By Josh Houreas|Follow me on Twitter @JHoureas
Disclaimer: This article is strictly my opinion and everyone is entitled to put their own players here, or the same ones listed below just in a different order.
When the Boston Bruins lose a player to trade or free agency, it can be tough on the fans who showed such player what it meant to dress for the six-time Stanley Cup Champions. That being said, let’s take a look at five players I wish were still playing for the Bruins.
5: Johnny Boychuck
Johnny Boychuck was a key role for Boston on their way to the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship. But a year prior to Boston celebrating with Lord Stanley, his career almost came to a screeching end. After taking a slapshot to the face in 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks with no visor, Boychuck would soon attach protection to his bucket (that’s hockey slang for helmet). While I was at that game, it is a vague memory that I’d rather forget, because it was eerily quiet at TD Garden the night it happened. On a more positive note, I miss him because of a certain call that Bruins play by play announcer Jack Edwards would yell each time Boychuck scored a slapshot goal, known as a Johnny Rocket.
Boychuck is currently playing for the New York Islanders. He is in his 18th season in the National Hockey League and he spent eight of those playing for the Bruins.
4: Nathan Horton
To say that Nathan Horton was a hero in Boston would be an understatement. After being traded from the Florida Panthers in 2010, he would go on to score when the Bruins needed him most in the 2011 playoffs. Scoring two game seven winners, “Horton hears a WOO!” Became a staple quote all throughout New England. Although it is hard to think about his abrupt end to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, there’s one thing I’ll never forget as a Bruins fan. Watching him pour the Gatorade bottle labeled “Boston Water” (or ice) in front of the Bruins Bench in Vancouver before game 7, the most important game in Bruins history up to that point.
Even though Horton has not dressed in an NHL game since 2014, as the surgery needed to fix his back would more than likely end his career, he is currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. He spent only three seasons in Boston, but we have to be extremely thankful for his heroics on the way to Boston’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
3: Gregory Campbell
Ah yes, Soupy as the fans called him in Boston. Campbell is known in Boston for one major reason. His commitment on a certain shift in 2013 after blocking a shot from Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, which ended up breaking his leg. Campbell proceeded to stay on the ice longer than the Bruins could have asked for. Campbell finished a shorthanded shift for the Bruins in a tied pivotal game three in that season’s Eastern Conference Final, and it was crystal clear that he was in an unbelievable amount of pain. The Garden faithful bid their appreciation to the Boston center by giving Campbell a standing ovation and would continue to do so even after Campbell left the ice.
Gregory Campbell announced his retirement from the National Hockey League in 2016. He finished his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets but spent five of his last six seasons dressing for the black and gold.
2: Tim Thomas
I got absolutely nothing against Tuukka but I have to ask this question. Would the Bruins be eight-time Stanley Cup Champions if Tim Thomas was between the pipes? That’s a question that will have an unknown answer, but I’m just basing it on the count of the fact that Thomas proceeded to maintain a shutout in the 2011 Finals while Tuukka went on to give up critical goals in must-win games in 2013 against Chicago and 2019 against St. Louis. Thomas made some of the most amazing saves in his time in Boston, including a double-overtime diving stop against Montreal in game 5 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Although his best save had to have been against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2006 when he showed Martin St. Louis the definition of highway robbery going across the crease to save what would have been a goal about 99.8% of the time.
After helping guide the Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 2011, Thomas would go on to play for Boston until 2013 where he signed with the Florida Panthers on a tryout contract. He announced his retirement in 2014 after being traded to the Dallas Stars.
1. Milan Lucic
Ever since the hit that sent Mike Van Ryn through the glass (literally) I idolized Lucic more than any other player on all four Boston sports teams combined. His quickness to jump into a donnybrook (that is if he wasn’t the one to start it) won my appreciation right from the start of his career with the Bruins. It was an emotional night for me when he returned to Boston playing for my second favorite team in the Los Angeles Kings. And like every other player on this list, he was part of the 2011 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup-winning squad.
Lucic is still playing games for the Calgary Flames after being traded by the Edmonton Oilers. He is in his thirteenth season in the National Hockey League. His NHL career-high in goals came in the same season Boston won the Stanley Cup, in Lucic’s hometown of Vancouver.