Bono

Too strange to be fake? Oilers forward Gilbert Brule picked up hitchhiking U2 singer Bono

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Every once in a while, you hear a story about different celebrities/pseudo-celebrities crossing paths in the strangest of ways. That’s exactly what happened when Edmonton Oilers forward Gilbert Brule picked up a hitchhiking man who looked like U2 megastar Bono … because he was U2 megastar Bono.

(Out of respect to your eye-rolling instincts, all conscious references to “Joshua Tree” and wearing sunglasses while indoors will be curbed despite natural urges to indulge.)

Ben Gelinas of The Edmonton Journal passes along the story, which seems so random and specific that it’s hard to imagine the situation being fabricated. Gelinas reports that Brule and his girlfriend Kelsey Nichols were getting ready to walk their dog while they were driving around West Vancouver when they saw a few hitchhikers. Brule’s girlfriend refused to believe Brule’s claims that one of those hitchhikers was Bono. After all, why would a millionaire rock star need to hitchhike, right?*

Brule reportedly yelled “Bono” and the singer acknowledged his call. It didn’t take long before Bono and his assistant were in the back seat of Brule’s car, discussing their hockey and music careers. Gelinas reports that Bono offered them backstage passes to an Edmonton show as a gesture of gratitude for the ride, prompting Brule to sell his tickets to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

On Nichols’s pass, he wrote: “Thanks for the ride.”

On Brule’s pass, he wrote: “My hero Gilbert.”

It was the strangest thing.

“We go to walk our dog and Bono ends up in our car,” Brule said.

Bono paid tribute to the favour onstage during Wednesday’s concert.

“I like ice hockey because people who play ice hockey are the kind of people who pick up hitchhikers,” Bono told the crowd.

“I’m ever so grateful. I’ve decided that I want to be Gilbert Brule.”

On face value, the hockey player and musician might seem like very different people. Then again, they have plenty in common. Each of them are paid handsomely for their talents and must perform for thousands of fans in arenas all across North America. Judging from Brule’s inspiring charitable efforts, they have that much in common too.

It’s an odd story indeed, but then again, these kind of moments just seem to follow Bono around … and maybe Brule too. You can watch the video of Bono singing Brule’s praises in this clip from TSN.

* – A less scrupulous writer would make a joke about the effects of pirated music on Bono’s bank account, but thankfully you’re in better hands. Maybe.

Report: Yes, Claude Julien’s job is in some danger with Bruins

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 12:  Head coach of the Boston Bruins Claude Julien looks on as he walks across the ice during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on December 12, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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After the Boston Bruins squandered a 3-0 lead against the Detroit Red Wings and ultimately lost 6-5 via a shootout, plenty of fans and commenters had enough. Many called for Claude Julien’s head.

They might not be alone.

During the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading on Thursday, Bob McKenzie didn’t say that Julien was definitely going to be fired, but he said there’s a “credible threat” to the long-standing Bruins bench boss’ job security.

The phrase “impending doom” came up, too.

So … yeah, it sure sounds like Julien is on thin ice.

McKenzie indicates that Julien should be behind the bench on Friday and could improve his situation if he reels off some wins. That’s where things get extra interesting.

The Bruins play three of their next four games and seven of their next nine contests at home. Most of those games are against playoff-caliber teams, however, so it wouldn’t necessarily be “easy.” Still, the opportunities are there for the Bruins to solidify their spot in the East playoff picture.

Still, it sure sounds like the margin of error is pretty small for Julien, just as it might be for Boston in this playoff race.

Want more coaching hot seat talk from McKenzie? He also discussed Paul Maurice’s situation with the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday:

Video: There was no stopping John Tavares on this goal

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New York Islanders fans probably needed a moment like this, even ones who are more than happy that Jack Capuano was let go.

It’s no surprise that John Tavares provided such a moment.

Watch in the video above as he makes an obscene move against Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, and then finishes with some really nifty timing. Wow.

Tavares now has 17 goals this season, reinforcing the thought that the team’s struggles aren’t on him.

Now catch up on all of the drama surrounding the team:

Bob McKenzie updates on the fuzzy future for the Isles

Liam McHugh grills Garth Snow on a variety of burning questions

Coyotes demote Duclair to AHL so he can ‘regain his scoring touch’

NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 25: Anthony Duclair #10 of the Arizona Coyotes skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 25, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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It’s been a tough season for both Anthony Duclair and the Arizona Coyotes. Even so, it’s still startling to see that he was demoted to the AHL on Thursday.

GM John Chayka explained the team’s logic for the demotion:

“Anthony is a good young player,” said Chayka. “Unfortunately, he has struggled this season. We felt this was a good time to send him to Tucson to work on a few things and hopefully regain his scoring touch. We hope to have him rejoin our team soon.”

Duclair’s been the subject of more than a few trade rumors, but this is probably the low point of a rough 2016-17 season for the 21-year-old.

It’s worth taking a second to consider the very different luck Duclair’s experienced in his breakout season last year vs. this one.

His shooting percentage was 19 in 2015-16, helping him score 20 goals on just 105 shots. By comparison, he’s only converted on 5.2 percent of his shots this year, nabbing three on 58.

In other words, Duclair’s work is probably somewhere between those extremes … but he’s also at that age where a player can make big leaps forward. So, it’s understandable that the Coyotes want to try to repair their prospect’s confidence, and it’s also reasonable that other teams might believe that they can get more out of him.

A trip to the AHL really might be good for his confidence but … still, wow.

The good news and the bad news for Roman Josi

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Roman Josi told Swiss Hockey News.ch that he suffered a concussion from that Anton Blidh hit you can see in the video above, according to a translation passed along by the Tennessean.

So, that’s the bad news for the Nashville Predators. The good is that he also told that outlet that he might be able to return for the Preds sometime next week.

Josi, 26, has dealt with concussion issues before, making this report a concern for the long-term. Still, the possibility of a return so soon is definitely a positive.

Here’s what the next week and change looks like for Nashville:

Tonight: at Flames
Friday: at Oilers
Sunday: at Wild
Tuesday, Jan. 24: vs. Sabres
Thursday: vs. Blue Jackets

The Predators aren’t out of the West picture altogether, but they need to make the most of their opportunities. Much like the Bolts with Victor Hedman, Nashville’s hanging in there OK without one of their key guys, but every point counts. Getting Josi back would be huge.