BOSTON – There had to be some suspicion it was going to be a wild night when boxer/MMA fighter Conor McGregor showed up for the ceremonial puck drop during Irish Appreciation night with the Boston Bruins.
McGregor was fired up for that while shaking hands with Zdeno Chara and Boone Jenner prior to dropping the puck in Boston’s 2-1 OT win over the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, and was just as fiery giving the Bruins a pregame speech.
“[It was] definitely something that’s pretty impressive of someone of his caliber and what he has accomplished, he could easily sneak out and go home and do other things. So that’s something to come to our locker room before the game and give us a speech [before] puck drop. But [he was] waiting and cheering us on and really paying attention to the hockey game,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “He said it was his first ever and supporting us, and hanging out with us and taking pictures and going to the family room and meeting our family members. It’s pretty impressive.
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“These things go a long way and will definitely be something we remember for a long time and obviously very grateful he took time out of his busy schedule and came down and really show maybe a side fans aren’t really used to seeing. That’s very nice of him that he did this and gave us a little emotional boost.”
McGregor was again fired up in overtime as he watched it unfold from the TD Garden’s Zamboni entrance, and saw Brad Marchand score the game-winner with 1:30 in the extra session. Right after Marchand scorched a one-timer past Patrice Bergeron after receiving the pass, McGregor also saw Marchand do the trademark Conor McGregor strut to celebrate the game-winner. It was all in good fun, and it was obviously something that gave the Bruins a little extra bounce as they were snapping a three-game losing streak with the weekend win.
“I was hoping to score just to do [the strut], I knew that before the game. It’s not every day you have an icon like [McGregor] in the room with that presence. I was just having a little fun with it,” said Marchand. “He’s an incredible guy. Very energetic, but he was humble. He was very happy to be here, and he expressed that. He was very engaged with everyone and he was a great person. It was an honor to meet him and it was great to have him here. The whole city enjoyed it, we enjoyed it, and it’s something we will remember.”
It obviously wasn’t all about goodwill and curiosity about hockey for McGregor, who is also selling and marketing his Proper 12 Irish Whiskey, and there was plenty of that on hand for the Bruins players following the feel-good win. But there was something fun about McGregor whooping it up with the crowd during the game, making the rounds around TD Garden with his entourage in tow and interacting with hockey players that clearly got a kick out of his bombastic visit on Saturday night.
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