The Bruins Most Prolific Scorer: Phil Esposito

phil-esposito

(Photo Credit: Tony Triolo Sports Illustrated)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

This week I have been working on an article about where David Pastrnak’s and Brad Marchand’s seasons project in regards to the greatest Bruins seasons of all time. The problem was that as I was researching and writing the article, it started to become more about B’s legend Phil Esposito than about the aforementioned players. At that point, I figured it would probably be a good idea to just dedicate an article to Esposito himself, and here we are.

Esposito was born on February 20, 1942, in the city of Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Province of Canada. His younger brother Tony was born in 1943 and legend has it that Phil forced his baby brother to play goal so that he could practice his shooting. Whatever they did back then, it appears to have worked out pretty well, as both are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The elder Esposito was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks and was told to join the Sarnia Legionnaires. He was a high-scoring player even as a teen, putting up 47 goals and 61 assists in only 32 games for his Junior B team. The following season he moved up to play for the St Catherines Teepees in the OHA-Jr league (sort of a precursor to the modern-day OHL). The jump in the competition didn’t seem to slow him down, and he recorded 32 goals and 39 assists (71 points) for the Teepees in 49 games.

In today’s NHL, a scorer like Esposito would have probably gotten a long look for the big club, but things worked differently back then. Despite his scoring prowess, when Esposito turned pro, he was assigned to the St. Louis Braves of the EPHL/CPHL. These leagues were started by the NHL and fully controlled by them in an attempt to have more control over the development of players. At the time, other professional leagues like the AHL existed but did not have strong relationships with NHL teams they do now. His first season with the Braves Esposito had 36g/54a in 71 games but was not called up. The following year (1962-63), he produced 24g/54a in only 43 games and got the call-up. In 27 NHL games that year, at the age of 20, Esposito had 3g/2a. While not the most auspicious start, he showed enough to the Chicago brass to earn a spot in the NHL for good.

Espo-CHI

(Photo Credit: The Hockey Writers)

He spent the next three seasons in Chicago, Espo put up some very good numbers. In 208 regular-season games in the Windy City, he had 71 goals and 98 assists, much of the time centering Bobby Hull. What a lot of fans today may not know is that despite these stats, Chicago did not see Esposito as a good “fit” for the team.  When the Blackhawks were eliminated in the 1966-67 semifinals by eventual Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs, Esposito had zero points in the six playoff games that postseason. He shouldered much of the blame from fans (and apparently staff) after the loss to the Leafs. The NHL was expanding from six to twelve teams in June of 1967, and the “Original 6” teams were going to lose a significant amount of players. Despite his statistics, the Blackhawks still considered Esposito an unproven talent and had no plans to protect him. So, on May 15th, 1967 (immediately before the rosters were frozen for the expansion draft), they dealt him and young forwards Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the struggling Bruins franchise for veteran center Pit Martin (who they saw as Esposito’s replacement), 22 year-old defenseman Gilles Marotte, and minor league goalie Jack Norris.

The Blackhawks saw the three players they dealt to Boston as underachievers who would not be missed by the NHL club. The centerpiece to the trade in their mind was the promising young Marotte, who had been paired in Boston with defense partner Bobby Orr. They (and many others) thought at the time they had fleeced the Bruins and their new GM, Milt Schmidt. Of course, over the next eight-plus seasons, this would be proven to be the furthest thing from the truth, as the Bruins would establish themselves as one of the dominant NHL clubs of the early and mid-’70s.

The long term benefits notwithstanding, the trade also paid immediate dividends for both Boston and Esposito. In his first year with the Bruins, he was named Assistant Captain and had 35 goals and 49 assists in 74 games, good for second in the NHL. Former teammate Stan Makita was the only one who finished above him (with 87 points). More importantly to Boston fans, the Bruins made the playoffs for the first time since the 1958-59 season. While they were swept in the first round by the eventual Cup-champion Canadians, it would mark the start of a 29 year consecutive run of playoff seasons in Boston.

The following season would result in more milestones for both Esposito and the team. In 1968-69 Esposito would become the first NHL player to reach 100 points in a season in the league’s history. Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe would also reach the century mark that year, but Esposito would hit it first and lead the league with 126 points during the regular season (49g/77a). This season would also start to establish Esposito, Ken Hodge, and Wayne Cashman as one of the most feared lines of the early ’70s. Hodge finished 5th in the NHL in scoring with 90 points (45 goals) and Cashman added 31 points in just 51 games. These numbers were due in large part to Esposito’s skill and influence. The Bruins as a team also improved, sweeping a series against Toronto, including outscoring them 17-0 (10-0 and 7-0) in games one and two at home. The Bruins would lose to Montreal again, but this time in a hard-fought six-game series in the Semifinals. Montreal would go on to sweep the St. Louis Blues for yet another Cup. Not the ending the Bruins were hoping for, but things were certainly looking up.

espo 2

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Alumni)

The next season, Esposito would take a bit of a step back from a personal standpoint. In 1969-70, he “only” produced 43 goals and 56 assists for 99 points in 76 regular-season games. That would be good enough for second in the NHL, behind teammate Bobby Orr, who finished with 120 points (33g/87a). Despite the slight fall off for Espo, the Bruins as a team improved to the highest level. After tying Chicago for first overall with 99 points, the B’s faced the NY Rangers in the first round and defeated them in six games. Next up was the Blackhawks, and Esposito would get a measure of revenge on his old team with a four-game sweep. The Finals pitted Boston against the St. Louis Blues, who were there for the third straight year representing the West. The Bruins made short work of the Blues, sweeping them 4-0 and bringing the Cup back to Boston for the first time since 1941. Esposito finished the playoffs with 27 points (13g/14a) in fourteen games.

Over the next five seasons, Espo would help the B’s win a second Cup and from 1970-71 through 1974-75, he would score an absolutely unbelievable 326 goals and add 361 assists. His point total over those five years (687) was only seven less than Hall of Famer Cam Neely accumulated over his entire career. Production like that will more than likely never be equaled.

Unfortunately, things did not end smoothly for Esposito in Boston. During the 1975-76 season, coming off a 127 point campaign the year before, he reportedly became upset over the Bruins asking him to take a reduced role at the age of 33. After winning two Cups, two Hart Trophies, and five Art Ross trophies, Esposito left town the same way he arrived, via the trade. He was moved in November of 1975, along with defenseman Carol Vadnais for Jean Ratelle, Brad Park, and Joe Zanussi. He played in New York for five more seasons before retiring in 1981 at the age of 38. In New York, Esposito never attained the same level of success he had in Boston, but he still managed 404 points in 422 games while he played in the “Big Apple”.

espo ny

(Photo Credit: Denis Brodeur 1980 NHLI)

Three years later, in 1984, Esposito would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Three years after that, he would be involved in another remarkable ceremony, as the Bruins would retire Esposito’s famous number 7 jersey. The jersey was being worn at the time by a young player that would eventually become a B’s legend, Ray Bourque. Esposito had told Bourque he wanted him to keep wearing the number and assumed the proceedings would be strictly for “show”. Bourque surprised Espo and the team as well by removing the 7 jersey and revealing a number 77 jersey underneath that he would sport for the rest of his career in Boston, allowing Esposito’s jersey to be raised to the rafters.

After years of acrimony towards the Bruins because of the trade to New York, Bourque’s gesture went a long way towards healing the relationship between Esposito and the B’s. While the hard feelings may never completely go away, the jersey retirement was a fitting way for the Bruins organization to pay homage to it’s greatest goal scorer.

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Boston Bruins – The Departed

( Photo Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Scott Delano | Follow me on Twitter @Scottdelano3

 

In the 2018 -19 NHL season the Boston Bruins took the St. Louis Blues to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final, but ultimately came up short of hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup as many already know. The Bruins returned the majority of their roster, but not everyone who started last season wearing the spoked B is still with the organization. Here’s a look at where former Boston Bruins players are and how they are doing a quarter of the way through the young season.

We can revisit this article deeper into the season to get a better understanding of how these former players are performing and if the Boston Bruins made the right choice by cutting ties with them.

Colby Cave

( Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images )

The first player the Bruins lost last year might have slipped your mind, but after being put on waivers with the hope of reassignment to Providence Colby Cave was claimed by the Edmonton Oilers. Cave got the call up to the Bruins because of injuries but played well enough to get picked up on the NHL’s waiver wire by the Edmonton Oilers before being sent down to Providence.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins:

20 Games Played
1 Goal
4 Assists

2018 – 19 Edmonton Oilers

33 Games Played
2 Goals
1 Assist

2019 – 20 Edmonton Oilers

5 Games Played
1 Goal

Gemel Smith

( Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Photo )

We lost one to waivers but claimed another. Gemel Smith was claimed off waivers from the Dallas Stars. He only played 3 games for the Black and Gold but made a connection with Patrice Bergeron that goes much further than hockey.

2018 – 19 Dallas Stars

32 Games Played
4 goals
1 assist

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins

3 Games Played
1 Goal

2019 – 20 Tampa Bay Lightning

3 Games Played
1 Goal

Ryan Donato

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The Boston Bruins made a deadline trade with the Minnesota Wild to get local product Charlie Coyle but had to give up Ryan Donato and a pick in exchange for him. This trade seemed pretty one-sided until Coyle put it all together in the playoffs. Donato is a solid hockey player but never caught stride in Boston.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins:

34 Games Played
6 Goals
3 Assists

2018 – 19 Minnesota Wild

22 Games Played
4 Goals
12 Assists

2019 – 20 Minnesota Wild

22 Games Played
2 Goals
2 Assists

Marcus Johansson

( Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Photo )

 Acquired at the deadline from New Jersey Devils in exchange for picks and found immediate chemistry with Charlie Coyle on the third line left wing. Unfortunately, he sustained a concussion that limited him to 10 games but came back healthy for the playoffs.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins:

10 Games Played
1 Goal
2 Assists

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins (Playoffs)

22 Games Played
4 Goals
7 Assists

2019 – 20 Buffalo Sabers

17 Games Played
4 Goals
6 Assists

Lee Stempniak

( Photo Credit: Brian Babineau / NHL / Getty Images )

A veteran presence that couldn’t crack the lineup. Brought over in a trade from the Devil’s a few years prior, Stempniak returned to Boston after two years in Carolina. He officially retired (Article by Max Mainville) from the game of hockey this year after 14 years in the NHL.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins

2 Games Played
0 Points

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

( Photo Credit: Official Boston Bruins Twitter Account / @NHLBruins )

JFK played collegiate hockey with Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk at Boston University. The Boston Bruins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Draft. His style of play was compared to Patrice Bergeron, but he never lived up to those expectations. He is still a member of the organization, but he left to be closer to his family and play in his home country of Sweden. He could return to Boston; however, there is the chance he doesn’t.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins:

28 Games Played
3 Goals
6 Assists

Noel Acciari

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports )

The Johnston, Rhode Island native played 4 seasons with the Boston Bruins. He brought grit and determination to the fourth line. Even though he was a fan favorite, the business side of hockey led him to the sunshine state.

2018 – 19 Boston Bruins

72 Games Played
6 Goals
8 Assists

2019 – 20 Florida Panthers

21 Games Played
5 Goals
1 Assist

All stats are courtesy of https://www.hockey-reference.com/

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Former Bruins D-Man Dennis Seidenberg Retires

Image(Photo Credit: NHLPA)

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

The Boston Bruins, in early 2010, made a “bits and pieces” trade with the Florida Panthers. Scratch that… Bitz and pieces, with the non-Dafoe Byron and somebody called Craig Weller going to the Sunshine State for a solid German blueliner (and others) known only to die-hard hockey fans.

About a year later, all hockey fans –especially those in Boston– knew his name. In fact, that trade became one of the best in recent team history when the B’s beat Vancouver to capture their first Stanley Cup in four decades primarily because that tough-as-nails D-man paired up with Zdeno Chara to form the most formidable back-end tandem in the game.

And now, after 859 career NHL games (nearly half in a Black N’ Gold sweater — 401 to be exact), Dennis Seidenberg is hanging up his skates.

“Seids,” as he was affectionately known to his teammates, coaching staff and the fanbase, was a beast for the B’s, shutting down not only the game’s best offensive players, but doing it when it counted the most — against Montreal, Philly, Tampa and the aforementioned Canucks during that magical Cup run of ’11. And let us not forget his spirited and inspiring play during the near-Cup run of ’13 and Presidents’ Trophy campaign of ’14 that further endeared him to the region and to many other players league-wide.

He was respected just as much off the ice, as well, often leading by example with his rigorous training and constant practicing (something young guys named Bergeron and Marchand took note of and learned from).

 

Speaking of his off-ice actions, did you know Seids was a culinary connoisseur, art appreciator, festive family man and social stud? It wasn’t until the very entertaining Door To Door series came out from the Boston Herald five years ago that I realized just how “chill” of a guy he was (and still is). If you didn’t like him enough already, this video put it over the top:

 

And since he truly is going out “on top,” having reached the pinnacle of hockey’s heroic mountain and doing it for an Original 6 franchise no less, Dennis Seidenberg can fondly and favorably reflect back on a successful career that millions in the area will forever be grateful for. Dare I say, he certainly didn’t play a Bitz part in Boston (or did he?)!

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Boston Bruins Vs. New York Rangers In Alumni Game

Image result for ray bourque boston bruins(Photo Credits: Bennington Banter/Berkshire Eagle/Matthew Sprague)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

It was announced that this coming Saturday, October 26th former Boston Bruins players will participate in the inaugural “Face-Off For Heroes” Alumni Classic match-up, where they will face the New York Rangers alumni. The event will take place at the Bentley Arena in Waltham, MA at 1:00 PM

The Bruins team will feature Hall of Famers Ray Bourque, Joe Mullen, Brad Park, Jean Ratelle, Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert as either players or coaches. Along with the group, other players being featured are: Rick Middleton, Reggie Lemelin, Ken Linsmen, Andy Brickley, Bob Beers, Andrew Raycroft, Ken Hodge Jr. and Bob Sweeney.

Other notable players include: Andrew Alberts, Dave Shaw, Bruce Crowder, Frank Simonetti, Mike Mottau , Mark Mowers, Dan LaCouture, Adam Graves, Ron Duguay, Brad Richards, Brian Mullen, Jeff Beukeboom, Stephane Matteau, Jay Wells, Steve Eminger, Colton Orr, Tom Laidlaw, and Steve Valiquette.

Picture(Photo Credits: Bruins Alumni)

Benefits will go the Boston Bruins Foundation, the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Warrior for Life Fund. The Life Fund helps military families of every branch that have to deal with hardships of the effects of war along with helping those coping with challenges with disabilities, combat and extended deployment overseas through hockey.

They’re a sponsor of the Navy SEAL Foundation and support all active duty, retired veterans along with their families. Programs offered aim to provide both venues and infrastructure towards service members and families long-term.

The Fund was originally founded as the Virginia Beach Hockey Club (VBHC) Challenge team in 2012. Its main focus was providing the Hampton Roads military community a place to develop a positive team atmosphere to those that wanted to learn how to play hockey.  One of the other aspects of the VBHC is “promoting camaraderie, competition, and athleticism to those with and without disabilities. The only requirement was a strong work ethic, dedication, and a positive attitude.”

The game itself will have three running time periods and have three-minute intermission in between. The 1st period will be 20 minutes, while both the  2nd and 3rd will be 15 minutes.  Boston Bruins own official anthem singer Todd Angilly will sing prior to the game.

Anyone looking to purchase tickets may do so through the Warrior Fund Website by clicking here. If you’re in the military or first responder, tickets are free. There will also be a raffle that the  NHL Alumni & Boston Bruins Foundation will run. A winner will be picked and they’ll have the opportunity to win some great prizes: a chance to outfit a youth, high school or prep school team of their choice with new CCM hockey equipment and win 4 Suite tickets to a Boston Bruins Game. The game will take place on November 5th in Montreal at the Bell Center and the winner will have a chance to tour the Center.

Raffle Tickets can be purchased directly by clicking here.

The Boston Bruins Alumni is “a non-profit organization made up of past players of the Boston Bruins.  The Alumni actively coordinates Benefit Hockey Games to raise money for various charities and youth groups.  You can check out their schedule for upcoming games.

 

Former Bruin Bill Guerin Hired As General Manager in Minnesota

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PHOTO CREDITS: (ANDREW WALLACE / REUTERS)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Yesterday, August 21st, news circled the hockey universe that four-time Stanley Cup Champion, Bill Guerin was officially hired by the Minnesota Wild to be the team’s fourth General Manager in franchise history.

The Wild missed the playoffs for the first time after six consecutive playoff appearances and finished dead-last in the NHL’s Central Division standings. The poor conclusion to the 2018-19 season led to the firing of General Manager Paul Fenton, who had been the team’s GM since May 21st, 2018. From July 30th to August 21st, the Wild were in the hunt for a new General Manager, they now have one.

Coming into the role is Bill Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup Champion as a player and a two-time Stanley Cup Champion as apart of the Pittsburgh Penguins management team that won back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017. Not known extensively for his management roles to date, Guerin will sound familiar to most fans due to his 18-year NHL career that began in the 1991-92 season.

Over the course of his career, Guerin played for eight different NHL clubs, spending the majority of the time with the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted him fifth overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. The 48-year-old has connections to not only the Boston Bruins but the state of Massachusetts as well. In fact, it was in Worchester, Massachusetts where Guerin was born and was raised in Wilbraham, Massachusetts – roughly 80 miles west of Boston.

After spending eight years in New Jersey, the same place where he won the first of four Stanley Cups (1995), Guerin was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in January of 1998. Guerin played 211 regular-season games with the Oilers before once again being shipped out, this time going to Boston.

Bill Guerin’s time in Boston was short-lived, playing in only 142 games for the Bruins, putting up 69-60-129 totals in that span including a 41-goal season in 2001-2002. Guerin’s successful personal season that year also helped the Bruins too as the team made the postseason after missing out in each of the previous two seasons. However, the B’s lost in six games to the rival Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, but Guerin did his part, scoring four goals and two assists for six points in as many games.

On July 3rd, 2002, Guerin left Boston to sign a five-year, $31,209,886 contract with the Dallas Stars. Following his time with the Stars, Guerin played with the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, and New York Islanders before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in March of 2009. As many may know, the Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings that year, securing Guerin’s second Cup.

On December 6th, 2010, Bill Guerin officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League, ending his career with 1263 career NHL games under his belt. Guerin finished his playing career with 429-427-856 numbers. In addition to his NHL career, Guerin was a three-time Olympian for the United States ice hockey team, winning the silver medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Guerin was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Now, Bill Guerin turns to a new chapter in his hockey career, becoming a General Manager for the first time. Not wasting any time with his new role in Minnesota, Guerin signed RFA forward Joel Eriksson-Ek to a two-year contract worth an average of $1,487,500 per season. With his knowledge of winning as not only a player but as an assistant GM in Pittsburgh, he will bring value to the front office for the Minnesota Wild. All in all, having roots in Boston.

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Former Bruin Marc Savard Hired As Assistant Coach For Blues

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Photo Courtesy Of Sporting News

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It was reported this afternoon that the St. Louis Blues had hired former All-Star Marc Savard to their coaching staff. Savard appeared in 807 career regular season games, including 304 with the Bruins. Savard amassed 706 points during his career, posting 207 goals and 499 assists. Savard announced his retirement in January of 2018, seven years after his final NHL game with the Bruins. Savard has been active in hockey after his departure, working as a radio and television analyst and as a coach in the Peterborough Pete’s organization.

Savard signed with the Bruins on July 1st, 2006 on a four-year $20 million contract after nine seasons playing for the Rangers, Flames, and Atlanta Thrashers. Savard totaled 74 goals and 231 assists for 305 points in his five seasons in Boston. He also appeared in 25 career playoff games with Boston, posting eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points. Savard’s career was unfortunately cut short after suffering two concussions less than a year apart.

The Ottawa, Ontario native was originally selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (91st overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Savard will join a St. Louis staff led by Head Coach Craig Berube, that is coming off their first Stanley Cup Championship in team history. The Blues will return to the TD Garden on October 26th so mark your calendars not only for a Stanley Cup rematch but a chance to see Savard in his element again.

Chris Kelly Rejoins Bruins Organization

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: CBS Boston)

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

“The Bruins are looking to bring back Chris Kelly…”

That statement caused a Causeway panic and made #BruinsTwitter go atwitter this week. And I would’ve probably jumped on the bash-the-B’s-brass bandwagon were it not for a skill I learned long before the age of social media clickbating and hackneyed headlines: read more than just the first sentence. 

“…in a player development role.”

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Now, that makes a lot more sense. In fact, I think it makes all the sense in the world, and so does the Bruins organization after officially announcing the move on–you guessed it, Twitter–just twenty four hours ago.

The press release didn’t include any of the reasoning behind the new hire, but it did wondrously remind us of Kelly’s resume, especially while wearing the spoked-B:

Kelly, 38, spent the 2018-19 campaign as the Development Coach for the Ottawa Senators. Prior to serving in that role with Ottawa, Kelly played 14 seasons as a center and left wing in the NHL, including six seasons with the Boston Bruins. Kelly appeared in 288 contests with the Bruins, scoring 43 goals and notching 58 assists for 101 points. Kelly was a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Over 25 playoff games in 2011, Kelly recorded five goals and eight assists for 13 points.http://www.bostonbruins.com

Image result for chris kelly boston bruins(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Of the five 2011 playoff goals mentioned in the article excerpted above, perhaps none was more clutch than Kelly’s Game 7 third period tally against the Montreal Canadiens at the roof-blown TD Garden. Without that beloved backhand breaking through Carey Price, the B’s might not have experienced such overtime heroics later in the game—or during the rest of the Stanley Cup (winning) playoffs for that matter, if you like to play the “what if” game.

 

As for the former No. 23’s game, it was all about the intangibles — working hard, skating hard, going to the dirty areas of the ice, banging around in the corners and in front of the net, and always being responsible in the defensive end.  Kelly, like Patrice Bergeron, led by example on the ice while he wore the Black N’ Gold, something that certainly wasn’t lost on Don Sweeney or Cam Neely when they were checking off attributes for a good Player Development Coordinator candidate. Now that he’s set to fill the shoes & skates of fellow NHL alumnus Jamie Langenbrunner, his predecessor in the PDC role in Boston since 2015, Kelly will no doubt bring his valuable expertise, leadership, accountability and hockey IQ to a system stocked with young prospects eager to impact the B’s depth chart. If they’re wise, these up-and-coming players will take a page out of the Kelly playbook and learn that you don’t always need to be a superstar or 50-goal scorer to positively impact your team.

After all, we know what happened the last time the B’s went after Chris Kelly in 2011. Wouldn’t it be nice to “bring back” that feeling again?

 

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Bruins’ Sweeney Named GM Of The Year

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney won General Manager of the Year on Wednesday night in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards ceremony. Sweeney beat out Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell and Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong for the honor, becoming the first Bruin to win the award since its inception in 2010. Since Sweeney took over as the General Manager in 2015, the B’s have compiled a record of 143-75-28 which ranks third in wins and points in the entire league over that span. Sweeney has been a part of the Bruins front office since 2006.

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Sweeney oversaw the construction of a squad that finished in second place in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the entire league in 2018-19. The Bruins compiled a record of 49-24-9 this past season and advanced to the Conference Final for the eight time since the round was introduced in 1982. The Bruins also clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in the last decade and first since 2013. Despite the Bruins losing over 250 man games this season due to injury, Sweeney was able to make the right moves to keep the team near the top of the league standings almost all year.

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His trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson proved to be two of his best moves as General Manager as both players were outstanding during the B’s long playoff run. Coyle totaled nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in the playoffs after posting just two goals and four assists for six points in 21 regular season games. Johansson posted just one goal and two assists for three points in ten games in the regular season and then exploded for four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 22 playoff games.

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Sweeney was incredibly thankful for the award and credited the Bruins organization, “I really believe this is an acknowledgement of the Boston Bruins organization,” he said. “I was very fortunate that Mr. Jacobs, Charlie, and Cam gave me this opportunity. And the incredible, devoted coaches and players, people I get to work with every day should share this as well.”

Sweeney also credited his twin boys, Jared and Tyler as inspirations for the award. “From the time they were born at one pound and six ounces,” he said, harkening back long ago to the anxious days of their birth. “But most importantly, to my beautiful wife, she has been the rock of our family. She has selflessly supported all of my career aspirations and I share this with her tonight as the special person she is.”

Sweeney’s work this season was incredibly solid and while he did make a few moves that were head scratching to some people, those moves ultimately worked out. The signings of Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom last July turned out to be some of his better free agent signings in recent years. The addition of Jaroslav Halak was very helpful as he was able to play effectively enough to allow Tuukka Rask to stay fresh for the long playoff run. The additions of college free agents Connor Clifton and Karson Kuhlman proved to be very good moves especially in the playoffs as the two of them played very significant roles. We will see this offseason if Sweeney can pull off any more shrewd moves to get this team to bring some hardware back to Boston next June.

B’s Sweeney Inducted Into Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Sunday night honoring a few legends in the Massachusetts hockey community.

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Sweeney has been the General Manager of the Bruins since May 2015 and has helped the team to playoff appearances in three of his four seasons in charge including a berth in the Stanley Cup Final this past season. Sweeney played 16 seasons in the NHL during his playing career, including 15 for the Bruins and is third all-time in Boston franchise history in games played with 1,051. Sweeney played the final year of his career with the Dallas Stars and finished his career with totals of 52 goals and 221 assists for 273 points in 1,115 regular season games. He also appeared in 108 postseason games, posting nine goals and ten assists for 19 points.

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Sweeney hasn’t just made an impact in the NHL, he also played four seasons of college hockey at Harvard University, posting 20 goals and 39 assists for 59 points in 124 career games. No matter your personal feelings about Sweeney and his management style, you can’t deny the positive impact he has had not only in the Massachusetts hockey community but the hockey community in general. In his four years as General Manager of the Bruins Sweeney has maintained a successful group in Boston that has the potential to be a success for many years to come.

The 2011 Boston Bruins: Where Are They Now?

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Photo: (Jeff Vinnick / NHL Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

No one will ever forget what the 2010-11 Boston Bruins did for the City of Boston, bringing the Stanley Cup back home for the first time in 39 years and keeping the city’s storied legacy alive. While roster turnover is certainly not unexpected, it is still amazing to see just how much the composition of the Bruins has changed in the eight years since June 15, 2011.

Currently, only six Bruins were on the roster in 2011: Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and Steven Kampfer (who was technically a “Black Ace” during the Cup run). So, what ever happened to the others, the guys who have since left one way or another?

Tyler Seguin

Getting this one out of the way early; you all know the story. Seguin went on to play two more seasons for the Bruins after winning Lord Stanley as a rookie. However, after some growing pains and a disappointing 2013 season, he was traded to the Dallas Stars along with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow, and Matt Fraser. Now 27 years-old, Seguin is still one of the key cogs for Dallas as the Stars’ top center.

Rich Peverley

One of the more important players for the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Peverley was shipped out with Seguin in the aforementioned deal above. The now 36-year-old would only play 62 games for the Stars before a scary incident on the bench in which he collapsed due to an irregular heartbeat during a game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets ended his season. The cardiac issue forced Peverley to hang up the skates, but he is still involved with the Stars as a player development coordinator.

Mark Recchi

Recchi went out on top with three Cups to his name between Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Boston as his final professional game came in that Game Seven in Vancouver. Now 51, Recchi spent a year with the Stars as a consultant in 2013, before returning to the Penguins as a player development coach; he was later named director of player development. He is now an assistant coach to Mike Sullivan. Recchi also co-owns the Kamloops Blazers along with Jarome Iginla, Darryl Sidor, Shane Doan, and Stars owner Tom Galgardi.

Chris Kelly

A foot soldier for the Bruins, Kelly played five more seasons before both sides parted ways after he broke his femur. He signed with his former team, the Ottawa Senators and played one season for the club. After his second stint with the Sens, Kelly signed a professional tryout with the Edmonton Oilers, was not offered a deal, and joined the Belleville Senators, Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, on a PTO. Kelly represented Team Canada at the 2017 Spengler Cup, which they won, and rejoined Belleville before representing Canada as captain at the 2018 Winter Olympics. After the Olympics, the 38-year-old signed with the Anaheim Ducks for the remainder of the season. Now, he is with the Sens once again as a development coach.

Nathan Horton

One of the 2011 Cup run’s heroes, Horton opted to sign with Columbus after the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign. Out until January of 2014 due to shoulder surgery, Horton only suited up in 36 games for the Blue Jackets before he was diagnosed with a degenerative back condition in the lumbar region in October 2014 that ended his season and his career, unofficially. On long-term injured reserve, he was traded to the Maple Leafs due to financial considerations for David Clarkson in 2015. The 33-year-old has yet to play a game for the Leafs and is not expected to play one, although he has taken his physical with the team before each season, failing it each time.

Milan Lucic

“Looch” was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in June of 2015 for Colin Miller, Martin Jones, and the 13th-overall pick (Jakob Zboril). In one season with LA, Lucic scored 20 goals and 55 points, which earned him a seven-year, $42-million deal with the Oilers in the summer of 2016.

Michael Ryder

The winger signed with Dallas in the summer of 2011 after his three-year stint with the Bruins ended with winning the Stanley Cup. During his second year in Dallas in 2013, Ryder was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, where he began his career. After his second run in Montreal, the now 39-year-old signed a two-year deal with the New Jersey Devils, where he finished his career.

Dennis Seidenberg

Seidenberg was bought out by the Bruins at the end of the 2016 campaign after age and tearing both his ACL and MCL in 2013 showed their effects. Now 37 years-old, the German signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders for the 2016-17 season, and signed another one-year deal for the 2017-18 run. A free agent for most of the 2018-19 season, Seidenberg signed with the Isles in February for the remainder of the 2019 season, but didn’t suit up in a game.

Tomas Kaberle

After arriving to Boston via trade at the deadline in 2011, Kaberle signed for three years with the Hurricanes in the 2011 offseason. In December of 2011, Kaberle was traded to the Habs. In 2013, the Czech native only appeared in 10 games for the Habs and was released via compliance buyout in the off-season. Kaberle signed with his hometown club, HC Kladano–he played there during the 2013 lockout–in September 2013. He was invited to training camp with the Devils in September 2014, but was released before a cup of tea with the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL; he returned to HC Kladano that season as well. In 2016, Kaberle officially retired.

Andrew Ference

In July 2013, Ference signed with the Oilers, his hometown team, and was named the franchise’s 14th captain. Six games into the 2015-16 campaign, Ference was placed on injured reserve after season-ending hip surgery. In 2016, he announced his retirement before officially retiring in the 2017 offseason once his contract ran out. In 2018, the NHL named Ference its first director of social impact, growth, and fan development; he focuses on grass-roots growth, community development efforts, engaging minority fans and players, and facilitating relations between players and the league.

Johnny Boychuk

Boychuk remained with the Bruins until September 2014 when he became one of the first cap casualties of the Peter Chiarelli era as he was dealt to the New York Islanders for two second-round draft picks–one in 2015 (Brandon Carlo) and the other in 2016 (Ryan Lindgren). The 35-year-old signed a seven-year extension with the Isles in March 2015.

Daniel Paille

After he and the Bruins parted ways in the 2015 offseason, Paille was invited to training camp with the Chicago Blackhawks before joining their AHL-affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs on a PTO. One-third of Boston’s storied “Merlot Line,” Paille signed with the New York Rangers in the 2015-16 season and finished that year bouncing between the Blueshirts and AHL Hartford. Before retiring in 2017, Paille spent one season with Brynas IF of the Swedish Hockey League.

Gregory Campbell

Another third of the “Merlot Line,” Campbell signed with Columbus as a free agent in 2015 after five seasons with the Bruins. “Soupy” was placed on unconditional waivers by the Blue Jackets in December 2016, but was unwilling to play in the organizations minor league system. He officially retired in July 2017.

Adam McQuaid

After nine seasons with the Bruins, McQuaid was traded to the Rangers in September 2018 for Steven Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-rounder, and a conditional seventh-round pick. After 36 games with the Rangers, McQuaid was traded to the Blue Jackets at the deadline as a rental to bolster their depth for the playoffs; he’ll be a free agent this summer.

Shawn Thornton

After the 2013-14 season, the Bruins did not re-sign Thornton, who signed with the Florida Panthers for two years. After his contract ran out in 2016, the third member of the “Merlot Line” signed for one more year. Thornton retired at the end of the 2017 season and joined the Panthers’ front office in a business-related position.

Tim Thomas

A member of Boston hockey lore, Thomas’ 2011 run was one for the ages. After the Bruins were eliminated in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, Thomas announced that he would be taking a break from hockey, sitting out the 2013 season. In February 2013, Thomas was traded to the Islanders for a conditional second-rounder after the Bruins suspended him for not reporting to training camp; he sat out the remainder of his contract. In September 2014, the Panthers invited Thomas to training camp and he signed a one-year deal with the club; he was later traded dealt to Dallas where he finished his career.

“Sheriff” Shane Hnidy

Although his name does not appear on Lord Stanley, Hnidy received a ring and a day with the Cup. His three games in the 2011 campaign were his last in the NHL. Now, he is the color commentator on the Vegas Golden Knights television broadcasts alongside former radio play-by-play man for the Bruins, Dave Goucher.