Over the offseason, the Vancouver Canucks signed Braden Holtby and acquired Nate Schmidt from the Vegas Golden Knights. The two transactions reunited Beagle with two of his former teammates from Washington – one of which he won the Stanley Cup with.
Tuesday, Beagle and Schmidt joined the Sports Celebrities Festival live stream and the veteran center commented for the first time on the Canucks’ prized offseason acquisitions.
“Obviously, I was really excited,” Beagle said. “It’s always hard in this business. You always have guys leaving. When Vegas took Schmidty from us (in the Expansion Draft), he was such a key part in Washington. It’s hard, but that’s what happens.
“Fortunate for us, and for me, I have two of my best friends I’ve played with that have now come back. I get to play with them this year, the upcoming season. I’m obviously really excited. I mean Braden Holtby, I think he’s the best goalie in the league. I really do. He stole us games that we never deserved to win. His work ethic is something that everyone can jump on board with cause he works so hard on and off the ice, he’s going to be great to have.”
Everyone shut up, Stanley Cup Champion Jay Beagle is talking about Stanley Cup Champion Braden Holtby pic.twitter.com/1Cmlw95vGR
— (((🕸haunted m🦇👻))) (@KuzyBeCackling) November 11, 2020
In Washington, the three players were especially close to each other. Schmidt was actually the mastermind behind the Capitals’ famous Mario Kart games during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final despite no longer being on the team. The defenseman had purchased a used Nintendo 64 from an old-school game store in Toronto several seasons before.
“[I]magine a hotel room full of grown men all huddled around a TV,” Holtby wrote in a Players’ Tribune article. “It’s a couple of hours before the biggest hockey game of our lives, and everybody’s screaming out, ‘WHEL-COME TOO MAAAAAAR-EEO KART!!!!!!’” Beagle participated too and even challenged Phil Kessel to a Mario Kart duel, probably at Moo Moo Meadows, when the two had a war of words during the playoffs.
Schmidt also spent a lot of extra time “helping” Braden Holtby as an “associate goalie coach” — Mitch Korn even made business cards — during practice.
When Schmidt was selected in the Expansion Draft, an NHL camera found Holtby in the audience who was distressed to see his friend go.
“Nate is a big pick up. He is such a dynamic player, can play PK, PP,” Beagle said. “The game is all about speed and he’s the fastest skater I’ve ever played with. Big personality in the locker room, great guy. He’s got so much energy, so much personality, it’s just fun to be around. When you bring those guys in the locker room, it’s always fun. We lost some key pieces, but the guys we brought in so far I’m obviously really excited because I’ve got a personal connection with them, but also because I know that these guys are players and they’re going to make our team better.”
Schmidt professed his happiness about the reunion previously during his introductory press conference with Vancouver media in October. Tuesday, he reiterated just how excited he was about next season.
“I couldn’t have been more happy,” Schmidt said. “You get traded, you see some familiar faces. Two of the guys that I enjoy being around the most in Washington are here with me.”
Transcription by Miranda Rosenfelt
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