Scott Arniel Coaching Columbus Now But Still Has Reasons to Root for Bruins

BOSTON — The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the midst of their annual father-son trip, with the fathers of most of their players traveling with the team as they visit Boston Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.

It's a bonding experience that often helps inspire a strong effort from a club. And the presence of the Blue Jackets' patriarchs is one reason Bruins coach Claude Julien is wary of Columbus despite its 3-13-1 record. 

"I'll tell you another thing, I guess it's a father-son trip," Julien said after the morning skate. "That always brings the best out of a team and we should expect them to be a real good hockey club tonight."

Julien's Columbus counterpart had a different family connection on his mind with his visit to Boston. Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel is the uncle of Bruins' prospect Jamie Arniel, who is currently playing in Providence. 

"I saw Jamie more in the summer and talked to him then," Scott Arniel said. "I haven't talked to him too much [during the season]. I try to follow him and see if he gets called up and try to see how he's doing in the American League. But again, there's a young guy and I'm always telling my brother to be patient, it's part of the process. There's a real good team in front of him and his time will come and he's got to be ready for it."

Jamie Arniel led Providence in scoring last season with 23-27-50 totals and earned a call-up for his NHL debut Nov. 28 in Atlanta, but has gotten off to a slow start this season with 1-2-3 totals in 17 games.

Scott Arniel played 29 games in Boston himself, posting 5-3-8 totals in 1991-92. That was his final stint in a 730-game NHL career spent mostly in Winnipeg and Buffalo, but Arniel remembers his time in Boston fondly.

And while many around the league complain about the resurgence of the Big, Bad Bruins with controversial hits by Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic drawing criticism, Arniel was rooting for Boston all the way through last year's Stanley Cup run.

"It does," Arniel said when asked if returning to Boston rekindles any memories. "I was watching the Finals last year and remembering playing with Cam [Neely]. A lot of the guys that are around I know. I know Houds [assistant coach Doug Houda] pretty good, I know Jarvy [assistant coach Doug Jarvis] and Claude, so it was good to see those guys win and have some success. 

"I know they went through some tough times the year before, losing that game, having that lead in that series [against Philadelphia]," Arniel continued. "It seemed like they were at the bottom and to turn it around and come back last year with a Stanley Cup, it was good to see. It's nice to see good people get rewarded."

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