Late Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick was always known for doing things his own way.
Odjick, who died suddenly at age 52 on January 15, is one of the most beloved players in Canucks history.
Yet, for former Boston Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft, his “Gino” moment came during the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoff quarterfinal series between the first-seed Bruins and the eighth-seed Montreal Canadiens.
21 at the time, Raycroft walked into a contending Bruins team as the third netminder for practice.
With the Canadiens hitting the ice first, Raycroft was pushed down the hall to an auxiliary locker room to get dressed.
“Back in the old days, there was no respect for the young guy,” he said on the Clearing the Crease Podcast. “I walk in on my own at 21 years old, 110lbs, I go in, and I go into the washroom, and Gino is in the shower in his full gear having a smoke… Having a dart in the shower in the middle of a playoff series.”
Raycroft stopped in his tracks at the sight of Odjick drenched in the shower, having a smoke in full gear, and he wasn’t quite sure what would happen given him catching Odjick and the then Canadiens forward’s behemoth size while still on skates.
“He’s a monster, he’s scary as shit, and I don’t know what to do,” Raycroft said. “Is he going to get mad that I caught him in here smoking? What is going to happen here? Stopped in my tracks like I saw a big bear which I basically did.”
After quickly processing what he had just seen, Raycroft left the showers to finish getting ready for practice, only for Odjick to come out three-four minutes later.
Forever a Canuck, Gino Odjick. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/COgdVJ3STx
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 19, 2023
“He just looks, “what’s up, kid? How’s the series going for you?’ I’m like, ‘Pretty good, Gino,’ and I turn around and walk out to put my gear on,” Raycroft said. “He’s like, ‘hey, good luck, kid. Have a great series; we’ll see you later.’”
At six feet, Andrew Raycroft wasn’t a minuscule goaltender, yet starting up at Gino Odjick, he couldn’t have felt smaller.
The Canadiens went on to upset the Bruins that series, with Odjick scoring once while posting 47 penalty minutes in 12 games through two rounds.
“It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, like so scary, because I didn’t know how he was going to react, but he was the best,” Raycroft added.