They were at home in Quebec in July, hosting their annual Pro-Am Gagne-Bergeron charity hockey game.
Gagne had been training. He was in good shape. He wanted to return to the NHL.
With a year out of action, a contract would not make sense for NHL teams. He wasn't waiting for a contract. But he was hoping for a tryout.
“I’ll see Peter in the next couple weeks and talk to him about you,” Bergeron told his friend, knowing full well his GM would be the one making the decision on whether to reach out to Gagne or not.
"I just mentioned it to Peter that he was there, available and wanted to play and that was it," Bergeron said. "I definitely didn't make the decision, but I just told him that he looked good on the ice and the rest was up to management and them to make a decision."
As it turned out, Chiarelli called Gagne's agent. Gagne spoke with Julien.
"Things went really good from that point on," Gagne recounted. "A couple days after that, I had the tryout contract on my table and I signed it right away."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena before flying out to Detroit to begin a three-game road trip against the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
Prior to practice, GM Peter Chiarelli announced that the club had signed forward Simon Gagne to a one-year contract (cap figure of $600,000). In other roster transactions, the Bruins waived Bobby Robins for the purpose of assignment to Providence and assigned Jordan Caron to Providence.
The trio skated together for a significant part of camp as well. Gagne is a left shot but has mostly played on the right wing in his time with the Bruins.
"My conversation with Peter was, 'whatever it takes'," Gagne said following practice. "And I'll be whatever - if I have to be the extra guy, on the fourth line or a guy who will replace some guys when things aren't going well, or injuries, play on the PK, power play, whatever it takes, I'm here to help the team win and I'm really happy I have a chance to get back to the League with a good team, so I'm open to everything."
"And we'll see how it starts [on Wednesday against Detroit] - I think I'm starting with Piesy and Spooner - so if Claude wants me to play there, I'll play there."
BOSTON - David Krejci knows well what winning a game with less than a second feels like, having stolen the Bruins a win early in the 2013-14 season with 0.8 left on the clock.
On Monday afternoon, those emotions were flipped, as he watched Daniel Briere find the back of the net with just 0.4 left in regulation to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over Boston.
The Bruins dropped to 1-3-0 on the season.
"It's tough, you know, but nothing you can do about it," Krejci said from the Bruins' locker room postgame. "We thought the last minute, that it was going to overtime, but you've got to play till the last second, and they scored - so it is what it is."
The Black and Gold were coming off two efforts that they deemed "unacceptable" by their high standards, with the latest 4-0 loss to the Caps serving as a tipping point, especially for the Bruins' leadership group.
"It's going to sting a lot more, especially within the last second of the game," said defensemen Matt Bartkowski, who slotted into the lineup in place of Kevan Miller. "More importantly, there were a lot of things we did well and I thought we could have been rewarded a little bit more, but there's a lot to build on, which is a key thing, and what we need to focus on right now."
BOSTON - David Krejci has been cleared for game action, as the Bruins host the Colorado Avalanche in a Monday matinee at TD Garden.
Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed the news to reporters pregame.
Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Bruins are looking to get back on track, following two straight losses to Detroit and Washington.
Though Krejci's presence will certainly give the team a boost, Julien has stressed that one individual won't make a difference for the Bruins - they need a team-wide effort to have success.
The Avalanche come into Monday having been shut out in their first two games (a home-and-home series against Minnesota), searching for not only their first win, but also their first goal of 2014-15.
BOSTON - Not much has gone right for the Black and Gold in the past two games.
A 2-1 loss in Detroit on Thursday night was followed up with a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Capitals 48 hours later, back on home ice.
The boo birds began raining down at TD Garden as the clock was ticking late in the third period.
A frustrated Milan Lucic held his cool late in the game after getting tangled with Mike Green, but he was plenty heated in the locker room postgame.
"That’s not the team that we are," said Lucic. "We’re always a team that has a lot of fight and fights its way back in the situations, no matter what they are."
"So we’ve got to figure it out here and hopefully after two games like that, we can take this as a wake-up call and move forward."
The Bruins managed 29 shots on Braden Holtby, but not one made it through. They went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the lethal Caps went 2-for-4, thanks to easy fires from the left circle by Alex Ovechkin and Green.
Ovechkin put Washington up 2-0 in the first period. Green adding the insurance in the second, and John Carlson capped off the 4-0 shutout in the final two minutes of the game.
"You know, it's tough to put into words. We were outworked, we were outbattled and just outplayed throughout the course of 120 minutes, not just 60," said Chris Kelly, known to be a vocal presence in the room. He was very adamant with his words.
"I think the only positive I can think of is… it's Game 3. Other than that, it's two poor efforts."
BOSTON - The Bruins hit the ice for a pregame skate at TD Garden on Saturday morning, before hosting the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
David Krejci skated with the group for the first time since leaving the Bruins' preseason finale on October 4 with an undisclosed injury. Krejci is on Injured Reserve and is not eligible to return to game action until after Saturday's matchup with the Caps.
"Day to day. I can't tell you more than that," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the morning skate. "Just skated for the first time today with the team, so we'll see how that goes."
Krejci did take a few line rushes with Milan Lucic, which had to feel comforting for the left winger as he works through a frustrating first two games of the season.
They didn't need another one added to that list.
When Patrice Bergeron left during his first shift of the second period after going hard into the end boards, the Bruins' bench no doubt took a collective breath.
It came as a result of Niklas Kronwall finishing his check on Bergeron. The alternate captain skated off the ice and went right down the tunnel just 35 seconds into the period.
But, he eventually returned in the second period, and he was fine. He finished the game. He spoke with reporters afterwards.
"No, I didn’t feel that [I was in trouble]," Bergeron said postgame, from the visiting team locker room at Joe Louis Arena. "It’s one of those protocols that you have to respect, and I had to go to the quiet room, and it takes forever to go through that test, so it took a little bit of time but I was fine the whole time."
DETROIT - Following the Bruins' 2-1 season opening win over Philadelphia in Boston on Wednesday, the Black & Gold are right back at it on Thursday night against the Red Wings in Detroit.
The tilt will be Detroit's home opener, with the game time set for 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
A back-to-back situation, with travel added in, may not be an ideal way to kick off the season, but the Bruins don't mind it.
They can get a quick four points before the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes even open their seasons.
"We don’t make excuses, so it’s a reality of the schedule, and we just have to go out there and play and put those excuses away," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said on Thursday morning from Joe Louis Arena.
BOSTON - As 17,000-plus fans filtered out of the sellout TD Garden on Wednesday night, and the Bruins rushed onto a bus to fly out to Detroit, their 2-1 win season opening win over the Philadelphia still lingered.
The few remaining fans on Causeway Street cheered and screamed out to the bus as it pulled out of the Garden.
This is the breath of a new season, a clean slate. For now, after Game 1, two points are in the queue, and the Bruins are undefeated.
Chris Kelly jammed home the game-winner with just 1:51 left in the third period to break a 1-1 tie, and eventually send a happy crowd, and a happy team on their way.
The blueliner's stick broke in two, but the shot still made its way to Flyers goaltender Steve Mason and rebounded with enough pop that Kelly could power it home. Eriksson made sure to claim real estate in the blue pain and swat at the puck as well.
BOSTON - A young fan had a question for Zdeno Chara.
"This is for Chara," he began, microphone in hand, standing in an aisle of the lower bowl at TD Garden. "Do you think you're going to make it to the playoffs this year?"
It brought out a smile from the Bruins' captain, who was seated on a stage at ice level, for the annual "State of the Bruins" event held prior to each season. The rest of the crowd smiled with approval as well.
"What's your name?" asked Chara.
"Johnny," the young man responded.
"Johnny, I believe we will."
With that, Johnny had the confidence he needed.