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.

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

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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.

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Sergei Gonchar

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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!

Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time: #5 – #1

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

While Americans have the Fourth of July, us Canadians celebrate Canada Day today, July 1st. In honour of Canada’s 153rd birthday, I decided to rank the greatest Boston Bruins players that were born in the Great White North. If you missed players ten through six, I highly suggest you click HERE. If you’ve already read the previous installment, we can officially move on to the remainder of the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time. So without further ado, let’s dive right into this!

5 – Patrice Bergeron (2003 – Present)

The only current player on this list, Patrice Bergeron is one of the greatest players to ever play for the Boston Bruins franchise. At 34-years-old, Bergeron has the 5th-most goals in Bruins history with 352, the 5th-most assists with 517 and is 6th in Boston Bruins history for most points with 869. Bergeron is also one of only six players to play 1000 games for the franchise, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Don Sweeney, Wayne Cashman, and Zdeno Chara.

While Bergeron is near the top of most of the statistical leaderboards within the organization, it is not the only reason Bergeron will go down in the history books and will likely have a place in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame when his career is all said and done. Patrice Bergeron is one of, if not the greatest defensive forwards of all-time. The Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada native has won four Frank J. Selke Trophies – tying him with Bob Gainey for the most in NHL history.

In addition, Patrice Bergeron is apart of the illustrious Triple Gold Club – having won an Olympic Gold (2010, 2014), a World Championship Gold (2004), and a Stanley Cup (2011). Bergeron also continues to be one of the most well-respected players in the National Hockey League – putting respect, class, and sportsmanship before anything else and he is a perfect representative of the Boston Bruins organization.

4 – Johnny Bucyk (1955 – 1978)

Quite possibly the embodiment of the Boston Bruins organization – Johnny “Chief” Bucyk, born in Edmonton, Alberta on May 12th, 1935, played 21 seasons for the Boston Bruins from 1957-58 all the way to 1977-78. During that span, Bucyk scored 556 goals (1st in Bruins history), 794 assists (2nd in Bruins history), and 1339 points (2nd in Bruins history) all in 1436 career regular-season games (2nd in Bruins history).

From the 1967-68 season to the 1976-77 season, Bucyk scored at least 20 goals including a 51-65-110 campaign in 1970-71 at the age of 35. A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Bucyk goes down as one of the best Boston Bruins simply for the time spent in the organization. Even after his retirement at the end of the ’77/’78 season, Bucyk worked with the Bruins’ public relations team as well as doing some colour commentary. Today, The Chief is still an ambassador for the team and just concluded his 62nd season as apart of the Boston Bruins.

John Bucyk’s #9 was retired immediately in 1978 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame not long after in 1981. Bucyk finished his NHL career with 556-813-1369 numbers, two Stanley Cups, two Lady Byng trophies, and was named to two All-Star teams.

3 – Phil Esposito (1963 – 1981)

Phil Esposito, born in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, was one of the greatest scorers in not only Boston Bruins history, but NHL history at the time of his playing career. Esposito’s tenure with the Bruins took place for nine seasons, playing in 625 games while scoring an incredible 459-553-1012 numbers during that short time.

Esposito once held the NHL record for most goals scored in a single season with 76 goals in the 1970-71 campaign and while that record would later be passed by Wayne Gretzky, it’s just a small sample size of how talented Esposito was in Boston and how he was a massive piece to Boston’s two Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972. Esposito was a ten-time All-Star, two-time Hart Trophy winner, five-time Art Ross winner, two-time Pearson winner, and was apart of the Hockey Hall-of-Fame Class of 1984.  As a member of the Bruins, Esposito scored 40 or more goals in seven consecutive seasons and 50 or more goals in five straight seasons.

At the international level, Esposito was a big piece to Team Canada in the infamous 1972 Summit Series, finishing the eight-game series against the Soviet Union with the most points with thirteen and tied for most goals with seven. Phil also helped Canada win the 1976 Canada Cup and represented his country in the 1977 IIHF World Championships where Canada finished 4th.

Phil Esposito ranks 2nd in franchise history for goals, 4th in franchise history for assists and 3rd in franchise history in points while not even hitting the 700-game mark as a Boston Bruin. Throughout his entire NHL career combined, Phil Esposito scored 717-873-1590 numbers in 1282 games played putting him 10th in the NHL for points and 6th in the league’s history for goals. The Bruins retired his #7 in 1987, creating one of the most infamous moments in Bruins history with the player who is next on this list.

2 – Raymond Bourque (1979 – 2001)

Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Ray Bourque is one of the greatest defensemen to ever play the sport of hockey. Throughout 21 incredible seasons as a member of the Boston Bruins, Bourque amassed 395 goals and 1111 assists for 1506 points. As of the current day, Bourque is the franchise leader in games played (1518), assists, and points.

As mentioned above, Bourque was involved in one of the best moments in Boston Bruins history. As the Bruins were set to raise Phil Esposito’s #7 up into the rafters, Ray Bourque (who took the #7 after Espo’s retirement), skated over to Esposito, took off his #7 sweater and handed it to Esposito. Under the original sweater was Bourque’s new #77 which would later be retired by the Bruins after Bourque’s own career ended.

Out of the 21 seasons in Boston, he was named an All-Star eighteen times and won the James Norris Trophy as the league’s best defensemen five times. He also won the team’s scoring title on five occasions which included four 90-plus-point performances. Bourque was also well-known around the NHL for his blistering accurate shot, winning eight Accuracy Shooting competitions at the NHL All-Star festivities.

While Bourque never won a Stanley Cup in Boston, he did win a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, further cementing himself as one of the greatest ever at his position. He is still the NHL leader for points as a defenceman and was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2004.

1 – Bobby Orr (1966 – 1979)

If you ask anyone to name one legend of the Boston Bruins, 99% of the time they will respond with “Bobby Orr”. Born in Parry Sound, Ontario, Bobby Orr is the greatest Boston Bruin player ever – let alone players born in Canada. While his career was unfortunately cut short due to injuries, his time with the Boston Bruins proved him to be one of the best players the NHL has ever seen.

In 631 regular-season games for the Boston Bruins, Bobby Orr scored 264 goals and 624 assists for 888 points. In only those ten seasons, he won eight straight James Norris trophies as the league’s best defenceman, three Hart trophies, two Art Ross trophies making him the only blueliner to ever win a scoring title, two Conn Smythe trophies as the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs in Boston’s 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup wins. In addition, Orr was named as an All-Star nine times and was the first NHL player to not only reach 100 assists in a single season but was also the first NHL player to record six-consecutive 100-point campaigns – a feat he accomplished between 1969-70 and 1974-75.

Bobby Orr is also extremely well-known for his infamous “Flying Goal” in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues. The photo of Bobby flying through the air after scoring the game-winning goal that won the Bruins the Stanley Cup in 1970 is synonymous with Boston Bruins culture and every Bruin fan around the globe is proud he was a member of the Boston Bruins.

Bobby-Orr-Boston-Bruins-flying-goal-Stanley-Cup-1970-1040x572

PHOTO CREDITS: (Ray Lussier/Boston Herald American via AP)

Bobby Orr changed the game of hockey forever. The way he controlled the game with such finesse, skill, and talent as a defenceman was never seen before and has never been replicated to that degree even now. A true athlete that altered the sport of hockey for the better and is truly in the conversation as one of the best hockey players in the history of the National Hockey League.

And with that, the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time is now complete. Do you agree with my list? I’d love to hear your thoughts via my Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj). On behalf of the Black n Gold Hockey Podcast crew, Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!

Information and Statistics courtesy of hockey-reference.com, hhof.com, eliteprospects.com, quanthockey.com, and nhl.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!

Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time: #10 – #6

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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

Today, July 1st, 2020 is Canada’s 153rd birthday – more commonly known as Canada Day. In celebration of this historical day, I decided to take a look back on some of the greatest players from the Great White North that dawned that infamous Spoked-B sweater of the Boston Bruins. This list was incredibly difficult to make, but it could make for some fun discussions. Without further ado, let’s dive right into the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time!

10 – Eddie Shore (1926 – 1940)

Born in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan on November 25th, 1902, Eddie Shore spent the early years of his life on a horse ranch working hard labor – breaking in ponies, herding stock and hauling grain on the daily. While that may seem like a useless piece of information, those early days helped pave the way for Shore who became known as one of the most physical players during his era.

Immediately at the beginning of his career, Shore’s bruising style controlled the game and in the 1928-29 season, he led the Bruins to first place in the American Division and helped them go undefeated in the playoffs en route to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 1929. Shore continued his strong play throughout his career, winning the Hart Trophy in 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938 becoming the first defenceman in NHL history to win four Hart trophies and as of 2020, is still the only defenceman to have won that many times.

On December 22nd, 1933, one of Shore’s most infamous moments occurred. Eddie Shore hit Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Ace Bailey from behind, causing him to go headfirst into the ice. Bailey was knocked unconscious and his career was ultimately ended right then and there. In retaliation for the hit, Leafs player Red Homer punched Shore in the face, causing Shore to fall onto the ice as well, resulting in seven stitches. The first large-scale benefit game in NHL history took place for Bailey in 1934 which led to Shore and Bailey shaking hands, one of the best showcases of respect in hockey.

Later on in his career, Shore helped bring the Bruins back to championship glory, winning the franchise’s second Stanley Cup – ten years after the first one – in 1939. Shore’s tenacious style was a huge factor in the victory. Shore retired after the 1939-40 season. He played 14 seasons with Boston, scoring 284 points in 551 games and two Stanley Cups. Eddie Shore was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 1947 and his #2 was retired by the Bruins that same year.

9 – Wayne Cashman (1964 – 1983)

Wayne Cashman, born in Kingston, Ontario on June 24th, 1945, played for the Black and Gold for 17 seasons, starting out in the 1964-65 campaign where he skated in one game. Cashman was a solid player for the Bruins, skating on a line with Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge – the line that set an NHL record at the time with 336 points combined. During the Bruins’ Stanley Cup run in 1970, Cashman scored 9 points in 14 games.

During the 1970-71 campaign, Cashman scored 21-58-77 totals in 77 games played for the Bruins, setting a new career-high in points that would later be broken in 1974 when he posted an 84-point season. However, Cashman was never known for his personal statistics. “Cash” was the tough, physical player that battled hard in the boards for pucks and was there to stand up for his teammates – especially Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Teammate Derek Sanderson said the following about Cashman:

“You could see a guy go into a corner after the puck, and just before he got to it, he stopped and flinched a bit when he saw Cash. That’s when you knew you got him on the ropes,” – Derek Sanderson 

Cashman won a second Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 1972 and went on to play over 1,000 games with the franchise, including the final six seasons as captain, before retiring from playing in 1983 – the final player from the Original Six to retire. Following his playing career, Cashman spent 16 years in various coaching positions throughout the NHL. He ended his coaching career as an assistant with the Bruins in 2006. Wayne Cashman scored 277-516-793 numbers in 1027 games – all for Boston.

8 – Cecil “Tiny” Thompson (1928 – 1940)

Cecil “Tiny” Thompson, born in Sandon, British Columbia, was another member of the early Boston Bruins and is known today as one of the best goaltenders to play for the organization. Throughout eleven seasons in Boston (and two in Detroit) Thompson accumulated 284 wins, 194 losses, 75 ties, and 84 shutouts throughout 553 career NHL games.

As of July 1st, 2020, Thompson is all over the Boston Bruins record books. He ranks second in games played (behind Tuukka Rask), second in wins (behind Tuukka Rask), first in career goals-against-average (1.99), and first in shutouts (74). Thompson’s overall 81 shutouts (7 with Detroit) rank 6th in NHL history. Thompson was apart of Boston’s first Stanley Cup back in 1929 and won a total of four Vezina trophies as the best goaltender in the NHL. He was also named as an All-Star on four occasions as well.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)

Cecil is also known for being one of the first netminders to perfect and popularize the technique of catching the puck in his glove – known today as a glove save. Before then, it was not common for goalies to grab the puck, but his skill allowed him to do so, paving the way for future players. Also, he was the first NHL goaltender to record an assist back in the 1935-36 season.

Tiny Thompson retired from the National Hockey League after the 1939-40 season. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 1959.

Note: It was a true toss-up for me to put either Thompson or Gerry Cheevers. Due to the statistics being slightly in favor of Thompson, I decided to put him instead. However, there is a true argument for Cheevers due to his impact on the Bruins winning the Cup in 1970 and 1972 as well as the sentimental value he holds with Boston Bruins fans. 

7 – Rick Middleton (1974 – 1988)

Rick “Nifty” Middleton was born in Toronto, Ontario back on December 4th, 1953, and is the most recent player to have their number retired by the Boston Bruins as his #16 went into the TD Garden rafters in November 2018. During his 1005-game NHL career (881 with the Bruins), Middleton was one of the better scorers of his generation. As of July 1st, 2020, Middleton is fourth in Bruins all-time points and 3rd all-time in Bruins goals.

From 1978 to 1982, Middleton led the Bruins in points and also led the Bruins in goals for six consecutive seasons. To this day, Middleton’s 19 points in a single playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres still holds as an NHL record and has helped contribute to him being 5th in the Boston Bruins organization for playoff scoring. The reason for “Nifty” being so dangerous? He was one of the best one-on-one players in the league during his career and former teammate Wayne Cashman confirmed that:

“He was the most exciting one-on-one player in hockey when he was in his prime”- former teammate Wayne Cashman 

In 1005 career regular-season games, Rick Middleton scored 448 goals and 540 assists for 988 points in addition to his 100 points in 111 career playoff games. While the prestigious Stanley Cup managed to stay out of his grasps in his 14-year career, Middleton goes down as one of the best Bruins of his generation and in my opinion, deserves a spot in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame.

6 – Cam Neely – (1983 – 1996)

A native of Comox, Britsh Columbia, Cam Neely is widely regarded as one of the greatest “power-forwards” in NHL history. In fact, Neely was essentially the first player to be referred to as a power forward in the league and it is genuinely the only proper description of his playstyle. Neely began his NHL career with his home province team of the Vancouver Canucks but only played three seasons before being traded to the Bruins in 1986.

From then, Neely went on to play 525 regular-season games across ten seasons with the Boston Bruins scoring a total of 344 goals and 246 assists for 590 points in the Spoked-B sweater. Neely led the Bruins in goals for seven of those ten campaigns with the help of three 50-goal years (1989-90, 1990-91, 1993-94). Cam’s 55 goals in the ’93/’94 season is still the Bruins’ record for most goals by a winger in a single season and he is the leading playoff goal-scorer in franchise history with 55 goals in 86 postseason contests.

Cam Neely was named an All-Star on four occasions and won the Masterton Trophy in 1993-94 for dedication to the sport of hockey after he scored an incredible 50 goals in only 44 games played after missing a large majority of the previous two seasons due to hip, knee, and thigh injuries. Only Wayne Gretzky has scored 50 goals in fewer games in a single season – showing how dangerous of a threat Cam Neely was offensively.

Unfortunately, injuries forced Neely to retire from playing in 1996 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in 2005 – one year after his #8 was retired by the Boston Bruins franchise. Cam Neely ended his career with 395 goals, 299 assists, and 694 points in 726 games along with 55-32-87 numbers in 86 playoff games. Today, Cam is the President of the Boston Bruins.

That does it for players ten through six on my list of the Top Ten Greatest Canadian Boston Bruins of All-Time! For the remaining players on this list, make sure to check out blackngoldhockey.com as it will be released on July 1st as well.

Information and Statistics courtesy of hockey-reference.com, nhl.com Bruins honored numbers, quanthockey.com, originalhockeyhalloffame.com, and the hhof.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!

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Former Bruin Jarome Iginla To Be Inducted Into Hockey Hall Of Fame

Jarome Iginla is fighting for that first goal.
( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Former Boston Bruin (and more prominently Calgary Flame) Jarome Iginla has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 20-year veteran was able to make it into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Originally drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars, Iginla was traded to the Calgary Flames before stepping on the ice with Dallas. Up north, he started his career off with a bang, finishing second in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting his rookie season. Everything after that cemented the Edmonton, Alberta native in hockey history. 

Iginla finished his career with 1,300 points on the dot. He was the league’s top power forward for years, he won scoring titles, he captured gold in the Olympics, but he never got to touch the Stanley Cup. The big righty was inches away from winning it all with the Flames in 2004, but controversy aside, the Flames met their match against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the finals. 

After 17 years of wearing the Calgary C on his sweater, Iginla’s time came with the Flames to an end in 2013, and he almost got dealt to Boston at the trade deadline. But instead, the veteran went to Pittsburgh. He played very well with the Penguins but was ultimately kicked out of the playoffs by the aforementioned Boston Bruins. 

Are The Boston Bruins And Jarome Iginla Still A Good Fit For Each ...
(Photo Credit: Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Iginla gave the “if you can’t beat em, join em,” saying a try, and took his talents to Boston in the following free agency. Iginla was great with the Bs, he delivered throughout the entire season and into the playoffs. The then 36-year-old reached the back of the net 30 times and notched 31 assists in the regular season. But as you all know, Iggy and the Bruins were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens, and unfortunately, that was the last Iginla saw of the playoffs. The greatest to ever wear #12 bookended his career with a few seasons in Colorado and a stint with the LA Kings, ultimately hanging up his skates in 2017. 

As someone who we all would’ve loved to have seen spend more time in Boston, it’s great to see Iginla get the recognition he deserves. He will be the fourth black player inducted following Grant Fuhr, Angela Williams, and of course, Willie O-Ree. Congrats to Jarome on the incredible career and achievement!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 183 that we recorded below on 6-14-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Former Bruins Player Bronco Horvath Passes At The Age Of 89

( Photo Credit: imageshack.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Bruins organization lost a member of its family today with the announcement of the passing of 89-year-old Bronco Horvath from the official Boston Bruins Alumni Twitter Account. Horvath a longtime journeyman of the North American professional ranks spent 664 games posting 263-484-747 numbers in the American Hockey League and 434 games in the higher National Hockey League contributing 141-185-326 totals. Bronco played for six franchises in his NHL career.

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Born in Port Colbourne, Ontario Canada, Horvath spent four seasons with the Boston organization from 1957-58 to the 1960-60 campaign. In that short timeframe, he would appear in 227 games posting 103-112-215 numbers with his best season coming in the 1959-60 season where he went 39-41-80 in 68 games played tying Chicago Blackhawks great Bobby Hull for the NHL goal-scoring lead.

Per Wikipedia, Bronco spent the majority of his time playing in Boston alongside NHL Hall of Famer Johnny Bucyk on the “Uke Line” accompanied by the third member of the fierce trio Vic Stasiuk. In 2015 Horvath was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame and joined fellow Bruins legendary defenseman, Eddie Shore (2006 Inductee) and former B’s Head Coach Don Cherry (2019 Inductee) as honorary members.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 158 that we recorded on 12-15-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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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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Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston at Toronto: 11/15/19

tavares-bergeron-leafs-bruins.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (@MapleLeafs on Twitter)

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

On the hands of a devastating 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins are coming in tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs before another game tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in hopes of ending their current four-game losing skid.

For Toronto, they are coming into the game losing each of their last two meetings with a 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders fresh in their mind only two nights ago. Toronto will be without forward Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot due to injuries that will keep them out for the next few weeks. The Leafs are currently out of a playoff spot and will look to rebound here tonight against their biggest rival.

Tonight, the six most-recent inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame will be present in the stands as the NHL celebrates it’s annual Hockey Hall of Fame Game.

Pre-Game Notes:

Arena: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Home: Toronto Maple Leafs (9-7-4)

Away: Boston Bruins (11-3-4)

Last Bruins Result: 5-4 SO loss vs FLA

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 7-2-2 2.16 GAA .926 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 SO loss to FLA

TOR: Frederik Andersen 9-3-3 2.72 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 25 Saves in 5-4 loss to NYI

Bruins Gameday Lineup:

Bruins forwards Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn, Brett Ritchie, Karson Kuhlman, and David Backes are all out with injuries while defensemen Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, and John Moore remain out of the gameday lineup. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Thursday that Brett Ritchie is the only one that has a chance to play tomorrow against the Capitals.

First Period:

Following a great ceremony to honor the Hall of Fame inductees, the two teams get underway. In the opening five minutes or so, the Bruins had the better of the puck possession even though the Leafs took an early lead in the shot department. Just about seven minutes in, Andreas Johnsson manages to get around Charlie McAvoy for a partial breakaway, but Rask makes the pad stop. Less than a minute after, Pastrnak gets a brilliant chance right in front of the net but is robbed by Andersen – we got a game ladies and gentlemen.

Halfway through the opening frame, both teams are going back-and-forth still. The puck seems to be taking bounces and deflections off of bodies on either side of the ice and the physicality is through the roof. Chris Wagner landed a big hit on Trevor Moore in the neutral zone and Trent Frederic has landed numerous hits of his own already. Connor Clifton too:

With about seven minutes left in the period, the Maple Leafs get the best few chances of the game so far with a couple really close shots that were towards an open Bruins net but the shot either missed or was blocked by a Bruin in front. Boston manages to recover and get it out of the zone.

Right after that, Matt Grzelcyk had the puck behind Frederik Andersen and makes a slick pass to Charlie Coyle who was open in that bumper spot that Patrice Bergeron has had success in and buries the game’s first goal, 1-0 Bruins. Great sequence from Boston who dealt with the onslaught of Toronto for a few minutes to bring the play right-back against a tired Leafs line and capitalize, taking some momentum away from the home Toronto crowd.

With 5:51 remaining in the first, the Bruins take the first penalty of the game as David Pastrnak gets sent to the box for two minutes for interference. Toronto needs a tying goal here on the power-play before the buzzer sounds. However, Boston says no to that idea and make a strong kill, back to five-on-five. Leafs fail to get even a single shot on the man-advantage.

3:23 shows on the score clock in the Scotiabank Arena and the Toronto Maple Leafs take their first penalty. Nic Shore gets called on a holding minor. Unlike the Bruins, they struggle to get any momentum at all on the power-play and just looked out of sorts, failing to move the puck around enough and the Maple Leafs successfully kill it off late in this period.

The first period ends after a couple icings by the B’s. Fairly competitive twenty minutes of hockey that sees Boston holding a one-to-nothing lead over Toronto. Solid two-way hockey and much of the same is needed for a full 60-minutes.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 9 TOR: 8

Score: 1-0 Bruins – Goals: Coyle (3) Assists: Grzelcyk (4), Bjork (1)

Second Period:

Again in the opening minutes of the period, the Bruins are showing really good focus and confidence in their game and it has been working out well. Patrice Bergeron has been fantastic on the defensive side of the puck and after each whistle, there seems to be more and more shoving. Tensions are running high as usual with Boston and Toronto.

Toronto is still getting their brief moments of attacks as they have become known for in the past few seasons, but Tuukka Rask has done his job in between the pipes with some big saves. Rask hasn’t been great as of late but looks dialed in thus far.

As Toronto builds momentum, they manage to cycle the puck from behind the Bruins net to Jake Muzzin who one-times it towards the net. Auston Matthews gets his stick on the puck, deflecting it past Tuukka Rask. The on-ice officials reviewed the play for a potential high-stick on the deflection, but after a short review, the goal stands and the Maple Leafs officially ties the game at one.

Boston has a great chance to sway the momentum back to them immediately after the tying marker after a brutal hit by Charlie McAvoy that resulted in a breakaway for Sean Kuraly only moments later. However, Kuraly tries too hard to find a corner on Frederik Andersen and ends up missing the net high and wide.

Later on in the period, Boston gets their second opportunity on a man-advantage when Andreas Johnsson gets caught tripping Charlie McAvoy near the offensive blueline and he goes to the box for two minutes. Boston gets a few really good shots including a great chance for Bergeron off a rebound chance that hits the outside of the post, penalty comes to an end – back to even-strength.

Within the final few minutes of the middle regulation period, Boston makes a few bad turnovers that leads to a wide-open John Tavares with a chance to snipe one past Rask, but he takes a slash from Bergeron that makes him miss the net. Boston to the penalty-kill again. Tuukka Rask made two key saves on a pair of Matthews one-timers, giving Boston the chance to make the kill and they indeed do, five-on-five once again.

Not nearly as good as a period for Boston, but they manage to make it to the intermission tied at one.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 19 TOR: 25

Score: 1-1 – Goals: Matthews (14) Assists: Muzzin (8), Nylander (9)

Third Period:

No time wasted. Boston wins the opening faceoff of the period and they bring it in with Brad Marchand. Marchand takes a wrist shot on net and Andersen leaves a rebound right there for Marchand who shoots it again, this time crossing the goal line and the Bruins take a 2-1 lead eleven seconds into the third period of play.

Boston’s lead does not last long as less than four minutes into the third, the Bruins have a terrible miscommunication in their own zone, resulting in Kasperi Kapanen being all alone and he beats Rask with the shot. This hockey game is tied at two goals apiece with sixteen minutes left to play.

That does not last long either, Charlie Coyle works hard along the end boards behind Andersen, feeding Marchand in the slot. Marchand fakes a wrist shot as he gathers the puck, shoots a shot that’s blocked, but gets his own rebound to bury it again. Three goals in 4:57, Bruins score 1:12 after Toronto’s goal, 3-2 Bruins.

The B’s continue their offensive opportunities shortly after the midway mark of the third period as the first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak gets more than one really good chance to score, but Andersen stops it. Boston is putting a lot of shots towards the net, creating rebounds from the puck hitting either Andersen or the traffic in front of the net.

As the game is winding down, the Leafs are clearly trying for a hail mary play to tie this hockey game. They have iced the puck on numerous occasions in hopes of getting a long-distance pass for an odd-man rush. Boston has done a solid job thus far limiting speed in the neutral zone in the final regulation frame.

With 1:30 left to tick away, captain Zdeno Chara buries the empty-net goal to give Boston a two-goal advantage. Leafs captain John Tavares shatters his stick across the post in frustration and Boston will end their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Shots on Goal: BOS: 34 TOR: 31

Final Score: 4-2 Bruins

Max’s Three Stars:

1st Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 2 Goals (GWG), 7 Shots, 1 Hit, 18:21 TOI

2nd Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 29 Saves, .935 SV%

3rd Star: BOS F Charlie Coyle – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 Shots, 1 Block, 19:13 TOI

Boston is right back at it tomorrow against the Washington Capitals in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins are now 12-3-4 on the season.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 153 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.

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Bruins O’Ree Being Lobbied For Medal

(Photo Credits: The Great Black Heroes)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to those that “have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.” Only eight athletes have ever received that honor, and this year if the NHL has its way, former Bruins player Willie O’Ree will be bestowed the award. It’s been reported that several NHL execs flew into Washington to help garner support in getting O’Ree the consideration.

NHL lobbies for Willie O'Ree to get Congressional Gold Medal(Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Along with the NHL, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) has been lobbying for O’Ree to be considered for the Medal. Scott introduced the legislation to get the former NHLer the recognition. The Senator met with O’Ree recently on Capital Hill and spoke very highly of the “Jackie Robinson of Ice Hockey”:

You were the grandson of slaves from South Carolina…I would like to put the icing on the cake from my perspective that this country continues to evolve in the right direction.

That in a time and date when there’s so much incivility, so much division and polarization, the one thing you represent today is what you represented in 1958, is that in this country, all things are possible…Thank you for being a trailblazer in a sport that I would imagine, even today people are unaware of the significant role that you played in opening the door.”

The high honor comes on the heels  after O’Ree was inducted into the NHL Hall Of Fame for breaking the color barrier in 1958 when he suited up for the Boston Bruins. As chronicled earlier this year, O’Ree has been a prominent figure in the Ice Hockey Community  where he has worked hard to bring the sport to minority and undeserved children. In 1996, O’Ree became the NHL’s first-ever Diversity Ambassador and helped develop the Hockey is for Everyone youth organization.

O’Ree was playing with the Quebec Senior Hockey League with the Quebec Aces when he was called by the Bruins to replace an injured player. Little did he realize that he would be crossing the color-lines when he played the against the Montreal Canadiens on January 18th, 1958.  

“To me, I didn’t know I was breaking the color barrier until the next morning when I read it in the paper.”

(Photo Credits: Postmedia Network)

And to add more to this significant moment, O’Ree lost 95 percent of his vision in his right eye due being hit in eye by a puck and had the Boston Bruins known this, there might have been a chance he never would’ve gotten the call:

“I didn’t let that stop me. Back then, they didn’t have physicals like the ones given today. I could still see out of my left eye. I wanted to play and I did what I had to do to compensate for the injury…Being a left-handed shot and playing left wing to compensate, I had to turn my head all the way around to the right and look over my right shoulder to pick the puck up.”

O’Ree has received many awards in his time including being inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, the recipient of the Lester Patrick Award (given annually for hockey service in the Unites States)  and was honored in 2008 with the naming of the Willie O’Ree Place at the Fredericton Arena in New Brunswick.

Little did he know the impact he would have for future black players in the NHL and the path he laid down.  In a touching tribute,  former Flyers now Devils player Wayne Simmonds wrote of the impact O’Ree had on him as a child and credits him with achieving his dreams of playing in the NHL:

“…none of it ever would’ve happened without Mr O’Ree opening the door-not just for me, but for every black hockey player with a dream…For every single kid who was ever told to ‘stick to basketball’, Willie was like the first man on the moon.”

And despite enduring the racial insults, threats and fights, O’Ree kept going:

“I’m not going to leave the league because there’s somebody there that feels that he wants to agitate me and get me out of the game”

(Photo Credits: Stephen MacGillivray / The Canadian Press)

The young 83-year-old NHL legend has a good chance at winning one of the highest honors given to a civilian and O’Ree could be none the happier:

“It would rank right at the top, the highest award probably that I’ve ever get as far as my lifetime. I’m thrilled and if it happens, I’d be very honored to come back and receive this award.”

Willie O’Ree, Bruins Legend, Inducted Into HHOF

Related image(Photo Credit: HHOF)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo Credits: HHOF)

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