Willie O’Ree, Bruins Legend, Inducted Into HHOF

Related image(Photo Credit: HHOF)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

When the NHL celebrated its “Centennial Memories” campaign with 100 of the greatest moments in hockey history last Spring, many of the clips featured highlight-reel goals & saves, Stanley Cup championships & champions, and unforgettable interviews with living legends of the game. But one very specific clip — a tribute if you will — resonated not only all throughout the city of Boston, but also most of Canada & Southern California as well. And that clip, that tribute, that truly inspiring story featured a player who literally & figuratively changed the face of the game, breaking the NHL’s color barrier in the process — Bruins No. 22, Mr. Willie O’Ree:

To say O’Ree had a ground-breaking moment in the history of hockey, as well as the history of a racially-charged Boston, would be an understatement, especially when you consider the era of his playing debut and the overall culture of a sport as white as the ice it’s played on. Look no further than the wonderfully insightful article written by friend of the Black N’ Gold Blog Scott Burnside from The Athletic, who interviewed an emotional O’Ree shortly after the now 83-year-old got the life-changing call he was headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame:

“O’Ree’s first NHL game was a Saturday night, Jan. 18, 1958, in Montreal. He and his Boston teammates then took a train to Boston for a return engagement against the powerful Canadiens the next day.

O’Ree overcame the barriers, both physical and societal, to become an NHL player at a time when there were but six NHL teams, and he did so having lost his sight in one eye courtesy of a deflected puck in the mid-1950s. He also had to face the kind of prejudice that has sadly driven many boys and girls from the sport over the years….

If this was how it was going to be in the NHL, the taunts, the violence, the hatred, maybe he wasn’t cut out for it, he thought.”

Many fans, players, coaches, managers & leaders throughout the game are certainly glad he thought wrong. So was O’Ree, despite his NHL playing career only lasting a mere 45-games (although he continued playing professionally until his early 40’s in the Western & Pacific Hockey Leagues, respectively).

Yet, looking back, O’Ree’s legacy wasn’t about what he did on the ice — although overcoming both societal (being the game’s first black player) & physical challenges (being legally blind in one eye) to actually have a successful hockey-playing career was about as impressive of an athletic accomplishment as anyone could endure during that time frame. It’s about all that he did for the game off the ice. Going back to Burnside:

“The search was on for someone to help become the face of the NHL’s diversity task force, someone who could be a conduit to communities where hockey was not a given…

O’Ree always wanted to get back in the game, and when [it was] proposed that O’Ree work with the league and USA Hockey visiting girls and boys at rinks, schools and even correctional facilities around the country, talking about his journey and the game, O’Ree thought that might be a good fit.

Little did he know that this wouldn’t be just a job but also a labor of love.”

A labor of love he’s continuing to this day, and one that continues to be recognized by people in all facets of hockey, sport & society as a whole. Ten years ago, O’Ree sat down with CBS (where I anchored & reported for the better part of a decade) to talk about everything he had endured, accomplished and what he still wanted to do for hockey. It was intimate, revealing, and emotional but above all, it captured the essence of why the man is so revered all the way from Revere to San Diego to now Toronto, Ontario:

This aired just after O’Ree had celebrated the 50th anniversary of breaking hockey’s color barrier. Now, with the 60th anniversary celebrations continuing throughout 2018, O’Ree’s career & contributions to the game are being shared even more, especially with social media having such a lasting & profound reach.

O'Ree 60.jpeg(Photo Credit: NHL)

So, how will O’Ree’s outreach impact the game, the NHL, Boston and countless young players all across the United States & Canada moving forward for the former forward? I think it’s a safe bet to assume he won’t be too far away from a rinkside view, especially in Allston where the B’s Foundation, team and community went “all in” to dedicate a special rink to O’Ree this year!

Just like Burnside discovered, O’Ree’s presence, personality & penchant for always finding the time to talk hockey with anyone, anywhere, will be remembered even more than his spirited play, which goes to show how genuinely affable, relatable & altruistic he was and continues to be to everyone he encounters:

“Even during his playing days, O’Ree was always the last one on the team bus, always taking time for one more picture, one more autograph, one last bit of conversation with fans young and old.

O’Ree would like to see more coaches of color, more executives, scouts, the gamut. And beyond the rink…

…there’s something more than a little comforting in knowing that O’Ree isn’t going anywhere but to his next stop as he makes his way past those flags and back to a car that will take him to an airport and to another meeting with young people eager to hear his story.”

And this is a story that will be told long after O’Ree has left us and left behind his legacy — one that rightfully will now always be remembered, and enshrined, in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Image result for willie o'ree hockey hall of fameImage result for willie o'ree hockey hall of fame

(Photo Credits: HHOF)

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Bruins Winter Classic Jersey Highlights History!

Image result for bruins winter classic jersey 2019(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

The Winter Classic.

There’s a reason the word “Classic” is in the title of hockey’s most famed & followed outdoor game. It literally means judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. And boy oh boy did the Bruins do that definition justice with a truly outstanding, dare I say classic, choice for their New Year’s Day look against Chicago.

Since it was unveiled, the praise has been as consistent as a David Pastrnak one-timer from below the face-off circle. First from the fans:

Then from the writers/bloggers:

Then from the players themselves:

When I had the pleasure to preview this proposed look over the Summer in my Best Bruins Logos piece for the Black N’ Gold Blog, I “fittingly” featured the 1930’s iconic brown & gold BOLD B as one of the top (shelf) in team history, especially when donned largely by a man named Tiny. Sure, there are critics/haters who argue the “B” stands for “bland” or “boring,” but it held sway for a decade+ and was even brought back, as we know, for the NHL 75th anniversary jerseys of the late ’80s. To wit:

So, what will this new (and old at the same time) Winter Classic jersey bring back for the B’s and their fans? Hopefully, a sense of Bruins pride and appreciation — not just for the franchise’s heritage, but also their continued hockey tradition of representing the Original 6 of the game at the most enjoyable outdoor game of the season. And speaking of traditions…

I think we should all “tip our caps” to, and for, this to happen. After all, it would be classic Boston Bruins, just like their new Winter Classic wardrobe (<—click the hyperlink to get your very own jersey & WC gear today)!

Do you live in the New England area and want to attend the Boston Bruins games that are being played during the upcoming homestand? Check out the available seats from our advertising partner Seat Giant!  You still have 3 GREAT GAMES to choose from (Vancouver, Toronto, Vegas)!!! Click the link below for more details and please use discount code: BNGP if you make a purchase.


“Bruins Ballot” Features Tough Choices

(Photo Credit: Enlight)

By: Evan Michael  |  Follow Me On Twitter @EVAN007onTV

Happy Election Day, Bruins Fans!

I hope you’re going to the polls, or have already voted, as it is the most important, essential and empowering democratic tool individually given to each and everyone one of us (although it did take a bit too long for the “everyone of us” part to finally kick in). Speaking of impactful votes, if the B’s were on the ballot this November, which way would your support lean? Would you be liberal with your praise and positivity, or more conservative when it comes to the team’s success so far? Or are you more down the middle with the Bruins’ record, play & consistency at the “Midterm” mark of the season?

Well, now’s your chance to “vote” on the following three Black N’ Gold referendums — all decisive (if not divisive) in terms of what could be in store for the B’s as the season progressively progresses!

1. Who Should Be The Bruins Third Line Center?

A. David Backes

B. Sean Kuraly

C. Joakim Nordstrom


Image result for boston bruins third line(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

The B’s tried Kuraly in this role to start the season and didn’t like what they saw. They even threw his 4th-line battery mate Noel Acciari in for a game. That didn’t work either. Then it was newbie Nordstrom who flashed some offensive capabilities for a few games but nothing consistent stuck so he didn’t stick. Now it’s been back to Backes but with zero results to back it up! As a result, I say VOTE OTHER in the hopes either Cassidy (in house) or Sweeney/Neely (trade) can fix this very glaring roster & ballot box issue that was recently bandied about by fellow BNG writer @phonymahoney!

2. Who Should Be The Bruins Number One Netminder?

A. Tuukka Rask

B. Jaroslav Halak

C. Goalie Platoon

Image result for rask halak(Photo Credit: NESN)

Why don’t you netMIND your own business, buddy!? Yeah, I get this is a sensitive topic… it’s one of those votes you cover with both hands because you don’t even trust the dividers to Steve Shields your answer from prying (Russian) eyes. BUT, it is a major issue right now in B’s nation with the early exit polls heavily favoring Halak for his consistently stellar play, and record and numbers and stats and attitude. However, as we’ve seen in previous administrations, a “Rask Revival” is always in the cards with bandwagon support quickly following. So, perhaps for the time being, I’d VOTE GOALIE PLATOON aka riding-the-hot-hand so as to give the team the best shot at getting on a roll ahead of the all-important Thanksgiving Day record indicator.

3. Who Gets The Next Call Up From Providence?

Image result for bruins prospects(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

A. Ryan Donato

B. Trent Frederic

C. Zach Senyshyn


If you are a betting kind of voter, or one who consistently goes with “the favorite” on the ballot, then Donato would seem like the obvious choice since he was only recently sent down after his slow start to the season in Boston. But, perhaps a few solid weeks of play in Providence with no TD Garden cameos is exactly what the youngster needs. As a result, the likes of some Center depth being called up could look good for Frederic (especially if the B’s 3rd line keeps struggling–see referendum one again if you need a reminder), as well as a shake up on the wing, perhaps, for Senyshyn if the Heinen’s and Bjork’s of the B’s world don’t produce soon. Or, none of those names will cruise up to Causeway leaving the door open for another young D-man, and Z-man, like Jakub Zboril to make his debut mark. This is a tough choice. For me, I’m VOTING DONATO because I think he’s currently motivated as hell to prove he can consistently score in Providence and thus earn a promotion back to Beantown (and ideally just in time for the holidays as the BNG’s own @michaelderosa88 profiled recently).

Of course, all votes will be kept confidential–hanging Chad Johnsons not included–and tallied by puck drop of the next game! Or, we’ll just pretend to do that since this was an exercise in civic (center?) entertainment as opposed to civic duty. Nevertheless, IT IS your duty to stay on top of all things Boston Bruins and between the BNG Blog, The Athletic BOS (click on the link to save 40% on your subscription) and our friends at Seat Giant below, we’ve truly got you covered this Election Day AND every day!

Do you live in the New England area and want to attend the Boston Bruins games that are being played during the upcoming homestand? Check out the available seats from our advertising partner Seat Giant!  You still have 3 GREAT GAMES to choose from (Vancouver, Toronto, Vegas)!!! Click the link below for more details and please use discount code: BNGP if you make a purchase.


Rask Rebounds (Despite Rebounds) for Bruins

Image result for bruins vs stars(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Evan Michael  |  Follow Me On Twitter @EVAN007onTV

“What a disastrous turn of events!”

That’s how Bruins’ play-by-play man and broadcast veteran Jack Edwards described the short-handed goal that slipped through the literally short-handed glove of Tuukka Rask in the opening moments of the B’s game against the Dallas Stars at TD Garden on the 5th of November, 2018 (and he wasn’t the only one who noticed).

And with the 2018 season nearly 1/5 of the way completed, the play of Rask — and the team at large — has been as consistently inconsistent as any line combination not including the names of Bergeron, Marchand or Pastrnak. Yet, there are more positives than negatives to focus on in the wake of the latest B’s game which produced an emphatic OT win that was truly well-deserved and well-earned, as BNG colleague Mike Cratty sharply surmised.

Image result for bruins stars(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Among them: Rask’s ability to rebound, despite the many rebounds he pucked up, in a game where everyone associated with the spoked-B and Black N’ Gold was watching him with laser focus. And I mean fricken-sharks-with-laser-beams-attached-to-their-heads kinda focus (you know you’ve become the main subject of Boston fans’ & writers’ ire when even the World Champion Red Sox can’t pull the attention away):

Now, I understand we all have differing opinions on which B’s writers/bloggers/correspondents we choose to support and follow and retweet, etc… but literally EVERYONE in the biz was hellbent on ensuring Mr. Two U’s, Two K’s and Two Points was going to, point blank, face the firing squad after surrendering that initial “softie” that gave Dallas the early lead (yours included).

Yet, as the game progressed and as the B’s responded–both offensively and defensively–the play of Rask so too improved, as did his confidence and puck management, if not puck luck. What more can you ask for from a goalie, used to playing consecutive games, who was making his first start in a week. And in front of a revved-up home crowd expecting nothing less than perfection ala the other Boston team adorning B’s jerseys which greeted the likes of Rask and his teammates before puck drop.

To say he overcame the hype & hysteria wouldn’t be hysterical or too hyped-up at all. It would be accurate, just like his precision from the opening goal onward and into overtime — a time where his own focus kept the B’s in it to win it until, indeed, they won it.

So, like our esteemed partner from The Athletic-Boston Fluto Shinzawa wrote following the game, how can Rask stay confident after his big “W” in net? Well, acknowledging the positives and focusing on the saves made as opposed to the lone shot he missed is a solid start, as is staying crease confident during all practices & scrimmages, even if for the time being his role is to “back up” Halak (which is not easy for a veteran with “starter mentality”).

Here’s hoping us media-types can do the same because as we all know after any event labeled a “disaster,” there’s always a 100% effort to rebuild, rework and refocus on our strengths. And, when you look at the big picture, a big strength for the B’s IS in net, where they will undoubtedly need to count on a consistently winning Tuukka Rask again soon.

Maybe this game, this start, and this performance was just the rebound he needed.

Do you live in the New England area and want to attend the Boston Bruins games that are being played during the upcoming homestand? Check out the available seats from our advertising partner Seat Giant!  You still have 3 GREAT GAMES to choose from (Vancouver, Toronto, Vegas)!!! Click the link below for more details and please use discount code: BNGP if you make a purchase.


Happy (Gilmore) Halloween, Bruins Fans!


IMG_8616(Photo Credit: Evan Michael)

By: Evan Michael  |  Follow Me On Twitter @EVAN007onTV

As a Bruins hockey fan, as a Halloween costume fanatic, and as someone with a comedy movie fandom… you won’t find me “Happier” than when I’m supporting all things Happy Gilmore (and B’s) for the sporting holiday season.

That’s why I paid tribute to my favorite team and one of my favorite genre flics at two very fitting October events — the Tiny Putters Golf League Spooktational Tourney (above) and the Costumed Karaoke Comedy Hour (below).

Sure, I stayed until the night closed in (and thankfully wasn’t Exiled, wink wink nod nod) but I was truly in my Happy place, just like Pasta winging it with Bergy & Marchy. Or the entire B’s team when visiting the Boston Children’s Hospital, as the players annually do each Halloween season:

So, in honor of the Bruins recognition, support and appreciation for what a costume can do to put a smile on someone’s face, especially someone who may be in need of it most, we should all put on our Bruins jerseys to literally and figuratively “be Happy” this Halloween season (or Gerry Cheevers or Reggie Lemelin depending on the jersey). Hec (Fowler), people are even doing it all throughout Vancouver aka enemy territory!

And you can definitely count on me smiling after that just like you can definitely count on Mr. Larson waiting for Shooter McGavin in the parking lot after the Tour Championship. He wanted to wear the Gold Jacket. Thankfully, we get to wear Black AND GOLD this Fall holiday season.

Happy (Gilmore) Halloween, Bruins Fans!

Bruins Reminder: “Canadian Kick” An Important Road Trip

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

Image result for Bruins In Canada(Photo Credit: Root & Anchor)

Allow myself to introduce…myself.

Or, more specifically quote myself, to paraphrase legendary comedic spy Austin Powers (Danger’s his middle name). Over the Summer, I had the pleasure to preview for the Black N’ Gold Blog a number of important games in the schedule, with my “Mark Your Bruins Calendar: Part I” focusing on this upcoming stretch of hockey against Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver & yes–even Ottawa. At that time, my thoughts were centered around just how big of a potential impact these games–and this road trip as a whole–could have on the play, chemistry & depth of this year’s talented B’s squad:

I’m more interested in the first big road trip of the year, and it comes not long after the season starts. In fact, only five games in. AND, it’s the always challenging Canadian west coast kick. Usually, this stretch of games is reserved for the late Winter / early Spring part of the schedule but not this season. Right out of the gate, the B’s players — especially the young guns and newly acquired backup Jaroslav Halak — will be tested with a tricky trip through British Columbia and Alberta (capped off with a “how do ya do” in Ottawa, Ontario). Fellow blogger @thesportsguy97 mentioned this stretch when he previewed the whole schedule recently, but I’m highlighting it again because of its potential importance to the team.

(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

So, just how important do these games potentially look NOW? Well, for starters, the Bruins are one of the hottest team’s in hockey and a good, long road trip through the Great White North will definitely be a stiff challenge to their recent winning ways. But, it could also be a galvanizing experience for the roster & coaching staff, especially if the B’s can pick up points in AT LEAST 3 of the 4 contests (I’m personally predicting a 2-1-1 record). To wit:

It goes without saying what a solid showing versus Calgary, Edmonton (back-to-back, hence Halak’s importance) and Vancouver can do for the morale of the team… One needs to look no further than the 2010-2011 Cup-winning Bruins squad that SWEPT these teams in late February. That stretch of play galvanized the youthful B’s core along with the grizzled vets and truly catapulted them to contender status. Yes, that was towards the end of the year, but getting those same results–or at least the same level of spirited competition–at the start of the year for this upcoming B’s squad would be absolutely beneficial to everyone. It would also prove that team bonding during travel makes a big difference on the ice, as I’ve always felt personality and leadership on the road can be just as invaluable as all those “intangibles” coaches, scouts and hockey insiders like to mention…

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that the Bruins currently have better records than all of their “Canadian Kick” opponents, in addition to having played Calgary twice in China (both wins), and Edmonton & Ottawa at home last week (two very spirited winning affairs). So, you better believe that all of these teams on home-ice, including the Oil’s home opener, will be gunning for some sweet revenge against the B’s. This won’t be an easy seven days of hockey & travel, which is all the more reason why everyone needs to make the most of their recent inspired teamwork, chemistry & camaraderie together–all qualities that not even the most stat-filled score sheet can account for (which may explain why the B’s are hiring more analytics experts as our friends over at The Athletic have shared).

What you can COUNT ON over the next week plus, however, is a special slate of hockey for a hungry B’s team eager to prove their hot start isn’t a fluke or a circumstance of scheduling. Because, in the paraphrased words of an aforementioned International Man of Mystery (and later hockey but we’ll save that for another article), their upcoming schedule is not the time to lose one’s head…or not get ahead in the standings… or not be headstrong… or not be the head of their division…

OK, that’ll do!

Bruins’ Nordstrom, Donato Will Push Each Other

(Photo Credits: SportSpyder & MassLive)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

We’ve all heard the phrase “follow in your footsteps” before. But for Ryan Donato, skate strides seems a more applicable substitution. And since the young B’s forward was substituted out of his second-line duty against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night, he had a front row seat from the press box at TD Garden to pay attention to exactly said skates and said strides — both of which belonged to Boston newcomer Joakim Nordstrom, whose play will undoubtedly help Donato make his very own strides as he develops his NHL game. To wit:

“Strength along the wall” is exactly what I said aloud after watching the versatile veteran plow past three Oilers then turn on the jets for a classic give-and-go with David Krejci for the B’s third goal of the game — a game that Donato (with his birds-eye view of the ice) could see fully develop, I assume, from end to end and rush to rush. This is the perfect kind of on-the-job lesson-learning that Coach Bruce Cassidy was hoping for the promising 22-year-old to witness (as he did last year a few times), just like fellow up-and-comers Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Matt Grzelcyk and others all experienced at one point or another last season for a few games. And it was also the perfect time for Cassidy to make the switch, tweak his lines and motivate his team — motivation that the eager-to-make-a-good-impression Nordstrom definitely took advantage of.

How will both players now take advantage of their own skill sets after one found immediate success on the ice while the other made mental notes off the ice? Well, my guess is that Donato will not want to be regulated to press box duty again and will use the play of Nordstrom (that I’m hoping he paid attention to all game long) to understand the importance of moving his legs in the battle areas and up against the boards. This, naturally, will make future net drives more fruitful for both he and his fellow linemates.

There’s not one person on the Bruins, in the NHL or on Team USA who doesn’t believe in Donato’s highly skilled ability to score goals with his snipe of a shot. So, here’s hoping Donato will now believe more in himself and use the play of Nordstrom as not just motivation, but also realization that he can be an effective (even dominant) two-way player whose responsibility with the puck will lead to offensive rewards.

Image result for ryan donato bruins(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)

As for Nordstrom, he now has a taste for goal scoring in a B’s uniform and will want that taste to linger like a fine wine (a bottle of Rosè Ruzicka anyone?) AND for many more games in Black N’ Gold. He knows what it will take to stay in the lineup and he’s proven, at least for now, that he can handle that Cassidy-charged responsibility by bringing energy, toughness and a scoring touch to his play. Additionally, there’s the natural, even instinctual desire as an athlete, to not let anyone “take your job away,” especially after you’ve had success doing it. So, you can count on him also knowing that Donato will be chomping at the bit for a return to action and ready to puck pounce when the opportunity is given.

(Photo Credit: Edmonton Sun)

That being said, the end result should be both Nordstrom and Donato continuing to push each other to improve in all facets of their game, in particular the “s’s” –strength, speed, skating & scoring (with a sprinkling of skill). If the B’s brass are fortunate enough to witness that on the ice from their similar off-the-ice view recently shared by Donato (but not for long, right?), then you can count on a successful succession of each player following in the other’s footsteps … I mean, skate strides … all season long.

Bruins “Cook Up” Partnership with JWU

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

There can never be too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to TD Garden, the Legends Club or any of Delaware North’s hospitality suites. Especially if they’re from Johnson & Wales University.

As a result, Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs and members from the Boston Bruins front office announced a multi-year and multi-faceted partnership with JWU that will include experiential education opportunities for students and a tuition benefit for Delaware North’s global workforce. What exactly does that mean? Well, for starters (or more appropriately appetizers), it means fans attending all B’s home games in the near future will have many more mouth-watering opportunities to taste and treat themselves to locally concocted culinary delights. After all, JWU is one of the nation’s leading culinary arts education schools, and has produced some of the country’s most talented, top flight chefs this side of a kitchen counter (just head over to Food Network to gorge yourself on their illustrious alumni)!

It also means the B’s have found yet another way to embrace & support a valuable community institution, continuing the organization’s commitment to the city & region both now, and for the future. As the joint JWU & Bruins press release states, “experiential education is a cornerstone of the JWU education … as students will research and develop solutions to real–time industry issues identified by TD Garden, Boston Bruins and Delaware North leadership.” Talk about on the job training!

What else is on the menu? The release goes on to mention how the university “will develop an annual seminar program to be held at TD Garden on topics and issues relevant to its academic programming in the areas of food service, hospitality, and sports, entertainment and event management.” And for icing on the cake — to continue with the food-related grammatical phraseology of this post —  segments will also be filmed and aired on NESN’s “Behind the B” next year. As we know from previous B’s programming on the New England Sports Network, players, personnel, fans, even a big boisterous beloved B’s broadcasterreally like their hometown food:

And how’s this for a taste for victory, as the university’s website creatively mentions: a special “JWU item of the month” will be served in Legends and it will be open exclusively to B’s and C’s season ticket holders (reminder: since it is a private membership club located on the prestigious Level 3 of the TD Garden, make sure to do some schmoozing or call in a few connections in order to enjoy the JWU concoctions).

What can you possibly order up? “Following criteria specified by Legends, students in the College of Culinary Arts will develop four new menu items per season over the course of the partnership… [with] the Legends menu featuring a Johnson & Wales item that will change approximately every 20 games,” the release continues. Four new dishes to dish out per season? That’s my kinda game plan!

The team just needs to plan for no special pizza items making the new JWU menu or else Brad Marchand will leave everyone hungry! “Where the pizza at!? Where the pizza at!?” indeed (maybe they’ll call it the Number 63… No?).

Congrats to the B’s, the Wildcats and all forms of edible entertainment for this delectable deal that’s sure to give everyone their just desserts when the timing is right!

Bergeron Adds To Home Opener History for Bruins!

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

It’s officially 🎩🎩🎩’s off to No. 37, Patrice Bergeron, on recording his 4th career Hat Trick for the Boston Bruins during their 6-3 W over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Monday, Oct. 8.

Now, why does the date & location need mentioning? I mean, it really doesn’t matter when or where a player gets a “hattie” because it’s always worth celebrating, am I right? Well, it’s because the B’s Assistant Captain (or Co-Captain as I like to rightfully call him) made the franchise record books with his impressive 3-goal game on “Opening Day” in Boston.  That’s right … only a handful of Bruins in the history of the team have ever lit the lamp thrice during the Home Opener. And, oh, what a list it is to be on for Bergeron!

CARSON COOPER – 11/16/1926

Image result for carson cooper bruins

The 1926 Boston Bruins season began at home versus the soon-to-be arch-rival Montreal Canadiens. And thanks to Carson Cooper (not Claude) consistently connecting in the 4-1 contest, the B’s clocked the score sheet more times than a clean copper clapper kept in a closet can clang! For anyone who doesn’t get this alliterative reference, look no further than below. (photo credit: Flickr)

PHIL ESPOSITO – 10/10/1973

Image result for PHIL ESPOSITO OCTOBER 10TH 1973

It would take the B’s almost 50 years before another Home Opener Hattie (H.O.H.) and it probably surprises no one that it came at, and on, the hands of the Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito. Known for his scoring prowess, ‘Espo’ helped the B’s best the Canucks in a 6-4 win where offense was on display practically the whole game. The same can be said for his illustrious Bruins career — one in which he recorded 32 hat tricks between 1967 and 1975. How’s that for a dominating stretch of hockey that truly deserves a bit of sports illustration? (photo credit: Sports Memorabilia)

RICK MIDDLETON – 10/7/1976

Image result for rick middleton bruinsThere was nothing niftier than Rick “Nifty” Middleton scoring multiple times during a game. And he got the Gahhhden rockin’ in early October of 1976 when his hat trick propelled the B’s over the then Minnesota North Stars 6-2. Speaking of stars, Nifty was a bona fide B’s one his whole career wearing the spoked-B. (photo credit: NHL.com)

CAM NEELY – 1/22/1995 & 10/07/1995

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I don’t know how Beckett Hockey Monthly could’ve put a price on Cam Neely because his talent was truly priceless. And in 1995, the price was right (unlike for the Red Sox) TWICE as Neely notched quite the achievement on his Bruins’ belt. He garnered hat tricks in two separate Home Openers during the same calendar year since the start of the ’94 season was locked out until January.  Then, like clockwork, the ’95 season rolled around in October. So, Neely’s three goals in a 4-1 W versus Philly on 1/22 and three goals in a 4-4 T versus the Isles on 10/07 prove to be the best out-of-the-gate offensive outbursts to start a season in hometown hockey history. (photo credit: comc.com)


Image result for patrice bergeron hat trickAfter a highlight-filled skate down B’s home-opener-history lane, let’s “B Inclusive” just like the team’s campaign with the MA Special Olympics that debuted this October 8th and welcome Patrice Bergeron as the 5th official member of the H.O.H. club. His perfectly placed and timed three goals against the Sens got the TD Garden crowd ready for action all season long in the best way possible. After all, he was adding to the “Home Opener History for the Bruins!” (photo credit: Boston Globe)

Opening the Bruins “Opening Night” Past

IMG_8532.PNG(Photo Credit: NHL 19)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

The NHL’s “Opening Night” is officially upon us with the Boston Bruins dropping the puck on the 2018-2019 campaign against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. The nationally televised game on NBC Sports will mark the debut of Wednesday Night Hockey (in place of rivalry night), with the network hoping its re-branding will give a boost to ratings just like adding Patrice Bergeron back to the B’s power play.

IMG_8536(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Fun fact: this won’t be the first time the B’s & Caps have clashed in a coveted contest on Day 1 of the season. Nor will it be the first time the B’s have battled the previous year’s top team and current keeper of Lord Stanley’s silver chalice. But exactly how did all those games go? Do we want history to repeat itself or do we want the Bruins to go all Doc Brown / Marty McFly (better than McSorley, am I right?) and start an all-new space-time continuum puck path? Let’s open up the Bruins “Opening Night” past to take a look at some of these results, perhaps even flexing our flux capacitor mental muscles to predict just how well game one will go for the boys in Black N’ Gold!

Opening Night History Overall:

The Boston Bruins overall record on “Opening Night” (hereafter referred to as O.N.) is: 41 WINS, 35 LOSSES & 17 TIES dating back to December 1st, 1924 — the team’s inaugural game as a franchise in which the B’s defeated the Montreal Maroons 2-1 at home (but then felt marooned for the remainder of the month losing every other game). Since then, the B’s best streak of consecutive O.N. wins was from 1987-1995 (8 in a row), and there worst streak was from 1939-1946 where they were winless in, you guessed it, 8 consecutive games with 6 losses and 2 ties. More recently (since the 2012 lockout), the B’s are 5-1 on O.N. with last year’s entertaining tilt against the near-champion Predators proving the future in Boston is bright with a capital “B”.

Opening Night History vs Washington:

Speaking of the Capitals…the Caps and B’s have battled it out twice before on O.N. with both contests being in Boston (at the original Garden and later the T.D. Garden). The first was played on October 8th, 1987 in which the unforgettable Willi Plett (heavy sarcasm inferred) alongside no-names like Bourque, Wesley & Neely led the B’s to a 4-3 “W” over the Mike Gartner-led Capitals squad. The follow-up came on October 1st, 2009 in which Alexander Ovechkin, the big “O”, forced the B’s to take a big “L” 4-1.  With the lifetime O.N. series at 1-1… what will the outcome be for this crucial 2018 opener? If the B’s play anything like they did in the preseason vs. Washington, then you can wash up a win for Boston!

Opening Night History vs Defending Cup Champs:

However, winning against the previous season’s Stanley Cup winner on O.N. has been anything but easy for the Bruins over the last 95 years of professional hockey, during which the B’s took on the top ranked team in the NHL a near-record 10 times, going a paltry 2W-5L-3T. The majority of those games came during the “Original Six” era, where the odds were pretty good that if you didn’t win it all, you’d be seeing the champs right out of the gate the next season.

Image result for original six nhl opening night(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

The first time that happened for the B’s was on November 10th, 1932 when Eddie Shore and Tiny Thompson helped the team earn a tie against the Maple Leafs, 1-1. The Bruins would battle the defending-champ Leafs another two times in 1948 & 1964, winning and losing a game respectively. Boston would face Cup-clinching teams from Montreal on O.N. an impressive 6 times between 1935 and 1959, at first losing to the aforementioned Maroons before the familiar foe the Montreal Canadiens (in their smarmy bleu, blanc et rouge) beat them 3 times, with the B’s stealing a win and a tie once. It would be another four decades before a team defending its title opened their season against Boston with the New Jersey Devils skating into town on October 8th, 2003 and earning a 3-3 tie against the B’s “J-squad,” as Jumbo Joe & Jeff Jillson did all the scoring against the legendary Marty Brodeur.

Opening Night History on October 3rd:

As for O.N. on October 3rd… well, that’s only ever happened twice before in the storied history of the Bruins franchise. But the B’s are an undefeated 2-and-0, so “they got that going for them…which is nice,” to paraphrase golfing greenskeeper guru Karl Spackler. On 10/3/91, the B’s geared up against the New York Rangers winning 5-3 at home. Then, just 22 Shawn Thornton years later on 10/3/13, the Bruins bested the Bolts on Garden ice, winning 3-1 behind one of the most impressive short-handed penalty shot goals you’ll ever see scored. You can guess who lit the lamp (it may take you a few chances)… or just watch the highlights below!

So, now that you’re all caught up on your O.N. Bruins history–from Maroons to Marchand, from marquee match-ups to mismatched markers, from crowns to Caps and everything in between… how are you feeling THIS October 3rd? How does 10/3/18 look to you?

I tell you what… I wouldn’t trade places with anyone right about now!