The Best Bruin To Ever Wear The Number One

(Photo Credit: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully become a long and very entertaining series of articles. I am going to look at the best Bruin’s player to wear each number throughout the organization’s long and storied history. I will be skipping the retired numbers because it’s pretty self-explanatory who the best Bruin to don each of those revered numbers was.

Just to get it out of the way, in case anyone has forgotten, these are the current retired numbers in Boston:

#2 – Eddie Shore, #3 – Lionel Hitchman, #4 – Bobby Orr, #5 – Dit Clapper, #7 – Phil Esposito, #8 – Cam Neely, #9 – John Bucyk, #15 – Milt Schmidt, #16 – Rick Middleton, #24 – Terry O’Reilly, #77 – Ray Bourque.

Eleven numbers may seem like a lot, but it still leaves us 88 more to contemplate.

The best place to start this series, numerically anyway, is pretty obvious, and that would be with the number one. Generally speaking, the number one is worn in the NHL by goaltenders, and the greatest players to ever sport that number in B’s history were no exception. In an organization that has been around as long as the Bruins have, you would think that the competition would be pretty fierce? Normally, that would be a safe assumption. Unfortunately, in the case of the number one, the competition IS fierce, but it’s not for first place, it’s for third. That said, there is still a worthy discussion to be had for the runner-ups.

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Bruins have two goalies that played their careers primarily in the 1930s and 1940s that have without question locked up the first and second spots as the greatest B’s players to ever wear the number One. Those two guys are Cecil “Tiny” Thompson and Frank “Mr. Zero” Brimsek. While it is difficult to compare players across different eras, these two players were able to pile up more than enough wins and hardware to leave no doubt that they were the top dogs in this contest.

Thompson was the preeminent goaltender of the 1930s. During that decade (and in 1928-29,) he played in 468 games for the Bruins, had a GAA of 1.99 (Save Percentage was not a stat yet), and a whopping 74 shutouts. He won 252 games for Boston, and both his games played and win totals are 2nd all-time for the B’s. They were 1st until recently being eclipsed by Tuukka Rask. In addition to those impressive numbers, Tiny won a Cup in 1929, had four All-Star game appearances, and four Vezina Trophies on his resume. In that era, the Vezina was given to the goalie whose team allowed the fewest amount of regular-season goals. This was no slight as Thompson was largely responsible for that. In 1936 he became the first goalie in NHL history to record an assist in a game. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1959. For my money, he is the best player to wear number one for the Bruins.

Frank Brimsek played for the Bruins from 1938-1948. Somewhat ironically, it was Brimsek that forced out and took over for Thompson in 1938. Tiny suffered an eye injury, and Brimsek played so well in his stead that the Bruins dealt Thompson to Detroit in November of 1938. It would mark the beginning of an impressive nine-year run in the Boston goal. Brimsek would suit up for 444 games (tied for 3rd on the B’s all-time list), winning 230 with 35 shutouts. During that time, he would also win two Stanley Cups and two Vezina Trophies, along with being named to the All-Star team eight times.

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Brimsek earned his famous “Mr. Zero” nickname after recording six shutouts in his first eight games and setting a league record for consecutive scoreless minutes in the process. Brimsek was born in Eveleth, Minnesota, which is notable because he was one of very few Americans in the NHL in the 1940s. The United States Hockey Hall of Fame was established in Brimsek’s hometown in 1973, and he was part of the original group of 25 to be inducted. In addition, an award given to the best senior high school goalie in the state of Minnesota is named after him. He joined Tiny Thompson in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966 and is a close second to him for best Bruin to ever wear the number one.

There are a number of other goalies that have worn the number one for the Bruins over the years. Some have been goalies that made their fame with other teams and wore it briefly for the Black and Gold. Guys like Terry Sawchuk, Rogie Vachon, and Marty Turco fall into this category. While they were great netminders, they were not in Boston long enough to warrant consideration.

The next trio of goalies I considered were all players that fell short of third place for one reason or another, whether it be lack of tenure or performance. Andrew Raycroft had good numbers with Boston (2.62 GAA, .908 Save %), but he only played 108 games and had a losing record before being traded to TOR for Tuukka Rask. Pete Peeters played 171 games in Boston and had 91 wins, but his stats were not great (3.00 GAA, .883 SP), and he had more games and years in a Flyers uniform than a B’s sweater. Last but not least was Reggie Lemelin, who, while he was in Boston, was beloved by the fans for his “fist pump” celebration after games. In six years in Boston, he played in 182 games, had 92 wins, but the numbers were average. His GAA was 3.09, and his save percentage came in at .884. All three of these players were good, but not good enough for the top three.

(Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Third place for the best to wear the number one in Boston came down to two goalies in my estimation, Eddie Johnston and Gilles Gilbert. Readers younger than myself are probably much more familiar with Gilbert than Johnston, who played primarily in the ’60s for the B’s. Gilbert was known for being on the losing end to Philly and later Montreal in the ’70s under Don Cherry.

While Johnston might be lesser-known to today’s Bruins fans, he has a very respectable resume. He played in Boston from 1962 thru 1973, amassing 444 games for the B’s (tied for 3rd all-time with Brimsek), winning 182, with a GAA of 3.22 and a .900 Save Percentage. He was the starter before Gerry Cheevers established himself and backed “Cheesy” up in the late 1960s and early ’70s. His numbers were very comparable to Cheevers,’ and he actually played in more games for the Bruins. He was also a key contributor on both Stanley Cup teams, playing 37 games in 1970 and 38 games in 1972. Despite these solid stats, Johnston may be more well-known as a successful coach and GM for the Penguins in the 1980’s and 90’s?

Last but not least, is Gilles Gilbert, the acrobatic French-Canadian goalie with the memorable flow. He played in Boston from 1974-1980, totaling 277 games for the B’s, winning 155 of them. His GAA was 2.95, and he had a save percentage of .890 over that time. I remember Gilbert as being a key component in net for the highly effective “Lunch Pail AC” teams. Despite their success in the regular season, those teams came up short in the playoffs. Unfortunately, my most lasting memory of Gilbert will be of him falling to the ice after he gave up Guy Lafleur’s game-tying goal as time was running out in Game Seven of the 1979 Stanley Cup Semifinals. That goal is not the reason I am going with Eddie Johnston as the third-best to wear number one for the Bruins…but it didn’t help either.

So, there you have it, the three best players to wear the number one for the Bruins are Tiny Thompson in first, followed by Frank Brimsek as a close second, and Eddie Johnston as a distant third. I hope you enjoyed this look back in B’s history. Next up on the agenda is the number six, where there should be a lot more debate for the title.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 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.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 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.

How the Boston Bruins’ 2020 Trade Deadline Acquisitions Look Today

( Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports )

By Jack Cinquegrana | Follow me on Twitter @bruinschewy

On February 21, 2020, the Bruins traded David Backes, Axel Andersson, and their 2020 first-round draft pick to acquire Ondrej Kase, a 24-year-old Czech right-winger with a boatload of skill. In the following days, the Anaheim Ducks and Boston Bruins finalized another deal swapping the rights of Nick Ritchie and Danton Heinen, Ritchie, and Kase, each with an extra year on their current contract. Looking at the trade at the time, most would say Boston added some depth pieces and scoring, definitely added a big body in Ritchie, and that Don Sweeney and the Bruins had another successful trade deadline. And then Coronavirus halted the NHL season with the Bruins only having completed 71 games and at the top of the standings for the entire league.

Since time has passed and the league has restarted their season with a revamped 24-team playoff/play-in round, we can evaluate the deals that Sweeney made in February. When we were shopping for our next second-line winger near the deadline, I was excited to see some impressive names in the running. Guys like Palmieri from New Jersey or Tomas Tatar from Montreal seemed like an easy solution to our scoring issues. Even when we got Kase and Ritchie and we did not go for the big-name scorer, I was not that disappointed. Ondrej Kase has a ton of skill and an excellent offensive mind. He is young and still developing, and I believe he could be a Bruin for some years down the line.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

With the impression that Kase has made on the Boston organization so far, I am afraid we may never reap the benefits of trading that first-round pick. In six games, he has one assist as a member of the black and gold, and with the unfortunate stoppage the NHL had suffered, let us hope that is not the only production we see from Kase in the top-six.

( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

Since the NHL has restarted its training camps on July 10, Kase has skated with the team once in Boston and was labeled “unfit to play.” Ritchie skated on the 18th and the 20th with the team and has not been back with the squad since. Some wonder if Ritchie is dealing with an injury, though it seems likely, it would be wise to not rush him back, especially for a round-robin tournament game. It is not looking too great for Sweeney’s deadline acquisitions; we gave up a first-round pick, a prospect, and Danton Heinen for two players that may be out for an extended period of time.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Ondrej Kase is the main piece of this deal and the piece that I am most excited about. I wanted to extend him right away but would prove a foolhardy move to sign an extension without seeing the player play with the team. With one assist in his first six games as a Bruin, those extension talks that were going on in my head alone seemed to have ceased. Though the chances are slim, I am not going to write off Kase getting extended. He has skill and vision, a great fit next to David Krejci, a winger we have been waiting for since Nathan Horton left. If he can get healthy for the playoffs and produce some big-time plays and not be an absolute liability in the defensive zone, he could find himself in extension talks with Don Sweeney.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 185 that we recorded below on 7-13-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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!

May 13, 2013: A Look Back On One Of The Greatest Game 7’s in Bruins History

( Photo Credit: WMUR / AP )

By Josh Houreas| Follow me on Twitter @JHoureas

Game 7. A dream to win, a nightmare to lose. It was a win and move on, or pack up the equipment and hit the golf course. A sold out crowd of 17,565 packed the TD Garden for the final game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Boston Bruins were one win away from making Toronto fans wait another season for the Stanley Cup and at a 46-year drought for the club, you almost had to feel for the organization.

Boston quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a screaming wrist shot off the stick of Matt Bartkowski. An unexpected player to get his name on the score sheet, but nonetheless the Bruins were on the board first in the deciding game of the series.

Now there were three possible situations that could have happened following Bartkowski’s goal. Scenario 1: Boston Holds a lead for the remaining 54 minutes of game play and moves on to the second round comfortably. Scenario 2: Toronto scores the equalizer, gains enough momentum to go ahead and WIN game 7, letting their fans continue to hope until the inevitable happens. Scenario 3: Boston goes down by almost a handful of goals only to stage a miraculous comeback that’ll be talked about for generations.

I had turned the game off after the first period had come to an end. It was a school night, I was tired, but I still hoped that the Bruins would find a way to win the game. The next morning, I got more than I bargained for as I scratched my head wondering how did it end up being a 5-4 game. It was 1-1 when I had turned the game off last night.After I watched the highlights, I had something else to scratch my head over.

But not before things took a turn for the worse. For the longest time, it seemed like scenario two was going to be what transpired in the final game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Toronto was running Boston out of their own building, and they were doing it in dominating style. After two goals from Cody Franson, and two more from Phil Kessel and Nathan Kadri, it was 4-1 Toronto with less than fifteen minutes left in the third period. In an interview with NBCSN, Ronaldo Lista said “It was so bad people started leaving.” The situation almost begged the question, would you have left if you were at the game? Jamie Babineau, daughter of famed Bruins photographer Steve Babineau reiterated in the same interview that fans just started piling out of their seats, leaving.” Toronto buried 4 goals. Yes, 4 past Tuukka Rask who had a .929 save percentage that season.

The Bruins needed an answer, and their season was about to come crashing down if they didn’t find that answer in 20 minutes.

11 minutes left in the season.

4-1 Leafs.

Then, something that the Garden faithful desperately prayed for occurred. Boston found a way to get the puck past Leafs goaltender James Reimer. Fans who were heading for the exits started to turn around. 10:42 remaining. 4-2 Leafs. If you are superstitious like I am, you are most likely to agree with someone who says that a two goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey.

Scenario 2 looked like a possibility, but as the night marched on, in game seven, it was more than likely going to become a probability. Boston still had faith, and as a two goal comeback needed to happen in less than ten minutes, some fans stayed in their seats. While ten minutes turned into five, and five turned into two, it happened. Milan Lucic buried one past James Reimer, and with 1:22 remaining, it was a one goal game.

You had to think… just maybe this comeback of epic proportions was going to happen. Scenario two then turned into scenario 3, when Bruins veteran Patrice Bergeron fired the game-tying goal with 50.2 seconds left in the final period. From 4-1 down in the final 12 minutes, it was a 4-4 game.

“There was one guy who fell two rows in front of me” said Robby Binall, just one of the 17,565 fans in attendance that night.

( Photo Credit: The Canadian Press )

Which left Toronto fans scratching their heads in disbelief, and after a last-second chance from Rich Peverly was poked out of the crease, the two teams headed to a highly unexpected sudden death overtime. Bruins superfan Patrick Kearns, who you can follow on Twitter @BigScaryManGuy told NBCSN in a segment called “I Was There” which you can watch here “It was either going to be the best or the worst. There was no in-between at that point.”

If the Garden faithful wasn’t loud at the end of regulation, after watching their beloved black and gold stage a comeback that’ll be talked about for generations, it was deafening when Shipping Up To Boston, a staple song in Beantown sports lore started to blare across the speakers.

The sheet of ice was resurfaced by the Zamboni. The next goal would win the series. Would Toronto break the hearts of New Englanders all across the region, or would the Bruins turn three straight goals into four, and complete a comeback of gigantic proportions?

We got our answer five and a half minutes into overtime, and who else to provide that answer than Patrice Bergeron? When a scramble for the puck right in front of Toronto netminder James Reimer occurred, the Bruins veteran skated in and put the loose puck into the back of the net. Bruins fan Ronaldo Lista spoke in the same interview with NBCSN “I just saw the puck going that way, and he (Bergeron) came out of nowhere.” Former Bruins radio play by play announcer Dave Goucher uttered the words that would be heard all throughout New England. “BERGERON! BERGERON! IN-GAME 7! AND THE BRUINS WIN THE SERIES!”

Photo Credit: Mike Zeisberger/ NHL.com

Toronto fans watched in shock and horror as their team had been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Hockey is a game of 60 minutes, and Toronto proved to the world that on that day, it can also be a game of 50 minutes. Ten minutes was all it took for Boston to go from down and out to winning the heavyweight fight.

Photo Credit: Bruce Arthur/o.canada.com

Boston would carry that momentum all the way to the Stanley Cup Final that season, but fell short of the ultimate goal as the Chicago Blackhawks capped off an incredible season of their own, winning their second title in 3 seasons.

It is a game of comebacks. It’s a game where one team wins and the other loses, and sometimes those wins and loses are games that will never be forgotten. Other times, it’s a game you want to erase out of your mind.

But it’s the reason you watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 186 that we recorded below on 7-20-20! 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!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkcJcxTM5BI&t=3s

Five Players You Forgot Played For The Bruins: Part Three

(Photo Credit: Boston | archive.boston.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

It’s always fun to look back at Bruins’ history and notice players you had no idea played for the team. Sometimes, you recognize that name and suddenly remember the short time they did have with the Bruins. Regardless, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players you probably forgot played with the Bruins. You can view part one and part two of this series here.

Dominic Moore

(Photo Credit: Metro US | metro.us)

Dominic Moore had more than a cup of coffee with the Bruins and even played all 82 games during the 2016-2017 season. Although Moore was on the Bruins in recent years, he is a name that you forget wore a Bruins uniform at some point during his career. During the 2016-2017 season with Boston, the forward produced 11 goals and 25 points.

Moore began his National Hockey League journey in 2003-2004 with the New York Rangers when he appeared in his first five contests. He became quite the journeyman in the league, suiting up with ten different teams during his 13-year tenure in the NHL. After his deal expired with the Bruins in 2017, Moore played his final year in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, suiting up for 50 games and producing 12 points. After his NHL career, Moore signed a contract with ZSC (Swiss) as a free agent in 2019.

Throughout his 13-year career in the NHL, Moore suited up for 897 games while contributing 106-176-282 numbers. He also won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2013-2014.

Colton Orr

(Photo Credit: Getty Images | gettyimages.com)

One of the most feared enforcers, Colton Orr, started his career in the NHL with the Boston Bruins after signing as a free agent in 2001. He split his time between the Providence Bruins and Boston, but mostly spent his time with Providence, amassing 543 PIM in 126 games during that time. He got his first piece of National Hockey League action when he made his debut in 2003-2004, but only went on to play just one game with Boston that season. He played just 20 games with the Bruins in 2005 before being claimed on waivers by the New York Rangers.

The 6’3, 222-pound forward played for the New York Rangers from 2005-2009, suiting up in 224 games while producing 11 points and 522 PIM. After his time in New York, Orr signed to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2009. He continued to play for the Maple Leafs for the remainder of his career while making occasional visits to their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, until 2015. Orr played 232 games for the Maple Leafs while contributing 13 points and amassing 637 PIM.

Throughout his 11-year career in the NHL, Orr posted 12-12-24 numbers with 1,186 PIM. Although no longer actively playing, Orr has taken the role of a coach. In 2019, he was named head coach of the Connecticut Whale in the National Women’s Hockey League.

Dave Andreychuk

(Photo Credit: Twitter/Boston Bruins | Twitter.com/bruinsnhl)

As weird as it is, Dave Andreychuk wore the Spoked-B at some point in his career. He spent a short time with the Bruins during the 1999-2000 season after signing as a free agent. During that time, he played 63 games with the Bruins. He posted 19-14-33 numbers before being traded to the Colorado Avalanche with Raymond Bourque in a blockbuster trade, sending Brian Rolston, Martin Greiner, Samuel Pahlsson, and a 1st round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft to the Bruins.

Andreychuk had a phenomenal career in the NHL that I could not sum up in one paragraph, but I remember him fondly while growing up in Tampa, FL, especially when he won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. He played for six different teams throughout his career and currently holds the record for most power-play goals in the NHL (274).

Throughout his 23-year career in the NHL, Andreychuk played in 1,639 games while contributing an astounding 640-698-1,338 numbers with 1,121 PIM. He became a Stanley Cup Champion before the end of his career and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 2017.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Sergei Gonchar

(Photo Credit: Unleash The Fury | unleashthefury.weebly.com)

Sergei Gonchar is a name you don’t often see in Bruins’ history, but he is an alumnus through the 15 games he played for the Boston Bruins. The defenseman was traded to the Bruins by the Washington Capitals before the trade deadline in 2004. Gonchar collected four goals and nine points with the Bruins before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins the next season.

Gonchar began his NHL career with the Washington capitals and played with the team from 1994-2004 before being traded to Boston. After his time in Boston quickly expired, he went on to play for Pittsburgh from 2005-2010, suiting up for 322 games, contributing 54-205-259 numbers, and winning the Stanley Cup with the team in 2009. From 2010-2015, Gonchar went on to play for the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and then finished his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens.

Throughout his 20-year NHL career, Gonchar appeared in 1,301 games while posting 220-591-811 numbers and 981 PIM. After retiring from his playing career, he became an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 and is still serving as one of their assistant coaches.

Brett Connolly

(Photo Credit: Puck Prose | puckprose.com)

Brett Connolly suited up for the Bruins in recent years, first appearing in five games in 2015 after being traded by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Connolly continued his journey in Boston for most of the 2015-2016 season, suiting up in 71 games and producing 9-16-25 numbers. After his season in Boston, the forward hit the free-agent market in 2016 and was immediately picked up by the Washington Capitals.

Connolly began his NHL career playing for Tampa Bay from 2011-2015, appearing in 134 games and posting 18-14-32 numbers. After playing in Boston, Connolly signed with Washington as a free agent and played for the team from 2016-2019, suiting up for 217 games, contributing 52-44-96 numbers, and winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. After his time in Washington expired, Connolly signed the Florida Panthers as a free agent in 2019 and is ready to help his team for a playoff run starting August 1st. Throughout his nine-year NHL career so far, Connolly has played in 496 games and contributed 98-90-188 numbers.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 185 that we recorded below on 7-12-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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!

The Window To Win Another Cup Is Closing For Some Current Bruins Veterans

( Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images )

By Jeremy Grabowski | Follow me on Twitter @JeremyBNGhockey

For a little over a decade now, we as Bruins fans have been blessed with playoff hockey almost every year since 2008. Sure, not all of them have ended the way we would have liked, but playoff hockey is better than no
playoff hockey. We are entering a time now where we have to start asking ourselves this question, “how much longer does Boston have to win a cup with its core group of players still together and in their primes?”

Let me be more specific. By core players, I mean the guys that have been here since the Stanley Cup Championship in 2011. That involves Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask. All of these guys are in their early 30’s except for Chara, who is 43. Chara is long past his prime. With that being said, he is still finding a way to be one of the most feared and lock-down defenders in the league. Let’s go more into depth on a few of these guys.

Patrice Bergeron

Other than being my personal favorite player for over a decade now, Patrice Bergeron is the perfect description of what it means to be a Boston Bruin. He plays the game with his heart on his sleeve and leads by example. He does the difficult things that not a lot of guys would do. Simply because he wants to win, and he doesn’t want to let his teammates or the fans down. Bergeron has had his fair share of injuries. Some he has been able to play through, some he has not.

I don’t think anyone will forget back on October 27th, 2007 the scary scene of Bergeron laying flat on his back after being boarded by Flyers defensemen Randy Jones. He would be stretchered off the ice after a 12-minute delay to tend to the injured forward. he was diagnosed with a “Grade 3” Concussion and would miss 72 games during the regular season plus another seven in the playoffs that year.

It wasn’t until the following pre-season that Bergeron was cleared to fully participate once again. He would only score four goals and 14 assists in the first 31 games of the 2008-2009 season. Then he got hurt again. On December 20th, 2008, Bergeron collided with Dennis Seidenberg, who was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes at the time and once again, sending Bruins fans to panic. Regardless of those fears, Bergeron was back in-game action a little over a month later.

Now, on the other side of this is the injuries he did play through. More specifically, the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In the toughest event, and at the highest level of play, Bergeron suffered torn rib cartilage in Game-Four. Then a broken rib in Game-Five. And to put the icing on the cake, he suffered a separated right shoulder and punctured lung in Game-Six. The Puncture in that lung caused it to collapse. Despite all those injuries and all the pain that comes with them, Bergeron KEPT PLAYING! He would spend the next three days after Game-Six in the hospital.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Bergeron has literally given his body and soul to this organization and the fan base. I consider myself lucky to have grown up watching and learning from his style of play. That being said, Bergeron is now 34 years old. He is still in the prime of his career, but how much longer will that be true with the injury history he has? Eventually that will take a toll on his body and he wont be the same player. Hopefully, that happens later rather than sooner.

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara has been the captain of the Bruins since the 2006-2007 season. He was the big piece the Bruins needed to turn its fortune around. Since joining the club, Chara has taken on the responsibility of being the captain of a team in a market that LOVES its hockey and knows the game. In Boston, if the fans are unhappy with the way you are performing, they are going to let you know! And Chara has been up to the task the whole time.

Now, Chara is well known for being the tallest person to ever be in the NHL coming at 6’9 and maybe a little more than that on skates. But, he is also known for his NHL record hardest shot at 108.8 MPH. That record has not been broken since and probably never will.

Chara has had his fair share of injury history as well. Like Bergeron, he is no stranger to toughing it out and playing through injuries. The most recent sign of this was in last year’s Stanley Cup Final. In Game-Four, Chara went to block a shot from Brayden Schenn that deflected of Chara’s stick and hit him directly in the mouth. He was spitting out blood and skating off the ice under his own power. He would return to the bench for the third period of the game with a bubble mask on his helmet but did not play. It was later revealed that Chara had broken his jaw.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

With two days off between Game-Four and Game-Five, all the talk around the city of Boston was, “Is Chara going to play, or is he done?” It wasn’t until hours before Game-Five that we found out he would play despite having a broken jaw. Once again, Chara showed his toughness by playing through a debilitating injury that most guys would even think of playing through. Chara came out for the start of Game-Five to a standing ovation that, to this day, still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Chara is 43 now. Seriously, how much longer can this man play? I don’t have an answer to that for you, but I think he could play for another two-three years, at least. We’ve already seen one Boston icon play well into his 40’s with Tom Brady. Is Big Z going to do the same if not longer?

Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand is the youngest out of the core players coming in at 32 years old. He is the kind of player that if he isn’t on your team, you love to hate him. But, if he is on your side, you absolutely love the guy! Early in his career, he got into some trouble with suspensions and fines from the league. Since then, he has learned how to toe the line without crossing it. He is an energetic player who, like Bergeron, plays the game with his heart on his sleeve. If there was anyone you wanted to get under the skin of the opponent, it was Brad Marchand.

He quickly became a fan favorite and an essential player in this team’s future. He has six years left on his deal, so he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but how long will the Bruins continue to be useful during those six years? Will they all be good years for the team? Will they still have a chance to win another cup?

In conclusion, the Bruins core players are still in a great position to win another cup in the next two, maybe three years. But, what about after that? How good is this team going to be by then? Hopefully, the kids that come up from Providence or players that they sign in the offseason come in and fit in seamlessly. This core group can get it together and be as good as we all know they are.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

The Best Bruins Moments: Decade by Decade

photo credit: sportslogohistory.com

By Josh Houreas|follow me on Twitter @JHoureas

Ever since 1924, the Boston Bruins have entertained the fans of New England on the ice and around the country. Since then, the pioneers of professional American Hockey have dazzled fans on the ice. So decade by Decade lets take a look at the best moments in Bruins history.

The 1920s: Birth of a team soon to be Champions

While the opening season in Boston Bruins history was easily the worst, (with Boston finishing with a 6-24 record) It wouldn’t take long for Boston to experience a winning tradition in a city where winning means everything. As the Western Hockey League (not to be confused with today’s junior tier league of the same name) folded in 1926, the Boston Bruins were successful in their pursuit of the first cornerstone player in franchise history. That Player was Eddie Shore, and he would help Boston to their first Stanley Cup only three seasons later in 1929.

Photo Credit: NHL.com

The 1930s: Shore steps down, the Krauts step up.

Today, some teams have a line combination that just… Clicks. For Boston, Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron would be that combination today, but back in the 1930s, the Kraut Line, consisting of Mildt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer, and Woody Dumart was the almost unstoppable combination in Beantown. While the Bruins maintained a winning tradition throughout the 1930s, it wouldn’t be until 1939 when the Kraut Line helped Boston capture the Stanley Cup, right before heading off to fight in World War II, and in their last game against the hated Montreal Canadiens, all three players of the Kraut Line were lifted up on the shoulders of Montreal players, and were carried off the ice.

Photo Credit: bostonsportsextra.com

The 1940s: Boston captures another title in the War Stricken world.

Photo Credit: stanleycupofchowder.net

It wouldn’t take the Boston Bruins long to reclaim the Stanley Cup. Bostonians would only have to wait two seasons to see Lord Stanley’s hardware return to the Boston Garden. During the War, Boston would continue to play, but with the eventual retirement of the renowned Kraut Line, the Bruins would struggle to capture another championship. For the next 3 decades.

The 1950s: O’ree breaks the NHL’s color barrier.

Photo Credit: HHOF.com

Just like Jackie Robinson stepping on a Major League field before him, Willie O’Ree became an icon the minute he stepped out onto the ice. On January 18,1958 against the Montreal Canadiens of all teams, O’Ree became the first African Canadian player to dress in an NHL game. He would also hide the fact that he was blind in one eye, after being hit with a puck two years prior to his debut.

The 1960s: The birth of the Big Bad Bruins

There’s no better feeling in the game of hockey than to kick the crap out of the guy who just slammed you into the boards. The Bruins would make a habit of doing the same even though the on ice struggles were clearly visible. Throughout a country struggling with Civil Rights movements and marches, the Bruins would struggle to march into the win column for a majority of the decade. But along came a kid… who had the speed of Connor McDavid , and the defensive skills of Ray Bourque.

And he would change the course of Bruins history forever.

The 1970s: Orr soars, Bruins build a new dynasty.

Mother’s day. 1970. 13,909 fans packed the Boston Garden to watch the Bruins battle the St. Louis Blues in game four of the Stanley Cup Final, and in arguably the most memorable play in Bruins history, Bobby Orr would score the clinching goal, and would be frozen in time, flying through the air. Two years later, Boston captured their fifth Stanley Cup in team history, and it would be a swan song for the Big Bad Bruins.

Photo Credit: sportsnet.ca

The 1980s: Lunch Pail A.C. opens a new era at the Garden

Cheevers, Doak, Cashman. These were the players who would give fans fond memories of the Big Bad Bruins, while players like Terry O’Reilly, Rick Middleton, and Brad Park introduced Bostonians to a new style of Bruins hockey. The Bruins would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1988, but were defeated at the hands of Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers, who were in the middle of building a dynasty of their own.

The 1990s: Bruins Bid Farewell to Boston Garden

photo credit: Boston.com

For 67 years, Boston Garden showcased Boston Bruins hockey and while the product on the ice was spectacular for a majority of years, it is the quirkiness of the layout of the famed building we take a look at. The rink dimensions were smaller than National Hockey League Standards, and the fans always seemed to be right on top of you, and when it got loud, the building shook. Literally. One of my biggest regrets (even though it was completely out of my control being born in 1998) was not being able to see the Boston Garden.

The 2000s: Chiarelli transforms losing traditions into winning traditions

At the turn of the Millennium, the Boston Bruins had finished with a record of 24-33-19-6. Something had to be done to help Boston become a contender for their 6th Stanley Cup. Over the next five seasons, General Manager Peter Chiarelli (hired in 2006) would transform the Bruins into a powerhouse.

The 2010s: Monumental Heartbreak leads to a Memorable Championship.

On May 14, 2010 the Boston Bruins sent their fanbase into horrifying shock. The team had succeeded in performing a monumental collapse at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers. Up 3-0 in the series, and not to mention 3-0 in Game 7, Boston had a lot of questions to answer, and a lot of criticism to face. Personally, I couldn’t even believe what I had seen. I kept mumbling “all they had to do was win one more game, how could they blow it?”

The team would repay us in the Summer of 2011, as the team won the Stanley Cup after winning 3 game sevens in route to their first Championship in nearly 4 decades. Going to the parade is a memory im never going to forget. Three hours of waiting for 30 seconds of cheering. Totally worth it, also PSA. If your local sports team wins a championship, don’t go to the parade. Enjoy watching it in the comfort of your own home.

Photo Credit: boston.cbslocal.com

Honorable Mention. 2013. That entire season was a rollercoaster of emotions. Well, what we were able to get of it. A similar situation to 2005 was arising, and the NHL lost about half the year to lockout. With the tragedy at the Boston Marathon in April of that year, the Bruins became Boston’s team more than ever. And the fans were certainly with them on April 20, 2013. Let’s go Bruins chants were replaced with We are Boston chants. A 617 jersey was custom made by the equipment staff, and it gave us a tearful reminder that there was only one outlook on what had happened in the days prior, and that was to remain Boston Strong. The following month, Boston completed one of the most historic comebacks in Stanley Cup Playoffs history, defeating Toronto after scoring 3 goals in less than 12 minutes in the final period of game 7.

photo credit: ESPN.com

Today, the Boston Bruins continue a winning tradition going into their 97th season in the National Hockey League.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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!

Is This The Year Tuukka Rask Breaks Free From Tim Thomas’ Shadow?

( Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images )

By Jeremy Grabowski | Follow me on Twitter @JeremyBNGhockey

Ever since Tim Thomas’ miraculous playoff run back in 2011 that ended in the Bruins winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, the questions started being asked. How much longer does Thomas last? How much longer will he be effective? How much longer will he be with the Bruins? That answer finally came to light not long after the Bruins fell to the Washington Capitals in seven games in the first round of the 2011-2012 NHL Playoffs. Thomas announced that he would sit out the 2012-2013 NHL Season. Opening the door for the Bruins to thrust Tuukka Rask back into the starting role for the first time since the 2009-2010 NHL Season.

Tuukka would have to wait a little longer to step back into the crease as the Bruins Starting goaltender. The reason being was because of a lockout at the start of the 2012-2013 NHL Season that began on September 15th, 2012. Finally, a new CBA was agreed upon by the NHL and NHLPA on January 6th, 2013. The season was shortened down to just 48 games for the regular season. That year we saw Tuukka play 36 games posting a 19-10-5 record with a GAA of 2.00 and a Sv% of .929.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Going into the playoffs that year, the Bruins were facing a young up and coming Toronto Maple Leafs team in the First-Round. The series was a back and forth battle most of the way. That was until the Maple Leafs took a 4-1 lead in game seven at TD Garden and seemed to have the series all but wrapped up. And then I think we all remember what happened next……

The Bruins went on to eliminate the New York Rangers in five games in the Second-Round and Swept the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. They were on their way to a second Stanley Cup Final appearance in three years. Unfortunately, the Bruins would lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in an infamous 17 seconds that Bruins fans will never forget.

Fast forward to the 2013-2014 season the Bruins would go on to win the President’s Trophy and Tuukka posted a 36-15-6 record in the regular season with a 2.04 GAA and a .930 Sv%. Tuukka was remarkable in his first full season as a starter for the Bruins since 2010. He led the Bruins to a series win over the Detroit Red Wings in five games. Then in the second round, the Bruins faced the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins would fall short against the Canadiens losing the series in seven games.

The next year in the 2014-2015 season Tuukka and the Bruins would not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007. They would miss the playoffs again for the second straight year in the 2015-2016 season. The Bruins would make their way back to the playoffs in the 2016-2017 season and meet with the Ottawa Senators in the first-round but fall short once again, losing the series in six games.

Tuukka would bring the Bruins back to the second round of the 2017-2018 playoffs. Once again, beating the Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round and then losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round in five games. And we all know what happened last year. The Bruins beat the Leafs in seven games for the second straight season, then beat the Blue Jackets in six games in the second round, and swept the Hurricanes in the Conference Finals. Still sour on the minds of all Bruins fans, they would go on to lose to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final in seven games.

Now being a Vezina Trophy winner, a two-time All-Star, and a Stanley Cup Champion as a backup in 2011, Tuukka has got to be thinking “what do I have to do to get over the hump?” Well, this might be the year he does it. With this unprecedented long break due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Tuukka has had plenty of time to rest up and get back to 100%. It’s no secret that Tuukka plays much better when he has had his rest, and I, for one, will be putting all my eggs into Tuukka’s basket once the playoffs start. I think he will have what it takes to get the Bruins their first Stanley Cup Championship since 2011 when the playoffs start up again for the 2020 season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers – An Underrated Rivalry

bruins_vs_flyers_0

Boston Bruins’ Charlie Coyle shields the puck from Philadelphia Flyers’ Connor Bunnaman. PHOTO CREDITS: (nbcsports.com)

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

As one of the first franchises in the National Hockey League, the Boston Bruins have had their fair share of time to stir the pot with essentially every other team. Typically, when the word “rivalry” combines with the name “Boston Bruins”, the other five Original Six teams come to mind. The rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens, as fellow Black n’ Gold Hockey Podcast writer Joe Chrzanowski wrote about in a recent article, is widely regarded as the greatest rivalry in the history of the NHL.

As well, rivalries with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, and even the Detroit Red Wings are fairly well-known. These teams are rivals with the Bruins more-so because of the fact they were the only teams in the league at the time and played each other in high-stakes games often, thus creating hatred for one another on the ice.

However, in the 1967-68 season, the National Hockey League introduced six new organizations to the league – the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and the Philadelphia Flyers, bringing the size of the league to twelve teams instead of six. With more competition and more opponents, winning a Stanley Cup became even more challenging and opened the door for more rivalries.

As an expansion team, the Philadelphia Flyers had losing records in each of their first five seasons, making the postseason three times and losing in the quarter-finals each time – twice to the St. Louis Blues and once to the Chicago Blackhawks. It wasn’t until the 1972-73 season where the Flyers, led by captain Bobby Clarke, finished with a winning record of 37-30-11. Philly knocked out the Minnesota North Stars in six games but fell short in five games to the Montreal Canadiens in the next round.

In the very next season, the Bobby Clarke scored a team-leading 87 points to help lead the Flyers to a 50-16-12 record and the 1st place position in the NHL West Division. After sweeping the Atlanta Flames in the opening round and bouncing the New York Rangers in seven games, the Flyers were in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history – against the powerhouse Boston Bruins.

The Start of a Rivalry: 1974 – 1978

Led by Bobby Orr and company, the Boston Bruins were one of the strongest teams in the National Hockey League. The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in the 1969-70 season, won 57 games before losing in the first round in the ’70/’71 season, won a second Stanley Cup in 71-72, won another 51 games in 72-73, and were coming off a 52-17-9 record in the 1973-74 campaign.

Boston eliminated both the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0) and Chicago Blackhawks (4-2) in the previous two rounds which led to the Finals against Philadelphia. During the regular season, the B’s won the season series 3-1-1, out-scoring Philly 20-to-16 in those five games. Boston was arguably the favorites to win their third Stanley Cup in five seasons.

The 1974 Stanley Cup Finals was also a series between two of the scariest NHL teams at the time and quite possibly of all-time. The Bruins were known as the ‘Big Bad Bruins’ with the likes of Terry O’Reilly and Wayne Cashman and truly paved the way for the physical, hard-hitting teams like the Broad Street Bullies to even exist. Now, with the likes of Dave Schultz and Don Saleski, these two tough teams were going toe-to-toe with Lord Stanley on the line.

Boston took the first game, but the Flyers won Game Two in overtime followed by wins in Games Three and Four to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In Game Five, the Bruins scored more than three goals for the first (and only) time in the series, winning the game 5-1. However, Hall-of-Fame goaltender Bernie Parent stopped every shot in Game Six as the Philadelphia Flyers won their first franchise Stanley Cup with a 1-0 victory. Parent was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Broad Street Bullies did not stop there. In the very next season, they dominated once again all the way to their second-consecutive Stanley Cup, defeating the Buffalo Sabres in six games. The Bruins, on the other hand, lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the best-of-three preliminary round.

In 1975-76, both the Bruins and Flyers were top-three in the final league standings and found success early on in the postseason. Thus led to a semi-finals matchup between the two, a rematch from the Finals two years prior. The Flyers dominated the Bruins, winning four-straight games after losing Game One, sending them to the Stanley Cup Finals again. However, the Montreal Canadiens proved to be too good and swept Philly in four games.

jco50158833-jpg

Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr (right) passes the puck as Philadelphia Flyers Rick MacLeish looks on in Boston on February 9, 1974. PHOTO CREDITS: (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP)

For the next two seasons, these hard-hitting franchises played against one another in the semi-finals with Boston winning both matchups before going on to lose to the Montreal Canadiens – as most teams did back in this era of the NHL. During those five years, the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers played in four playoff series with each team winning twice. Although, only the Broad Street Bullies managed to go on and win the Stanley Cup (1974) after their series.

The 1970s went down as arguably the most entertaining decades for each of these teams. Philadelphia and Boston had seemingly the perfect blend of scoring talent, solid goaltending, and the willingness to drop the gloves and pound your body into the glass. Ruthless, intense, physically-demanding are the best ways to describe the Big Bad Bruins and the Broad Street Bullies back in the day.

A Recent Resurgence: 2007 – Present

This rivalry appeared to die down a little during the 1980s, 1990s, and beginning stages to the 2000s. We did not see another playoff series between the two organizations and neither team won another Stanley Cup in that period. While they played each other in the scheduled regular-season games, there just was not as much intensity as a best-of-seven elimination series.

However, the bad blood between Boston and Philadelphia started to amp up more recently. On October 27th, 2007, defenceman Randy Jones brutally hit 22-year-old Patrice Bergeron on the numbers into the glass. Bergeron laid unconscious on the ice before being stretchered out of the arena. He was later diagnosed with a broken nose and a concussion and was forced to miss the remainder of the 2007-08 season. Jones received a two-game suspension for his hit.

Two seasons later, in 2009-2010, the Bruins and the Flyers each made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing third in their respective Eastern Conference divisions. Boston dispatched of the Buffalo Sabres in six games while Philadelphia knocked out the New Jersey Devils in five games. This subsequently led to a Bruins-Flyers playoff series for the first time since 1977-78 – 32 years prior.

Following a 5-4 overtime win in Game One, the B’s would win the next two meetings to have a dominating 3-0 series lead over the Black and Orange. Most hockey fans expected Boston to come out victorious, but the Flyers were not done yet. Simon Gagne, who missed the first three games due to injury, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to avoid the four-game sweep.

Philly shutout the Bruins 4-0 in Game Five and stole Game Six by a final score of 2-1 to somehow, someway force a pivotal Game Seven in Boston, Massachusetts. With goals from Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic (2), the Bruins exploded to a 3-0 lead in the first period of play. However, James van Riemsdyk buried one with less than three minutes to go in the opening frame to cut the lead down to two.

Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere each potted one of their own to equal the score after forty minutes. Then, the Boston Bruins took a too-many-men penalty (a Déjà vu moment from the 1979 Semi-Finals against Montreal) which lead to a power-play goal by Simon Gagne with just around seven minutes remaining in the final regulation period.

Philadelphia held on to win Game Seven, 4-3, and became just the third team in NHL history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win the series (Maple Leafs over Red Wings in 1942, Islanders over Penguins in 1975). This series loss remains to be one of the most heartbreaking moments for many Boston Bruins fans as an almost certain series win came crashing down. The Flyers would go on to win the Conference Finals but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

During the 2010-2011 campaign, both Boston and Philadelphia finished with 100-plus-point records and were considered to be two of the favorites to make it to the Finals coming out of the East. The Bruins defeated the Canadiens in seven at the same time the Flyers eliminated the Sabres in seven – setting up an immediate rematch of the year prior.

Once again, Boston came out strong, winning Game One 7-3, Game Two 3-2 in overtime, and Game Three 5-1. With another 3-0 series lead over Philly, the Black and Gold were looking to finish the job successfully this time. In a masterful game of offensive and defensive success, the Bruins won Game Four by a score of 5-to-1 and eliminated Philadelphia to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals.

As we know, the Boston Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games and the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win their sixth Stanley Cup and first since 1972. The 2011 Bruins went down as one of the toughest teams in NHL history as their defense and hard-hitting style helped lead them to victory. It was shades of the old-school 1970s Big Bad Bruins – the team that as we discussed, started the rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 201 regular-season games dating back to 1967-68, the Boston Bruins have a combined 107-61-21-12 record over the Philadelphia Flyers, outscoring them 659-to-583. In addition to that, these two teams have played six playoff series against one another with each winning three times. The Bruins have outscored the Flyers in the postseason 100-to-86.

Now, in 2019-20, this rivalry has the potential to gain new ground. On March 10th, 2020, the Bruins defeated the Flyers 2-0 in what ended up being the final game of the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the NHL’s Return-to-Play format, the Bruins and Flyers will each play in a Round Robin to determine seeding for the remainder of the playoffs.  This means that there is the potential for another high-stakes game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers and to be quite frank, I am ready for it.

To a lot of Bruins and Flyers fans alike, this rivalry is heated, intense, and quite historic. However, with other more high-profile rivals for each respective franchise, this one often goes unnoticed. For that reason, the rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers is one of the most underrated ones in NHL history.

Information and statistics are courtesy of hockeyreference.com, nhl.com, records.nhl.com, thehockeywriters.com, and bleacherreport.com.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Who Is The Bruins Biggest Rival Today?

(Photo Credit: AP/Nick Wass)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

 

If you have been a Bruins fan for more than 10 years, you should have a healthy, hotter than the heat of a thousand suns, passionate hatred for the Montreal Canadiens. Good vs. Evil…Night vs. Day…Heat Miser vs. Cold Miser…none of those have anything on Boston vs. Montreal. As a boy, I went to a B’s vs. Habs playoff game in the late ’70s and witnessed a drunken Montreal fan on crutches “mouthing off” to a group of Boston fans and subsequently being beaten with his own crutches until police intervened. That’s how bad it was it was between the two fanbases at the time. Let’s take a quick look at this historic rivalry and decide if they are still the B’s most hated foes today.

Being two of the NHL’s Original Six franchises means that the Bruins and Canadiens have been facing off for a long, long time. They first met in December of 1924, with Montreal defeating Boston 4-3. This first game was sort of emblematic of the rivalry as a whole for many years, with the Bruins coming close, but ultimately losing to their rivals from North of the Border. Since that time, the two teams have played each more times (regular season and playoffs combined) than any other two teams in NHL history. The series stands at 469–345–103–10 in favor of Montreal, who has dominated at times. They have also met 34 times in the postseason, with the Canadians winning 18 straight series from 1946-1987.

(Photo Credit: La Presse)

I started following the Bruins in 1972, and while I was just a youngster, there was not a team I despised more than Les Habitants. If the earth had opened up and swallowed Dryden, Lafleur, and Robinson, I probably would have been the happiest six-year-old on the planet. As I was starting my decades-long fandom with the Bruins, they actually took a brief hiatus from the rivalry with the Canadiens, meeting them only once in the playoffs from 1970-71 (the Dryden series) through 1975. It would not last very long, but for that period, Montreal was on the back burner.

During those years, the B’s had a pretty healthy rivalry with the Rangers that briefly eclipsed the one with Montreal. Boston met New York in 1970 and 1972, defeating them on the way to two Stanley Cups. New York eliminated Boston in 1973. After that, it was the Flyers for a few seasons. Philadelphia and Bernie Parent (a former Bruin) beat Boston in the Stanley Cup Final in 1974 in a grueling six-game series and also eliminated them in 1976. The Bruins had the upper hand in 1977 and 1978, besting the Flyers in the semi-finals both of those seasons. Not to worry though, Montreal was already marching back to the forefront of Bruin’s fan’s hit-lists.

From 1977-1979 the teams met in three straight postseasons, with the Habs winning all three series, two in the Finals. As an avid 11-13-year-old B’s fan and hockey player during that stretch was particularly hard on me, with some tears being shed. I had the pleasure and good luck to attend Game Four’s in both 78 and 79, both 4-3 OT wins for the Bruins. I have not experienced that kind of atmosphere at a hockey game since, and have attended many. My absolute joy both years was obviously short-lived. Despite the Canadien’s dominance an amazing stat for that era…from 1965-1979 Boston (2-3) and Montreal (10-1) took up 16 of the possible 30 spots in the Finals during those 15 years.

The 1980s were not much kinder to Boston, as they lost five of the six series in that decade when the teams faced off (1984, 85, 86, 87, 89). The lone exception was 1988 when a Bruins team led by Cam Neely and Ray Bourque defeated the Canadiens in five games in the Adams Division Final. This series victory broke a 44 year and 18 series stretch of Montreal victories. The B’s would go on to defeat New Jersey and lose to the juggernaut that was Edmonton in the Cup Finals.

The 1990s would bring a much-needed change to the rivalry from the Bruins perspective, with Boston taking all four series played that decade. From 2000-2014, the two Eastern Conference foes faced each other another six times, with Montreal holding a 4-2 series edge. At that point, the rivalry appeared to be alive and well, despite the fact that the NHL changed the season format between division teams. At one time, the two teams could have as many as nine meetings in the regular season alone, and it was down to four or five.

The one-time automatic opponents have not faced each other in the playoffs since the 2013-14 season. While the regular-season matchups are still intense, it lacks something without adding the intensity of postseason games to the mix. In my opinion, the two things most directly responsible for the slippage of this once-great rivalry is the NHL’s lack of emphasis on division games and Montreal’s lack of competitiveness in recent years. The Bruins are headed to their fourth straight playoffs, while the Canadiens have missed “the chase” two of the last four seasons, and are only going this season because of the expanded 24-team playoff format. While I am positive that this rivalry is not dead, it certainly is on life-support at this juncture.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If not Montreal, which NHL team now makes the blood of Bruins fans boil? Pittsburgh? I guess you could make a case for the Pens, but the Bruins have not faced them in the postseason since 2012-13. Matt Cooke is gone, and while I like nothing better than hating on Sid and Geno, there just isn’t enough meat there. Tampa Bay? The Lightning have been one of the better teams in the East for the last decade or so. Boston has faced them twice in the playoffs during that time, but only once in the last five seasons. It’s close, but I would say that the Bolts are #2 on the hit list, until Boston sees them more regularly in the postseason.

I think if you ask most fans, the answer to the question, who is the Bruins’ biggest rival at this moment, is a pretty easy one. And the winner is…the Toronto Maple Leafs. In addition to being in the same division, the Bruins have faced the Leafs three times since 2012-13 in the playoffs. All three series have been absolute barn burners, going seven games with Boston winning each Game 7, one in extremely dramatic fashion. Toronto is a very talented team that just needs to get over the hump. Unfortunately for them, the B’s seem to be their kryptonite, like the Habs once were for the Bruins. Toronto has not won a playoff series against Boston since 1959.

Some might question whether Boston vs. Toronto is a legitimate rivalry with the series being somewhat lopsided? I would say the answer is yes for a couple of reasons. First, the last three times they met, it went to seven games, all the games were very close, and the Leafs could have easily won all three series. Second, the Toronto fans are easily the most dis-likable group since Montreal, and some would argue they are worse. At least the Canadiens had a history of winning, while Leafs fans are the most entitled I have come across. One would never know from talking to them that their team has not won a playoff series since 2004 (close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades).

So, while it is a little disappointing that the Bruins rivalry with the Habs has simmered in recent years, it’s good to know that their neighbors to the south and west have picked up the torch until Montreal gets back on their feet. Here’s to another seven-game series this postseason, with the B’s winning their fourth straight against Toronto in heartbreaking fashion (fingers crossed).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!

Judging The Bruins’ 2013 NHL Entry Draft

(Photo Credit: Ric Tapia / Getty Images)

By Carrie Young | Follow me on Twitter @carrieyoung512

Seven years ago yesterday, the Bruins were tasked with drafting promising young talent just after losing in the Stanley Cup Finals in heartbreaking fashion. It can be difficult to judge the quality of specific drafts, especially when player development can take multiple years, but enough time has passed now that we can see how much these draft picks ended up benefiting the Bruins.

Boston did not have a first-round pick in 2013 due to the Jaromir Jagr trade with the Dallas Stars.

Second Round

Bruins Pick: Linus Arnesson, D, 60th overall

( Photo Credit: Alchetron.com )

Players Still Available: Zach Sanford, Jake Guentzel, Anthony Duclair

This was already going to be a weak draft for Boston without a first-rounder. With their second-round pick, they selected Swedish defenseman Linus Arnesson. This was an average pick, not considered to be a steal or a reach by many at the time. Arnesson has yet to play a game for Boston. He recorded 10 points in 79 games with Providence over three seasons, then returned to his native Sweden to play in the SHL. The Bruins still retain his rights if he was to return to North America.

Third Round

Bruins Pick: Peter Cehlarik, F, 90th overall

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Players Still Available: Juuse Saros, Miles Wood, Andrew Copp

This pick had some fans thinking it was a steal when it was first announced. At one point, Cehlarik even seemed to be on his way to becoming a Boston mainstay. After performing well in Providence, he was given multiple looks as a winger with the big club, but never seemed to earn the trust of the coaching staff. Cehlarik has recorded 11 points in 40 games with the Bruins and remains in the system at the moment. However, he is a pending free agent and has expressed displeasure with his development in interviews with Slovakian media. Cehlarik is certainly a talented player and could still break into the NHL with a fresh start. However, he was unable to make an impact in Boston.

Fourth Round

Bruins Pick: Ryan Fitzgerald, F, 120th overall

( Mandatory Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports )

Players Still Available: Tyler Motte, Will Butcher, Connor Clifton

Massachusetts native Ryan Fitzgerald, son of former Bruin (and current New Jersey Devils general manager) Tom Fitzgerald, was certainly going to catch Boston’s eye as a homegrown prospect. The 5’9″ forward played for four years at Boston College before turning pro with the Providence Bruins. Fitzgerald has recorded 103 points in 195 games over 4 seasons in the AHL, as well as 8 playoff points in 20 games. He is a serviceable AHL forward and was in contention for call-ups in recent seasons.

Fifth Round

Bruins Pick: Wiley Sherman, D, 150th overall

( Photo Credit: Boston Bruins / @NHLBruins )

Players Still Available: Josh Brown, Alan Quine, Antoine Bibeau

Another New England native, Sherman hails from Connecticut and played for four years at Harvard University. He has logged 11 points in 74 games with Providence. Standing at 6’6″, his physical presence on the ice could become a factor as he gets stronger and more experienced in the AHL. This seems like a reasonable pick considering how late in the draft it was.

Sixth Round

Bruins Pick: Anton Blidh, F, 180th overall

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Players Still Available: Dominik Kubalik, Andreas Johnsson, MacKenzie Weegar

This ended up as a good pick for the Bruins, one of those late-round gambles that can turn into an entertaining player. Blidh has recorded 81 points over five seasons with Providence (including 2019-20, during which he suffered a shoulder injury and played just 4 games). He has also played 28 games with Boston since 2016, logging 2 points and 7 penalty minutes. Blidh plays determined and physical hockey which can get under opponents’ skin. Any fan of the Providence Bruins knows his name well.

Seventh Round

Bruins Pick: Mitchell Dempsey, F, 210th overall

( Photo Credit: New England Hockey Journal )

Players Still Available: This was the second-to-last pick in the draft.

The second-to-last pick in the draft doesn’t have the highest expectations on it. The Bruins used it to select Mitchell Dempsey of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Dempsey never ended up playing professionally in the Bruins system. According to Eliteprospects.com, he last played with the Kedgwick Dynamo of the CRL in Canada.

Overall

This was a weak draft for the Bruins. Some of that is to be expected; they used draft picks to acquire players in a push for the Stanley Cup. However, these draft picks did not produce any mainstay NHL players. Only two of the six players selected went on to play any games with Boston. Despite this, the Bruins did well scouting undrafted players, which got them Torey Krug (among others).

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 184 that we recorded below on 6-28-20! 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!