On This Day In Bruins History: Jacques Plante!

A Look at the Bruins in the Hockey Hall of Fame(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

It’s not too often a legendary Montreal Canadiens goaltender can also share the spotlight in Boston Bruins history. Even if only for a minute.

That’s exactly what happened when NHL Hall of Famer Jacques Plante was traded to the B’s in the twilight of his hockey career in early 1973. And on this day — March 28th — he won his final game in the NHL, leading the Bruins to victory over the Rangers 6-3.

Plante was 44 years old at the time of the victory making him the oldest Bruins goalie to win an NHL game. In another fun historical fact, he’s one year younger than the man who owns the record as the oldest ever NHL goalie: Maurice “Moe” Roberts. And way  back when in 1925 at the ripe age of 19, Roberts made his professional hockey debut for… you guessed it… the Boston Bruins!

I couldn’t have Plante-d a better nugget of B’s history as we March towards April. Stay tuned to the Black N’ Gold blog for more OTDIBH (On This Day In Bruins History) articles as our break from hockey continues into the Spring — but hopefully not all Summer!

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On This Day In Bruins History: The Kraut Line!

Image result for bruins kraut line(Photo Credit: Bruins Pinterest)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Since so many of us hockey and Bruins fans are keeping our social distance during our current COVID-19 crisis, let’s take a look back at the “distant” past of our favorite franchise with a new feature series: “On This Day In Bruins History”!

Thanks to heralded hockey scribe Mike Commito, here’s the ideal way to drop the puck on these celebrated stories of B’s history — with a St. Patrick’s Day emphasis on some ‘Kraut, a perfectly palatable delicatessen for such an occasion.

And of course, that means deliciously writing about the famously formidable KRAUT LINE of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart who, on March 17th eighty years ago, ended the NHL season as the top three scorers in all of hockey.

Our modern-day version of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak — nicely nicknamed The Perfection Line — could definitely appreciate the perfect scoring skill of The Krauts, all of whom helped lead the Bruins to two Stanley Cups in three years — 1939 and 1941, respectively.

Not only were these three remarkable B’s players admired and championed by their teammates, but also by their most heated opponents — The Montreal Canadiens.

In February of 1942, only days before Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart were scheduled to join the Royal Canadian Airforce and serve their country during World War II, their fellow countrymen from North of the Border did this after the B’s beat the Canadiens 8-1 at the Boston Garden:

 

Talk about a brilliant Black N’ Gold tribute from the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge! Stay tuned for even more historical tributes to the B’s as we continue to update this blog with even more “On This Day In Bruins History” feature stories as we await the restart of our favorite game.

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Bruins Superfan Jill Murphy Recognized By Upper Deck Hockey

(Photo Credit: @jmurphx11)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“I’m going to think of you yelling at me on TV when I turn the puck over.”

That’s what Bruins superstar Brad Marchand said to his superfan Jillian “Jill” Murphy after visiting her at Boston Children’s Hospital last March. And as the rest of the season — and now a full year — unfolded, so too did their relationship, both in person and on Twitter, as documented by B’s writer Eric Russo in a heartwarming and entertaining feature story he shared with the Black N’ Gold fanbase.

Now, Murphy needs more than just Marchy to help her earn an even more prestigious recognition: Upper Deck’s #UltimateMVP award!

That’s right, she needs YOU — the fans of the Boston Bruins, and hockey in general — to show her some love just like he did AND like she does on a daily basis for the B’s:

Speaking of likes… that’s what it will take to make her UD’s top fan! People need to click on the tweet she shared from @UpperDeckHockey, LIKE IT by clicking on the “heart” button and then telling others via shares and comments to do the same!

As Russo pointed out in his feature piece on Murphy, she suffers from a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which limits her mobility and requires the use of a wheelchair. And it was Marchand who sent her plenty of hearts when he invited the Murphy’s to not only experience the B’s up close and personal on TD Garden Ice, but also in the locker room post game one year ago this week:

Now, with the calendar flipped to 2020, Murphy has her sights set on another goal (and perhaps Marchand, too, if he can stop “the turnovers” she so comically chirped him about online): becoming OUR Boston Bruins MVP online! And as you can see from her very inspiring and supportive Twitter account, she’s definitely more than qualified for the job.

So, what say you Black N’ Gold brethren? Can we help Murph MARCH to the top of the #MyMVP competition at Upper Deck Hockey? I most certainly think we can. After all, the puck stops here!

Image(Photo Credit: Upper Deck Hockey)

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Bergeron Joins Elite Bruins Company

Image result for patrice bergeron bruins goal(Photo Credit: YouTube)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

“Patrice Bergeron. That’s it. That’s the tweet.”

Or, in this case, story. And further adding to his storied Spoked-B career, No. 37 for the Black N’Gold just joined an ELITE group of Bruins scorers.

Because Bergeron accomplishes so much so often, it’s easy to forget just how amazing some of his milestone moments truly are (New England community & league leadership notwithstanding) — from the overall number of games played to the oftentimes player of the game status. But his most recent accolade BEARS some highlighting and not just for the illustrious company he now keeps with names like Neely & McNab, Espo, The Chief and Nifty.

It’s for the workmanlike — dare I say, yeoman-like — way Bergeron has earned his sixth 30-goal season that we should tip our caps (or should I say helmets). Without the above tweet, I don’t think many of us would have even blinked an eye when we heard it. And that’s because Bergy is ALWAYS at his consistent best, whether he’s scoring goals, setting up others or shutting down his fellow forwards.

 

Here are the five previous seasons where No. 37 eclipsed the coveted 30-goal plateau:

PATRICE BERGERON SEASON GOAL TOTALS:

2005-2006 – 31 goals

2013-2014 – 30 goals

2015-2016 – 32 goals

2017-2018 – 30 goals

2018-2019 – 32 goals

And notice the near-decade gap in between season’s one and two of his historic marker! Lest we all forget that Bergeron began his Bruins career as a babe — only 18 years old. And then had nearly three playing seasons combined taken off his tally sheet due to injury and concussion concerns over the next few years.  So LONGEVITY goes hand-in-hand with consistency when it comes to the courageous B’s co-captain.

Speaking of consistency, Bergeron is only a “hat trick” away from accomplishing yet another career achievement — most goals in a season. And “B”-lieve you me, when he’s putting up goals AND assists, then watch out competition.

This is exactly how he hopes to reward the B’s — and in turn how his teammates hope to reward him… by producing on the ice and hoisting up ONE MORE CUP to round out an incredible decade of two-way dominance!

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Bruins Champion 8-Spoked Salute!

8Spoke(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Giving appreciation to our military heroes and veterans is something the Boston Bruins organization not only takes pride in, but also champions year after year and season after season. And for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, the franchise is looking to recognize local and New England-area Armed Forces members –Active Duty, Guard or Reserve — who are exactly those champions!

And *YOU can nominate them by doing the following, per the Bruins website:

The Bruins and the Massachusetts State Lottery are proud to salute the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. At select games throughout the 2019-20 season, a member or members of the Armed Forces [Active Duty, Guard or Reserve] will receive the 8-Spoked Salute for their service to our country. Selected winners will receive four (4) complimentary tickets to a Bruins home game and a live welcome on Garden HDX (video scoreboard). If you would like to nominate a Service Member of the Community, fill out the form below. Entries for selection must include a valid reason as to why an individual should be selected for this honor. Last year, the Lottery gave back over $1.1 billion to the Commonwealth, providing essential local aid for all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

The B’s and the MA Lottery have partnered up before to salute our nation’s heroes, with the Black N’ Gold tipping their helmets to those who wear navy, green, tan, camouflage and of course red, white & blue! The video below shows just how up-close-and-personal our service members can get to the players during such games as Military Appreciation Night and the 8-Spoked Salute:

 

The Bruins’ organization also has a proud history during the 8-Spoked-Salute games of honoring those service members we’ve lost while fighting for our freedoms. The team has even surprised military families with reunions on TD Garden ice:

It’s one of those occasions where sport and sacrifice intertwine to form a bond that is honored by all — no matter your politics, passions or pursuits. And, in the case of the Bruins, that intertwining involves 8 spokes, bringing even more value, sentiment and meaning to the beloved and bespoked B’s!

*Again, YOU can send in your nominations here: https://www.nhl.com/bruins/community/8-spoked-salute   

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 168 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins “Leap” Into Franchise History Books!

Image result for boston bruins sean kuraly(Photo Credit: NBC4)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

While the “Kura-leap” by Boston Bruins forward Sean Kuraly can be experienced often (as pictured above), the B’s experiencing an actual LEAP DAY game is few and far between.

However, their February 29th, 2020 tilt against the New York Islanders on the road at the venerable Nassau Coliseum (well, that’s what it used to be called anyway) proved to be as entertaining as it was memorable; as enjoyable as it was historic; and as engaging as it was important.

That’s because the Bruins — for the first time in franchise history — won a game on Leap Year’s extra day while away from Boston. Their impressive 4-0 road win improved their overall Leap Day record to a now winning 5-4-1.

I had this game Marked On My Bruins Calendar since the Fall for exactly this fun reason: could the B’s end February — and in turn jump start their Spring playoff push — with a big W on a calendar-quirky day that rarely ever falls in line with their schedule. To wit:

BOSTON BRUINS LEAP YEAR HISTORY:

1940 – W, 4-2 over Montreal

1944 – L, 7-3 @ Toronto

1948 – L, 5-1 @ Chicago Blackhawks

1956 – L, 4-2 @ New York Rangers

1964 – W, 2-1 over Detroit Red Wings

1968 – W, 4-1 over Toronto Maple Leafs

1976 – W, 5-3 over Vancouver Canucks

1992 – T, 5-5 with Washington Capitals

2000 – L, 5-1 to Ottawa Senators

2020 – W, 4-0 over New York Islanders

Only ten Leap Day games since 1940 have lined up with the Bruins battling it out on the 29th of February. But for today’s historic happenings, it was well worth it. Multiple point games from Torey Krug and Long Island homecoming king Charlie McAvoy (well, that’s how the crowd cheered for him every time he touched the puck), as well as the 49th shutout of Tuukka Rask’s career highlighted only some of the successful on-ice work the B’s brought to the isle.

Now it’s time for Boston to focus on adding some extra hardware to their trophy case as the team gears up for a huge final few weeks of the regular season. The only thing extra they’ll need now is energy and rest because when it comes to the rest of the schedule, they may just want to leap forward over it.

The Lightning strike twice during the first week of March followed by some big Original Six divisional match-ups against the always pesky Red Wings and potential playoff partners (again?) the Maple Leafs. Then there’s that whole West Coast Kick road trip through California!

But if making history is any indicator of how well the B’s are performing this season, then expect a final stretch of hockey that could set the Black N’ Gold up for the ultimate historical payback: returning to the Stanley Cup finals and winning one year removed from losing — something even rarer than a Leap Day “W”.

I’d jump for that!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Need Strong “Finish” All Around

Image result for boston bruins(Photo Credit: WCVB Boston)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins need a big finish to the schedule this season. Or, in the case of Tuukka Rask, a big Finnish

And I mean all around, in every aspect of the game: from taking care of lackluster low-pointers like the Red Wings & Rangers to tight tie-breakers like the Penguins & Lightning to just properly putting points up by building up and protecting leads and shutting down opponents.

Because unlike the ALMOST-Cup-clinching season of yesteryear, the B’s road to playoff success in 2020 will undoubtedly go through more qualified, consistent and competitive match-ups than Toronto, Columbus and Carolina.

Yes, if the B’s truly want to win the Atlantic Division, hold off Tampa Bay, win a few rounds against the likes of the Capitals and Penguins and then return to the Stanley Cup Finals, they’re going to need everything in the tank — and then some!

What exactly does that entail? Well, for starters, no “off” days or “bad” games. The Bruins need to treat each and every contest between now and April 4th like the playoffs have already started. The team’s recent 9-out-of-10-games win streak is a great way to get this mindset going.

But with the Bolts truly bolting their way to the top of the division and league (and perhaps even past the Bruins by Leap Day), that could mean a loss of home ice or being seeded against an unfavorable team come this Spring. That’s not the kind of “finish” the B’s are looking for.

Speaking of which, Dealin’ Donny Sweeney must learn to finish off one of his myriad trade proposals before the pickens are slimmer than Slim himself! As pointed out by numerous Black N’ Gold bloggers and podcasters recently, the B’s are thus far standing pat as all their competitors pick up potential targets that could bolster an already strong Bruins’ lineup.

It “bears” no repeating how badly Boston needs a top 6 RW for the second line to play alongside David Krecji and consistently put the puck in the net and/or set-up his linemates. Perhaps this is the reason the B’s didn’t “finish” off the Blues in the Cup finals last year — no depth or secondary scoring!

But ruminations and repudiations aside, here’s what we ALL want to see down the scheduling stretch and into the second season for the B’s: a fighting finish. Literally and figuratively. Throw the gloves down when necessary. Put teams away whenever you can. Make Tampa and Pittsburgh and Washington work as hard as humanly possible to catch you in the standings. Seamlessly integrate new players via trade or call-ups.

In short, play Bruins hockey. The kind of hockey we all know, love and remember from 2011. Now wouldn’t that be a way to FINISH!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins “Serve Up” Pucks & Paddles Event

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Foundation)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

The Boston Bruins “served up” quite the successful charity event in mid-January to kick-start what will undoubtedly be another milestone year of community service and fundraising in 2020.

The third annual Pucks & Paddles event to benefit the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center raised $125,000 after all was said and done, with B’s players partnering up with fans, broadcasters and community members for a competitive single-elimination table tennis (aka ping pong) tournament.

Patrice Bergeron “captained” the always entertaining event with 98.5 The Sports Hub co-sponsoring all the fundraising fun and festivities. Here’s the description from the official Pucks & Paddles page:

“Fans [had] the opportunity to bid for their chance to play ping pong with their favorite Bruins player. The tournament commenced with two select players playing ping pong against two patients from Floating Hospital for Children, followed by a single elimination tournament featuring the players, on air talent and bidders. The rounds advanced to a championship game featuring the final two teams, with a winning tandem being crowned the ping pong fest champions. In addition, the four best Bruins ping pong players participated in a separate informal singles competition to demonstrate their talents to the crowd.”

Bruins prospect Anton Blidh and his partner were crowned “the champions of the event” according to the B’s website, where more than a dozen friendly photos of ping pong prowess and table tennis tenacity are on display.

If you’re wondering how that “whopping $125,000” will benefit local children and families, look no further than this description from the Boston Bruins Foundation:

“Patients from Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center are invited to participate in the tournament and proceeds raised from the annual event benefit the hospital and the Boston Bruins Foundation. In 2019, Pucks and Paddles raised a grand total of $120,000. Portions of the money raised goes toward providing extraordinary care and exceptional comfort when families need it most. Floating Hospital for Children knows that helping kids requires cutting-edge research, state of the art facilities, and caregivers who treat all children as if they are their own.”

As expected, the event was a “hit” for area families, fans and local businesses — all benefiting from the B’s consistent commitment to community that will continue to resonate… from pucks to paddles!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE!

Motherly Love Just What Bruins Needed

Image(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

Motherly love. That’s exactly what the Bruins needed heading into Nashville and then [back to] Boston for a two-game stretch that will hopefully serve as a 2020 “turning point” in their season.

Then again, hindsight is also 20/20. But any B’s observer could plainly see why the Black N’ Gold brought their A-games the past two games: MOM was watching.

From Tuukka Rask’s mom high-fiving her suitemates in the Music City to Brad Marchand’s mom pinching his cheeks postgame to Jake DeBrusk’s mom shedding a tear after his multiple goals to David Pastrnak’s mom celebrating his impressive hat trick…

… it was a good time to show love and support to their sons — not to mention the sons of Shore, Orr & Causeway galore!

 

As Mrs. DeBrusk shared to the NESN cameras following her son’s stellar two-goal soiree against the Winnipeg Jets… “they were really sick for the record… just for the record. He was really sick (‘It’s OK, Mom’). So, don’t be too hard on him!” If that isn’t the epitome of Momspeak, I don’t know what is, LOL!

 

But just as jumpin’ Jake (to alliteratively tease his goal-scoring celly) alluded to, it’s amazing to have “the Moms” around. And if the B’s keep playing like they have been, then I think we’ll all agree with the team’s official twitter account:

The moms can stay, indeed! Truly, there’s nothing like home cookin’ when Mom’s around.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 161 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins Leadership A Big “Plus”

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: Zimbio)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

When it comes to the B’s best plus players… well, there are certainly not many minuses in their game. Literally now as much as figuratively.

As the Boston Bruins official @NHLBruins Twitter account shared ahead of the B’s big shutout victory on the road over the Buffalo Sabres, a triumvirate of Black N’ Gold leaders and all-stars are wrapping up quite the DECADE of positive play.

Captain Zdeno Chara, Alternate Captain (but we all know it’s “Co-Captain”) Patrice Bergeron and often “A”-wearer Brad Marchand are the NHL’s top three performers in plus/minus since January 1st, 2010. Talk about bringing your “A-Game” every game and for the past ten years!

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Marchand is atop the list at a staggering +215. Chara is up next at +207. And Bergeron rounds out the heralded “top three” at +201.

However, after all three of them boosted their stats during teammate Jaroslav Halak’s impressive 3-0 shutout — the 50th of his career — those all-important plus/minus numbers have now jumped!

Marchy moved up to +217, Big Z jumped to +208 and Bergy added two more pluses (I mean, doesn’t he have an endless supply of pluses to his game already?) to get to +203. And with two more games to go before the decade ends — against the Sabres and Devils, respectively — you can bet those numbers will improve even more before the team rings in 2020.

As a reminder, here’s how the NHL defines plus/minus:

A player is awarded a “plus” each time he is on the ice when his Club scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal. He receives a “minus” if he is on the ice for an even-strength or shorthanded goal scored by the opposing Club. The difference in these numbers is considered the player’s “plus-minus” statistic.

And statistically speaking, you’d be hard-pressed to find another trio of modern-day hockey talent that have positively produced like Marchand, Chara and Bergeron.

Image result for bruins marchand bergeron chara(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

You know how to cap off such an impressive accomplishment in the New Year? Bring home one more Stanley Cup to Boston (and ideally in Boston this time…we’ve had enough of these other teams celebrating on TD Garden ice) while all three are still together!

Now, wouldn’t that be a plus?

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BRUINS FANS!