the same time... now here he comes in so I've got be quiet here."

When the laughter subsided, Julien continued. "Last year, same thing in the playoffs, we kept him around the room, did all the warm-ups because we wanted his presence there," he said. "He's moved on and as a rookie media guy he should stay quiet and listen."

Hnidy received a Stanley Cup ring, his summer day with the Stanley Cup but the Bruins did not put his name on the Cup itself because he didn't play enough games after he returned from an injury.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2011 B7

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