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.

Kassian has ‘no hard feelings’ towards Canadiens

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Zack Kassian never played a regular season game for the Montreal Canadiens. But unless he is held out of Edmonton’s lineup on Saturday, he’ll face his old team as a member of the Oilers.

The Habs acquired Kassian from the Canucks in the summer, after the 25-year-old forward essentially wore out his welcome in Vancouver under the team’s new management. However, an October car accident that Kassian was involved in set forward a number of events that appears to have ultimately changed Kassian’s life for the better.

He told reporters that car accident might’ve been the best thing to happen to his career.

After the accident, he was placed in Stage 2 of the Substance Abuse program and suspended without pay. He was reinstated in December and immediately waived by the Canadiens. A couple of weeks later, he was traded to Edmonton.

And, after opening up about his struggles with alcoholism, he’s since been recalled to the NHL, appearing in eight games for the Oilers, scoring twice and adding four points.

“I’m not looking for any redemption,” said Kassian, as per Sportsnet.

“Me, I got an opportunity to play for the Edmonton Oilers and I’m very thankful for that. I’m not mad at Montreal by any means. If anything I’m mad at myself for screwing up that opportunity. I’m just looking to move forward. Obviously it will feel nice if I get a goal [Saturday] or even better if we get a win but there’s definitely no hard feelings.”

Video: It took only 4:33 of the first period for Hurricanes to build 3-0 lead on Jets

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The Carolina Hurricanes got off to a spectacular start on Friday. Conversely, their opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, got off to a horrendous start.

Before Friday’s game was even five minutes old, the Hurricanes had built a three-goal lead. Phillip Di Giuseppe opened the scoring at 1:43 of the first period. By the 4:33 mark, when Jordan Staal scored, Carolina was up three, forcing a goalie change for the Jets.

Connor Hellebuyck was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots.

Update: It’s 4-0 Hurricanes . . . 10:04 into the game. Yup. Could be a long one tonight in Winnipeg.

Scrivens and slumping Habs face daunting task against McDavid and suddenly high-flying Oilers

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Connor McDavid is kind of good.

In the two games since his return to the Edmonton Oilers, he’s kind of — just kind of — had an impact. Five points in two games — that counts as an impact, right? Oh, and did you see this goal in his return earlier this week?

Since McDavid’s highly anticipated return Tuesday against Columbus, the Oilers have outscored the opposition 12-3 in two games. Small sample size? Yes. Against teams currently not in playoff positions? Yes.

But that’s still very impressive and with him in the lineup, there appears to be a sense of optimism in Edmonton.

Enter the free-falling Montreal Canadiens. Enter goalie Ben Scrivens, who only made his debut for the Habs at the end of December and will face his old team, the Oilers, on Saturday.

In four games with the Habs, Scrivens has been scored on 15 times.

The Habs, without Carey Price, have been in a tumble down the Eastern Conference standings for a long time now. And, really, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.

Now, the Habs and Scrivens are tasked with facing McDavid and the suddenly high-flying Oilers.

And Canadiens fans probably aren’t the cheeriest right now, as their team has gone from on the verge of NHL history in October to becoming an afterthought in the playoff picture in February.

In each of their last seven games, the Habs have failed to score more than two goals in regulation. So it would seem that if Montreal is to get a win, Scrivens will need to be as close to perfect as possible.

No pressure.

“Unfortunately, it seems like my whole career has been playing behind teams that don’t have that confidence, except for my time in L.A.,” Scrivens told reporters.

“It’s a challenge as a goalie but all you can do is worry about your job. I can’t go out there and start trying to break pucks out and do anything I’m not supposed to be doing. My job is to try and stop pucks and try and stop as many as I can.”

With the way McDavid and the Oilers have been scoring since the break and his return, it appears that will be a monumental task for Scrivens.

And with the Habs in a 1-8-1 slide in the past 10 games, the timing probably couldn’t get any worse.

 

Stars put Spezza on injured reserve, recall Faksa from AHL Texas

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Sitting three points out of top spot in the Central Division and on the eve of an important divisional clash on home ice with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars have placed center Jason Spezza on injured reserve retroactive to Thursday, the club announced on Friday.

Spezza, 32, was injured during Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars can move back to within a point of Chicago for the division lead with a regulation win on Saturday.

In 52 games this season, Spezza has 18 goals and 40 points, which ties him with Patrick Sharp for fourth on the team in total points.

With Spezza out, the Stars recalled 22-year-old forward Radek Faksa from the Texas Stars in the AHL.

Faksa has 15 goals and 26 points in 28 games this season with Texas. In 18 games with the NHL Stars, he has one goal and three points.