Boston Bruins: A Stanley Cup “Runner Up” History

Image result for bruins blues handshake line(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

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

When you look up and see the half-dozen Stanley Cup banners hanging high above the TD Garden ice, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride, admiration and accomplishment for the Boston Bruins. “An Original Six got six,” as my late grandfather belovedly bellowed after watching Zdeno Chara celebrate like a champion in 2011.

Image result for td garden banners bruins(Photo Credit: TD Garden)

But, there are some other banners that, if you pay them close attention, aren’t really as celebratory, or dare I say champion, as they seem. That’s because they reflect all the times the B’s have fallen short of hockey’s ultimate quest.

Some are marked by the Prince of Wales Trophy designation (for winning the Eastern Conference)… others the old Adams Division… even a few for the woefully unreliable Presidents’ Trophy acknowledgement.

What they all share in common is a familiar heartbreak for hockey fans in the Hub. One that began in 1927 at the hands of the original Ottawa Senators and was most recently relived courtesy of the cutthroat St. Louis Blues this past June of 2019.

In the 92 years in between, there were twelve other occasions where the B’s — from Brown N’ Gold to Black N’ Gold (with some honey and/or yellow mustards thrown in for forgettable measure) — played runners-up to the Cup.

That’s a lackluster record of six and fourteen. Or, typed out in a style that’s hard to miss, 6 – 14. That’s right, only 6 Ws compared to 14 Ls, all when competing for Lord Stanley’s coveted silver chalice.

And for some oddly annoying and historically humdrum reason, they seam to happen in spurts of two, all within a few short years of each other (or in modern-day terminology — during the same winning window). “Two” wit:

BOSTON BRUINS – STANLEY CUP LOSER STREAKS:

1927 & 1930 / Ottawa & Montreal

1943 & 1946 / Detroit & Montreal

*1957 & 1958 / Montreal & Montreal

*1977 & 1978 / Montreal & Montreal

1988 & 1990 / Edmonton & Edmonton

2013 & 2019 / Chicago & St. Louis

*Also lost in 1953 (Montreal) and 1974 (Philadelphia)

As you can see from above, even the outlier losing years were awfully close to the runners-up sequencing. Even hockey insiders like “Joey Mac” from The Athletic Boston have a hard time not noticing these unfortunate oh-so-close-to-glory trends.

Speaking of things not to glorify (a certain similar-sounding serendipitous song from St. Louis being one of them), McDonald’s article also points out the uphill battle the B’s now face in order to bounce back from a Stanley Cup-losing season.

As he mentions, no team in the modern-day NHL — a term we all keep going back to for six original reasons — has ever won the year after they’ve lost in a Game 7 final. Not even powerhouse teams of their respective eras like the Blackhawks, Devils & Red Wings.

Call it a hangover… call it depression… call it flat out not being as good (or as lucky) the following season, but history sure doesn’t seem to line up on the side of the B’s lineup in 2019-2020. But, maybe that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for Boston.

Maybe that’s exactly the kind of motivation this very talented team needs to get over the Cup hump one more time in the Chara/Bergeron Era. I know the aforementioned Mr. McDonald thinks so, and he isn’t even old and on the farm yet.

And considering the Bruins have one of the best farm systems in all of hockey, to steal a term made popular by their crosstown cohorts the Boston Red Sox, there’s a lot to be excited about both now and for future Cup runs in Boston.

Yet, if the Bruins really want their “Cup to runneth over”, especially during an upcoming season filled with plenty of historical harbingers and unsatisfactory stats as outlined above, then what they’ll need more than ever is the ability to forget — something history has made hard to do.

Thankfully (and regrettably at the same time) it’s history everyone wearing the spoked-B, or any “B” for that matter since 1927, has grown accustomed to — from Eddie Shore to Bobby Orr. From Cameron Neely to Donny Sweeney. From Uncle Milt to Tuukka’s guilt. The B’s know losing, especially in heartbreaking ways, whether we want to admit it or not.

So, how’s this for a banner statement: maybe NOT looking up to the TD Garden rafters this year will be what’s best for the B’s. Then, they can truly “look forward” to what every runner-up has ever wanted: an immediate next shot at the Cup!

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 147 that we recorded on 9-30-19 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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Bruins Patrice Bergeron Preparing For Another Career Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

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

In the future, the Boston Bruins will likely be raising the #37 banner into the TD Garden rafters and Patrice Bergeron will go down as one of the greatest players to play in the Spoked-B sweater and one of the greatest defensive forwards in the history of the National Hockey League.Thankfully for us, we are still in the midst of Bergeron’s career and the accolades and milestones will only continue to pile up.

Before we dive into Bergeron’s upcoming 2019-20 campaign, it helps to learn about the beginning stages of the beloved assistant captain. Bergeron was drafted 45th Overall (2nd Round) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada, Bergeron spent his junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Bergeron played the full 2002-03 season with the Titan, putting up an impressive 23-50-73 stat sheet in 70 games including another 15 points in 11 playoff games. After being selected by the Bruins in the NHL Draft, he made his way to the big leagues, where he played in 71 games during the 2003-2004 regular season, scoring 16-23-39 numbers in that span. This was the same year that Bergeron won his World Championship Gold Medal with Canada.

Due to the lockout in the 2004-2005 NHL season, Bergeron played with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League, scoring 61 points in 68 games. The center was also able to play in the Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championship where he would once again win Gold with Canada while winning the MVP of the tournament and scoring the most points (13) out of any other player. Following his first 70-point season for Boston, Bergeron was named assistant captain of the Bruins to start the 2006-2007 campaign.

Patrice was forced to miss the entirety of the 2007-08 season due to a concussion suffered in October of ’07, but came back the following year with 8-31-39 totals in 64 games played. After winning his first of two Olympic Gold Medals with Canada in 2010, Bergeron scored 57 points in 80 games, but added another 20 points in 24 playoff games to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. This win stamped Patrice Bergeron’s name in the “Triple Gold Club” – World Championship Gold, Olympic Gold, and Stanley Cup.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Brian Babineau/Boston Bruins)

In his 15-year career with the Boston Bruins to date, the now 34-year-old Bergeron has 321-492-813 numbers in 1028 career NHL games, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward in the NHL four times (tied with Bob Gainey for most all-time), winning Olympic Gold twice, and having his #37 retired by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

In this past 2018-19 season, Bergeron dealt with some injuries throughout the year, keeping him to only 65 games played, but he managed to hit the 70-point mark for the first time since his concussion twelve seasons ago and he nearly hit 80 points for the first time in his career. According to Hockey Reference, Bergeron recorded 42 takeaways and only 27 giveaways, earning his eighth-straight Selke nomination.

With the official Bruins training camp beginning tomorrow, we turn to the upcoming 2019-2020 NHL season and this one, not anymore than the other years, can be and should be a career-setting season for one of the best. Below are some of the big milestones and accomplishments that can be reached by “Bergy” this year.

  • 500 Career Assists (Current: 492)
  • 850 Career Points (Current: 813)
  • 3rd-Most Games Played as a Bruin (Don Sweeney: 1052) (Current: 1028)
  • 5th-Most Goals as a Bruin (Cam Neely: 344) (Current: 321)
  • 5th-Most Assists as a Bruin (Wayne Cashman: 516) (Current: 492)
  • 5th-Most Points as a Bruin (Bobby Orr: 888) (Current: 813)
  • 4th-Most Even-Strength Goals as a Bruin (Wayne Cashman: 218) (Current: 209)
  • 5th-Most Power-Play Goals as a Bruin (Rick Middleton: 102) (Current: 96)
  • 2nd-Most Shots as a Bruin (Phil Esposito: 3223) (Current: 3047)

From the statistics above, it is clear that for the remainder of history, Patrice Bergeron will be one of the greatest players to play for the Boston Bruins and as his career continues, he will only continue to rise through the rankings of some of the all-time greats.

However, recent news showed that Bergeron may still be dealing with some lingering injuries that have been bothering him for the past few seasons. During the Stanley Cup Finals, it was made clear that Bergeron was dealing with a groin injury that kept him from playing at a full 100-percent. Once the series concluded, the news came out that he would not require off-season surgery, but Bergeron said the pain has lingered during the summer.

“I feel better,” he said. “It’s still lingering a little bit. It’s been there most of the summer, so I got a PRP in July I think and I’m slowly ramping it up on the ice and … I think it’s what we’re trying shoot for is more October rather than this Thursday.” 

If Patrice Bergeron does decide to participate in the Bruins training camp that begins tomorrow, expect him to be limited in what he can do. Regardless, the hope is for Bergeron to have a full season or at least one that does not see much time missed. Bergeron went on to say the following in the same NHL.com article by Matt Kalman.

“It’s been a short summer. I think the best way to go at it is to kind of take it slowly and kind of make sure you get ready for October instead of getting ready for the first day of camp,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s how you kind of build that up and how you’re able to be fully rested or feeling good in January and February and the long stretch. You know I think that’s what you’ve got to aim for.”

Do you think Patrice Bergeron hits any or all of the milestones above? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 144 that we recorded on 9-8-19 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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Bergeron, Krug With Impressive Playoff Points For Bruins

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(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

When you think of perfection, a word that shares both literal & figurative resonance with the B’s top players & top line–led by none other than Patrice Bergeron himself, you think of a number. Well, two numbers now. 100 & 37.

And since hockey, by and large, is a numbers game — especially when lining up a hit between the numbers — it was only fitting that Bergy bested some of Boston’s best ever in a game three performance that completely tilted the ice (and perhaps the series) in the Black N’ Gold’s favor.

But the defacto co-captain of the Bruins wasn’t the only “B” buzzing around the rink and score sheet in St. Louis. Enter MSU alum and power play specialist Torey Krug to the conversation, whose big night from the blue line rivaled that of Bergy.

In fact, Krug’s quatro-point performance propelled him into unparalleled Boston Bruins hockey history. He became the first EVER B’s defenseman (aka defenceman) to record four points in a Stanley Cup Finals game. That’s right… Shore never did it. Orr never did it. Bourque never did it. Big Z never did it. But, No. 47 did!

And if that wasn’t impressive enough… Krug also entered into elite National Hockey League playoff history with his puck-perfect performance–one that definitely gave the hard-hitting and oft-whining opposing team the Blues (cue “Roll Over Beethoven” from Chuck Barry, not Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” for this).

What a nice problem for the Bruins and B’s fans to have after a decisive 7-2 victory, right? Two of their most important & pivotal players each reaching milestones in the SCF! And at the most timely of times to regain home ice and also give a struggling perfection line and top PP unit a big boost of confidence moving forward. Will the numbers continue to trend in this direction? Most likely not at such a historic pace, but even if the B’s received half of what we saw in game three, then the odds are looking good for going back to Boston with a chance to win it all. And all thanks to the inspired scoring and point production of Patrice & Torey — oh, what a story!

Image result for krug bergeron stanley cup(Photo Credit: Hockey News)

Now, wouldn’t that be perfect?

Another Day, Another Milestone: Patrice Bergeron Plays His 1000th Game

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photo credit: Sportsnet

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

There’s a quiet grace about Patrice Bergeron that makes people forget exactly how good a player he is, and it’s unbelievable how long he’s been an important fixture in the Bruins’ lineup. One of the best players in the world, Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club (World Junior Championship, Olympics, and Stanley Cup), and a four-time Selke Trophy winner, as the National Hockey League’s best defensive forward. This is a player who is so consistently effective night in and night out, that the only reason any of the milestones he’s achieved as a Bruin have been remotely surprising is because it’s so easy to forget he’s been with the team for 15 years. Tonight, he will play in his one thousandth NHL game – the other 999 have all been with the Boston Bruins, and we should all be grateful for it.

Despite the Bruins’ history as one of the oldest NHL teams, there are only four former Bruins who have played one thousand games in Black and Gold: legendary defenseman Ray Bourque (1518), Johnny “Chief” Bucyk (1436), current GM Don Sweeney (1052), and an important cog in those powerful 1970s teams, Wayne Cashman (1027). Patrice is in good company with those guys, and it shows what an important role he has continually played since arriving in Boston as an 18-year-old. It’s not unreasonable to think that when Bergeron skates off the Garden ice for the final time, he could be second or third on the list.

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photo credit: Mary Beth Meehan / Boston Globe Staff

Bergeron came to Boston after he was selected 45th overall in the second round of the 2003 NHL entry draft – a draft class that is regarded as one of the deepest and most talented to date. He made a good impression almost immediately in Boston, but nobody could possibly have guessed the impact he would have on the organization for years to come. He would soon prove to be the organization’s hardest working prospect, forcing his way onto the Bruins’ roster immediately after being drafted. When he made his NHL debut as an 18-year-old Quebec Major Junior Hockey League alum, Patrice was only a year removed from having been cut from his junior team and was the NHL’s youngest player. Bruins fans didn’t know much about him, but they would be in for a pleasant surprise.

During his rookie season, Patrice mostly played wing on the Bruins’ second line alongside Brian Rolston and Marty Lapointe, who invited the teenage Bergeron to live with him. Bergeron could only speak French when he got to the Hub, and living with Lapointe didn’t help, as his family mainly spoke French at home, so Bergeron had to teach himself English over the next couple of seasons. Language skills be damned, Patrice was successful skating alongside Lapointe and Rolston, and enjoyed some success on that line, scoring 16 goals and assisting on 23 for a total of 39 points. He finished 8th in Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) voting, which teammate Andrew Raycroft ultimately won after Bergeron missed time due to a groin injury. He was the only 18 year old to receive Calder votes that season.

He played with Michael Nylander and Sergei Samsonov after the trade deadline and in the playoffs, and the trio formed a short-lived but very fun-to-watch line. The Bruins were bounced by the Habs in a very memorable series, and the following season, the NHL did not play. Bergeron headed to Providence to play in the American Hockey League, where he worked on his game and fine-tuned a few things so he’d be even further improved when the NHL returned to action.

It was early in his career that then-Bruins GM Mike O’Connell and company decided that Bergeron was the player to build their team around, rather than Captain Joe Thornton. Patrice had shown unexpected maturity since day one, as well as a team-first attitude – it was never about him – he did whatever his coaches and management asked. He put in even more work than they asked. It was a no brainer that Bergeron should be the future of the organization, as he had the talent and work ethic to set a good example for the rest of the team.

His career hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, however. In the tenth game of the 2007-08 season, Randy Jones of the Flyers hit Bergeron from behind, pushing Bergeron into the boards head-first, knocking him unconscious, breaking his nose, and causing a grade three concussion. Anyone who watched that game can attest to how scary it was when Bergeron went down. Ultimately, he was unable to return until the following season. In December 2008, two months after making his return, Bergeron collided with future Bruin Dennis Seidenberg and suffered another concussion. He didn’t regain his old form until later in 2009.

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photo credit: Elsa / Getty Images

That all feels like ancient history at this point. In 2009, the Bruins acquired well-traveled NHL veteran Mark Recchi, who had won the Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and in Carolina. Recchi was long in the tooth by then, at 41 years old, but was still producing and was considered a smart deadline pickup. Recchi would bring more than scoring to the Bruins, though, as he helped shepherd Bergeron into the leadership role the Bruins had always wanted to see him in.

When asked about Recchi’s influence on him, Bergeron told Joe McDonald of the Athletic:

 I learned to be a better leader with Rex. I never got asked that and I think that was a, I wouldn’t say a “turning point” in my career, because I think I would’ve learned the ropes, but I took a huge step with him helping me out. And that year he came in was the year I was starting to find my game again. I was still dealing with some injuries at that time, and the year before, and I was still young and trying to learn and get better. That year was really one that he showed me how to win. It’s not that I didn’t know that stuff, but more like just trying to help me grow my leadership skills. That was huge off the ice. On the ice, I had great chemistry with him and (Brad Marchand) and that’s when it started for us. That trade, obviously helped the team and we won a Stanley Cup, but for me he was a huge impact.

In response, Recchi told The Athletic about his urging Bergeron to step up and lead his team during a rough game in the 2010-11 season:

He had it in him. There’s no question he had it in him; it was just a matter of getting it out of him. I remember saying to him, “This is your time. This is your team and they need to hear you right now.” He stepped up and never looked back from there. It was awesome to see. He’s a natural leader and he had to get into that comfort zone where he felt he was there. He made it so much fun for me. It was so enjoyable to be around that. I always loved helping young guys, but when you have someone as special as (Bergeron) it makes it even more rewarding every day to play with him, practice with him and get to be around him on a daily basis. It was incredible.

mark-recchi

photo credit: Harry How / Getty Images

There are endless stories about what a class act Bergeron is – they come from former Bruins, current Bruins, opposing players, former teammates – there is no shortage as Patrice Bergeron is everything teams want in a hockey player, on and off the ice. He’s a leader and knows how to interact with teammates, what to say and do, and when to say and do it. He takes team friendly deals. He cares about the community. There is no doubt that Bergeron will be named Captain of the Bruins when Zdeno Chara retires – for the Bruins to even consider doing anything else would be ludicrous.

Need a big goal? Count on Bergeron. A key faceoff win? Patrice is your guy. Need someone to talk his team off the ledge when their backs are against the wall? Again, #37 is your man. He was instrumental in the Bruins’ Stanley Cup win in 2011 and scored the winning goal in Vancouver in game 7. He’s so responsible, you can even trust him with your gardening needs.

There is so much positive to be said for Patrice Bergeron. He is literally the perfect hockey player. He is defensively responsible while offensively gifted (many people forget how skilled he is because he’s so unselfish), and he has managed to get through one hell of an injury history and come out on top. Bergy is a symbol of the right kind of toughness in the NHL – teams covet a player like him, who played through a Stanley Cup Final game with a punctured lung (don’t try that at home, kids). He isn’t afraid to drop the gloves if need be, but you can count his NHL fights on one hand. He has already carved his legend into the history of the Boston Bruins, and while there will undoubtedly be more Bruins milestones to come, Bergeron has already racked them up:

  • 3rd in game-winning goals, all-time (tied with Ray Bourque at 60)
  • 5th in games played (1000)
  • 6th in goals (305) and power play goals (92)
  • 7th in assists (473) and points (778)

Bergeron is right up there with the Bruins we’ve all heard about from our parents, and the ones we watched when we were kids. He is one of the Bruin greats. Think about this: Patrice Bergeron is very likely to eclipse Bobby Orr in points as a Boston Bruin. Crazy, isn’t it? We should enjoy him while we can, as he is a special player, and guys like this only come around once in a blue moon.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch and cheer for Bergeron in these 1,000 games – here’s to 1,000 more!

Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins - Game Three

photo credit: NHL.com

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Bruins Prospects Keyser & Studnicka’s Recent Contributions In The OHL

      ( Photo Credit:  Both Images Above Courtesy Of Aaron Bell / OHL Images )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

A Little History……..

The Oshawa Generals are currently playing in their 56th season since rejoining the Ontario Hockey League in 1962. Per Wikipedia, the organization’s roots go back to the 1937-38 season and continue to 1953 before a fire at their home rink forced to club to take a ten-year leave of absence from the league. The Boston Bruins played a key role in the resurrection of the Generals club and new Oshawa Civic Auditorium construction which opened in 1964.

Again, Per Wikipedia, Bruins President at the time Weston Adams would go on to oversee the construction of the new arena and manage the Oshawa team as a Bruins minor-league affiliate having access to legendary B’s player Bobby Orr. Former Bruins legends Rick Middleton and Terry O’Reilly played for Oshawa in the late 1960s and early 1970s before their NHL careers, and Marc Savard was also a member of the Oshawa club in the early to mid-1990s and had a successful junior career for himself.

Present Day

Jumping ahead to the start of the 2018-19 regular season for the Generals club, things were a bit shaky as seen below from Twitter account Generals Live ( @GeneralsUpdates ) below, the team struggled to start but have really made some noise gathering 14 points in their last 17 games since October 16th. The Gens are now in second place in the Eastern Conference 10 points behind the Ottawa 67’s who are having an outstanding season so far with 42 points in 26 games played.

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Two Boston Bruins prospects currently playing with the Oshawa club are contributing at career-high paces and have been key members to the team’s recent success. Since being returned from their respected Boston Bruins training camps, prospect goaltender Kyle Keyser and forward Jack Studnicka have been pleasant additions to a very sneaky Gens team. Many highly respected analyst that cover the league has mentioned the Generals could be a “dark horse” club that could be head turners this season regardless of their slow start.  Below is a little more insight and my personal opinion from what I’ve seen thus far this year and what’s to be expected in the future from both B’s prospects.

Goaltender Kyle Keyser

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Definitely, one of my favorite goaltending prospects to watch with his agility and athleticism. At 6′-2″ 183-pounds he’s aggressive netminder that is often at the top of his crease commonly cutting down his angles and squaring his body to the puck. Often these days, well in my opinion anyway, goaltenders above his height or equal to play deeper in the net while Keyser plays out relying on his quick lower body reflexes to get where he needs to be laterally. His quickness and reaction time is second to none and with those attributes has acquired an increasingly better-developed glove hand that seems to be getting better year-by-year with his puck tracking ability.

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The 2017-18 season was Keyser’s breakout year as a starter, and with his free agent signing with the Boston Bruins in the fall of 2017 shortly after the Vegas Golden Knights waiver claim of former B’s first-round prospect Malcolm Subban, Kyle has seemingly taken the umbrella of the B’s organization to a whole new level. In the aforementioned breakout year, he went 28-13-2 with a 3.16 goals-against-average, and .904 save percentage which had him ranked ninth overall in the OHL. A solid season nonetheless minus the two concussions he battled during the last season’s campaign which could’ve had major setbacks in his development.

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This year Kyle started the 2018-19 season on the shelf nursing an injury from Bruins training camp but as soon as he was cleared to play his mission has been focused on improving and helping his Generals team all he can as the last line of defense. In 18 games played so far the Coral Springs, Florida native has a 12-3-1 record, a 2.43 GAA and .929 Save% which is ranked third overall in the OHL. Keyser is currently on a five-game winning streak which he tied of a season-high this year and is one win away from tying a career-best six-game winning streak. Kyle has the chance to tie his career-high string of “W’s” tomorrow afternoon when the Generals host the Sarnia Sting from the Tribute Communities Centre when the puck drops at 2pm.

Forward Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland )

Determination is a word that I constantly think about when talking about Jack and the skill set he brings to so many levels of competitive developmental hockey. As a guest media member during the offseason’s development camp to rookie camp and NHL training camp participation, being close to Studnicka in that timeframe has allowed me to get a sense of what type of player he can be while presenting himself in a professional manner. From the Bruins training facility at Warrior Ice Arena Jack’s efforts and drive can be seen up close along with the surrounding voice of reason from supporting members such as Bruins training staff for on and off-ice training sessions during the offseason.

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Having the opportunity to interview Studnicka on several occasions, he’s said he’s here to challenge for an NHL roster spot and will continue to showcase his skills with close up looks from the B’s brass whenever possible. All those attributes were on full display as the team was heavily considering a spot as a third-line center but elected to return him to his junior team in favor of further development. This move back to Oshawa was not a knock against his development moving forward but was a smart idea when looking at his American Hockey League eligibility and the potential of starting his NHL career as close as next year.

Studnicka had a career year last season posting 22-50-72 in 66 games and is already on pace to break those totals this year. After being returned to Oshawa from Bruins camp, he’s appeared in 23 games and has 9-21-30 numbers. He’s currently on a five-game point streak which he can extender to six-games with a tilt tomorrow afternoon against Sarnia. So far this season the highly touted center has only gone pointless five times this season and in his last ten games has 3-9-12 numbers in that timeframe.

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This year Generals Head Coach Greg Walters has used Jack’s skills all over the lineup with him playing a majority of time in the top-six but often as low as the third line when matching up pre-game lineups. Regardless of what line he plays on his speed and the two-way game is impressive to watch. I wish I were close to seeing him play games live, but I’ve been fortunate enough to stream about 60 games since leaving the Draft podium in the summer of 2017. Great 200-foot game and high hockey IQ in tight situations. Big slap shot playing the point on the power-play acting like a quarterback with a man advantage and unreal release in front of the net.

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The 6′-2″ 179-pound forward took his demotion back to his Junior Club as a positive with the mindset that the journey to conquering his life-long goal was not yet over. In an October 1st, 2018, an article from Brain McNair of the DurhamRegion.com website, Studnicka had these things to say below upon his return back to the historic OHL franchise.

“It was awesome, they’re fast, you’ve got to keep up with them,” Studnicka said. “I think of myself as fast, but it really helped me to kind of be fast 24-7 and keep moving because those two are obviously two of the most skilled wingers in the game, but they’re also two of the hardest workers.”

Studnicka on working alongside current Boston Bruins player Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s an older guy, but you wouldn’t know it. He interacts with all the young guys due to his leadership, and it’s something I want to bring back to our room,” he said of Bergeron. “A lot of guys that get caught in my situation are going to hang their head and kind of walk through juniors, but I’m going in with my head held high here and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team succeed.”

Some word from Generals Head Coach Greg Walters on his return back to the league and organization.

“As you can see, his skill set is off the charts,” Walters said after Studnicka’s two-goal, four-point night in Sunday’s home opener against North Bay. “He’s a great leader, a true professional in the way he acts in the dressing room and in practice. We haven’t seen the best of Jack Studnicka yet.”

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Bruins Appreciation: For The Love Of Pasta

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(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

I know, its only been a few games into the season, but don’t tell that to David Pastrnak. Without a skipping a beat, Pastrnak has easily carried over the success he had last season into this year. With his continued aggressive play with the puck, he has now netted seven goals in just five games. And this is just the beginning for the young Czech as he continues to blossom and become the superstar he was born to be. So what exactly makes Pasta special? Let’s break it down in this special ” Pasta” appreciation article.

DIRTY DANGLES

The kid can score. And they’re really pretty. Actually, insane is a good word to describe the many goals he’s scored so far, and they are worthy of the highlight reel. As recent as this past Thursday, Pasta netted what many consider THE goal of the season.

As for being part of the Marchand-Bergeron power trio line, Pastrnak is seemingly growing into his role up front. And he’s only going to get better as he continues to bring his gameplay to another level. Whether or not that line will be shuffled is a subject that many continue to discuss. I will say, I was happy to see that Coach Bruce Cassidy was in no rush to change the MBP line. The 22-year-old winger is on a streak, scoring his 100th goal in today’s game against Detroit and netting his 2nd career hat trick. In a thrashing against the Red Wings, Pastrnak got Boston on board, scoring near the end of the 1st period.

QUICK STATS

It’s no secret that Bergeron and Marchand have great chemistry that has been built over the past eight seasons. Last year though, Cassidy slotted the Czech forward alongside the dynamic duo. Pastrnak quickly and quietly added another boost of star power thus creating one the NHL’s most dangerous and productive line. Pasta wants to score and being on that top forward line is allowing him to do just that. As that first line started to gel, the points started to pour in for Pastrnak.

In the 2017-18 season, Pastrnak was one of the few players that participated in all 82 regular games. He had 35 goals with 45 assists for 80 points, nearly garnering a point each game. At that rate, he’s on pace for 90 points this year (although personally, I’d like to say more like 100 points). In the playoffs last season, Pastrnak ended the run with six points, with 14 assists for 20 points in 12 games.

There’s also that Gretzky record he broke while playing Game 2 against Toronto when he became the youngest player to record six points in an NHL playoff game. It also marked the first time a Bruin had three goals and six points in a playoff game since Phil Esposito in 1969. Safe to say the Bruins front office made out with a steal when they re-signed the winger to a six-year contract for only $40 million after a Don Sweeney bluff. This means he’ll be in his prime while still playing for Boston. Fingers-crossed that if he’s still producing, Boston will show him the money and extend his contract.

SWAG

Fashion. Thy name is Pastrnak. Could it be that he has European flare? Besides scoring crazy goals off the ice, there’s nothing like seeing those wild suits. Whether he dresses for that pre-game or post-game interview, Pastrnak has built quite a reputation for his fashionable tastes and almost always, never disappoints. He’s also giving former Bruins coach Don Cherry a run for his money (if you’d never heard of the famous Cherry suits just do a quick Google search …you won’t be sorry).

(Photo Credits: BLESK.CZ)

Image result for david pastrnak suit

(Photo Credits: WBZ-TV/NHL)

OVERSEAS

Not only is David Pastrnak the unofficial Bruins Ambassador to China, but he is also pretty big in Europe. He’s the only active NHL player with a Chinese endorsement for a sugary milk drink. As the sport of hockey continues to expand in China, Pastrnak has been pretty active there for a while now, running youth clinics with other Bruins players during a global tour in 2017. Pastrnak also spent time back in Sweden (where he started his career) with younger players. You can watch the video here from CNN.

David Pastrnak imparts knowledge upon the youth players at the clinic.

(Photo Credits: Caryn Switaj/Boston Bruins)

ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN

Image result for david pastrnak smile

(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

And lastly, that chipped smile and having the “worst” tape job in the league. It makes Pasta who he is. But as he quickly shows, it doesn’t really matter how you tape your stick. It certainly has not impeded in his scoring abilities (if it worked for Orr, it’ll work for Pasta). When facing the Boston Media, Pastrnak is never one to shy away from answering questions or crack a joke. His enthusiasm for the game is infectious as his positivity that he brings to both practices and games. With his continued success this season, as early as it is, it’s hard not to smile each time he nets a goal (whether it’s pretty or not). Don’t ever change Pasta — Boston likes the way you are.

Boston Bruins To Retire Rick Middleton’s Number On November 29th

rick-middleton-boston-bruins-vintage-image-forward-takes-shot-net-image-b-w-negative-50024004.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (B&W Negative)

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

Officially announced on July 31st, 2018 by the Boston Bruins’ Twitter page, (@NHLBruins), Rick ‘Nifty’ Middleton’s #16 will be retired by the Bruins organization and will join the legends of the franchise in the rafters of the TD Garden.

Middleton played in 881 career regular season games with the Boston Bruins from 1976 to 1988, posting 402-496-898 numbers in that time span. However, before joining the Bruins in the ’76 season, Richard played two seasons with the New York Rangers before being traded to the B’s in exchange for Ken Hodge.

In his time with the Rangers, Middleton did not quite live up to the scoring expectations that were placed on him following his insane scoring statistics in the OHA, scoring 207 points in 115 games. While in the Big Apple, Middleton peaked at fifty points in the 1975-76 campaign, thus causing the trade to the Bruins. (The trade was recently featured in an article published by fellow BNG writer, Liz Rizzo, that discussed the best Bruins trades of all-time.)

For the first two seasons in Boston, Rick Middleton was still considered an average player, scoring 42 and 60 points in the ’76/’77 and ’77/’78 campaigns respectively. It was not until the 1978-1979 season where Middleton truly showed his scoring talent and would lay the foundation for the remainder of his career – finishing the year with 38-48-86 totals.

During the six seasons that would follow, Middleton would score at least thirty goals, including a career-high 51-goal campaign in 1981-82. In that same season, Middleton would take home the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, signifying him as the most gentlemanly player in the league. Two seasons later, Nifty would score the most points in his career, tallying 105 points during the ’83-’84 year.

Rick possessed great skill and threatened most goaltenders – especially in one-on-one scenarios. A former teammate of Middleton, Wayne Cashman, said the following about his time with Middleton in the National Hockey League.

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

Middleton’s career playoff resume is nothing to ignore as well. In 111 playoff games with the Bruins, Middleton scored one-hundred points (45-55-100), including thirty-three points in only seventeen games during the 1982-1983 post-season.

According to Wikipedia.com, Middleton currently holds four records in the NHL history books.

  • Most Points in One Playoff Series (19)
  • Most Assists in One Playoff Series (14)
  • Highest Playoff Point-Per-Game Average in one Post-Season by a Right-Winger (1.94)
  • Highest Playoff Assists-Per-Game Average in one Post-Season by a Right-Winger: (1.29)

Rick Middleton’s #16 will join the likes of Eddie Shore (#2), Lionel Hitchman (#3), Bobby Orr (#4), Dit Clapper (#5), Phil Esposito (#7), Cam Neely (#8), Johnny Bucyk (#9), Milt Schmidt (#15), Terry O’Reilly (#24), and Raymond Bourque (#77) in the TD Garden rafters in a game against the New York Islanders on November 29th, 2018.

Boston Bruins President Cam Neely and CEO Jeremy Jacobs had some words today about the retirement of Middleton’s number.

Congratulations to Richard Middleton on this outstanding honor and the newest retired jersey is well deserved up there in with the other Boston legends.

Top 5 Best Trades In Bruins History

The Big Bad Bruins' explosive trio of the late 1960s and mid-'70s propelled Boston to two Stanley Cups.

( Photo Credits: Frank Lennon / Toronto Star / Getty Images )
By Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter: @pastagrl88

There’s a passion for hockey in Boston and there is an undying loyalty among fans. A loyalty that has more than once been tested when its GM would make some questionable moves. As discussed in last weeks article, we took a look at some of the worst trades made by Bruin’s brass. And with bad trades comes along the great ones that have led to the greatest moments in Boston sports.

In no particular order, here are the top five trades in Bruins history.

1. Grand Theft Chicago

PHOTO CREDITS: (WBUR-BOSTON)

Boston Acquires: Phil Esposito, Fred Stanfield, and Ken Hodge

Chicago Acquires: Jack Norris, Gilles Marotte, and Pit Martin

If there was ever a deal that would start the golden era of ANY sport, this trade would top the list. On May 15th, 1967, “Mr. Bruin” GM Milt Schmidt would strike a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that ushered in the era of “The Big, Bad Bruins.” A phone call from Chicago GM Tommy Ivan would forever change the course of the Bruins franchise.

Schmidt called former GM Hap Emms; he advised against the deal. Emms was responsible for bringing such players Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin, John “Pie” McKenzie, Gerry Cheevers, and Gary Doak to Boston. Next stop, calling Bruins President Weston Adams, Jr who gave the ok to go through the deal.

Esposito had been centering with the Bobby Hull line, averaging 23 goals per season. However “Espo” didn’t quite get along with coach Billy Reay, causing some problems in Chicago. No longer under Hull’s shadow, Esposito flourished in Boston. Most importantly, both himself and Orr complemented each other. Coach Harry Sinden played Espo, Hodge and Ron Murphy on the same line. They steamrolled over opponents and produced a line-scoring record of 263 points. From 1969-1975, Esposito was a First Team All-Star; voted in 1969 and 1974 for the Hart Trophy. He also led the league in scoring in 1969, 1972-1974. And not to mention the two Stanley Cups rings he wears from 1970 and 1972 with Boston.

Image result for ken hodge

( Photo Credits: Getty Images )
Ken Hodge would become the all-time leading scorer in Bruins history for a non-American. The English-born right-winger would post over 40 goals three-time for the Bruins. His totals after playing nine years for Boston: 289 goals, 385 assists with 674 points. Stanfield would play on the second line with John Bucyk and Johnny McKenzie. He was instrumental in helping the Bruins lead in power-play goals from 1969-1972. During the 1970 Stanley Cup finals against the St. Louis Blues, a slap shot from Stanfield would split Jacques Plantes mask in half. In six years, Stanfield would post 135 goals, 274 assists with 409 points.

And yes, Martin did well for Chicago scoring 30 goals three times and had 90 points in the 1973 season. He made the All-Star team four times and was supposed to replace Esposito. He never did reach “Espo” heights.

2. A Nifty Deal For Boston

( Photo Credits: BOSTON BRUINS ALUMNI )

Boston Acquires: Rick Middleton

New York Acquires: Ken Hodge

The then 32-year-old Hodge put a stamp in Bruins lore. The 23-year-old Middleton was a fast, young exciting player. And for Hodge, he missed Esposito (more on that later on the list). For as many goals Hodge would score with the Bruins, his gameplay would also become unpredictable. His off-ice antics were also a bit legendary. During the 1973 playoffs against the Rangers, Esposito got hurt. Hodge and fellow teammates visited their injured teammate, wheeled him out of his room, broke some swinging doors and ventured out to a nearby pizza parlor. The hospital would bill the team for the damages.

Hodge would anger his coaches and his close relationship with the owner wouldn’t sit too well Coach Harry Sinden (who clashed with the owner). When Sinden left, Hodge would have a huge fallout with new coach Don Cherry. With Esposito in New York, the Rangers knew they would need another big body next to Esposito. Ranger GM John Ferguson felt the Rangers had enough young players, thus sending Middleton to the Bruins. For the young 23-year-old, in Boston, he would join former teammates, Brad Park and Jean Ratelle.

“Nifty” Middleton was put everywhere on the ice by coach Don Cherry. In 1979-1980, Middleton had 92 points, 40 goals, and 52 assists. His best season came in 1983 when he posted 105 points. That season he was ranked as the NHL’s top forwards.

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

For coach Don Cherry, he had become a mentor to Middleton.

( Photo Credits: Frank O’Brien / Boston Globe Staff )

“Don changed my whole philosophy about hockey. I became a complete player because of Don…Grapes (Cherry) taught me how to be in the right position so I wouldn’t waste any steps.”

His accuracy with the puck became fodder amongst those that played against him, particularly goaltenders. For some like Rogie Vachon, (former Bruins goaltender) it was hard to read a player like Middleton.

“When I faced him, I knew that I couldn’t stay in the crease. He was so quick and never panicked. It was very tough for a goaltender to outguess him.”

3. New York Minute Steal

( Photo Credits: The Hockey Fanatic )

Boston Acquires: Brad Park, Jean Ratelle and Joe Zanussi

New York Acquires: Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais

So before the die-hards come out to dispel this as a great trade, yes Ratelle did play more hockey for the Rangers than he did for the Bruins. But for a player to skate in the footsteps of someone like Phil Esposito, he got the job done. And he did it without any drama or fuss. Ratelle quickly won the hearts of Bostonians. Coach Don Cherry would say Ratelle would be “the most perfect man to play my system.”
He would become the quintessential player and a man who everyone wanted to be. According to team-mate Wayne Cashman, Ratelle was “able to maintain such peace in his life. He wasted no time being a jerk…He was totally devoted to his family and that’s all he needed to be happy.”
What makes this trade even sweeter is the fact Ratelle out-pointed Esposito. In the 1975-1967 season, Ratelle outscored Espo by 23 points. In the following season, again he outpointed Espo by 14 points. Over six seasons in the NHL, he was 46 points ahead of Esposito. Even as he reached the ripe old age of 39, he would continue to play like a 25-year-old. New York had lost out in exploiting Ratelle’s talent and the Bruins reaped the benefits.

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )Brad Park would go on to become one the league’s premier defenseman. Prior to being shipped to Boston, the New York press didn’t exactly have the kindest words for Park, suggesting that at 27-years-old, he was over the hill and overweight. Boston quickly embraced “Parko” and he put up some impressive numbers. In the 1975-1976 season, Park played 43 games with 53 points. For a moment, Park would play alongside Orr, however, a knee injury would force him (Orr) off the ice. There was also the trauma of Orr leaving for Chicago the following season. Luckily it was somewhat eased with Park’s return (he had also battled a knee injury). Throughout the seventies, Park was voted to the First All-Star Team; he made the Second Team in 1971 and 1973.

4. In Ray We Trust

( Photo Credits: STEVE BABINEAU/GETTY IMAGES )

Boston Acquires: 1979 First-Round Draft Pick (Raymond Bourque)

Los Angeles Acquires: Ron Grahame

For the LA Kings, Goaltender Ron Grahame didn’t exactly wow his new team. In just 66 games played for Los Angeles, he had a losing record. He never finished a season with a GAA under 4.19. For Boston, Bourque would become the ultimate Bruin. With speed and agility, Bourque would often be compared to another great defenseman: Bobby Orr. He would don the spoke B jersey for 20 years.

Bourque played a total of 1,518 games, with 395 goals, 1111 assists with 1506 points. He has won the Calder Trophy (1980), King Clancy Trophy (1992), Norris Trophy (1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994), Lester Patrick Trophy (2003) and be inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2004.

Even though Bourque didn’t win the Stanley Cup in Boston, he remains a fixture for the Black and Gold.

5. The Syrup Runs Thin

Image result for tuukka rask

( Photo Credits: SERGEI BELSKI-USA TODAY SPORT )
Boston Acquires: Tuukka Rask

Toronto Acquires: Andrew Raycroft
In what is dubbed one of the “Worst Trades in Maple Leaf History”, Toronto traded the rights to an 18-year-old Finnish player by the name of Tuukka Rask for a goalie that had struggled in his second campaign with Boston. Prior to the NHL lockout in the 2004-2005 season, Raycroft would post a 29-18-9 record, a 2.05 GAA, and .926 save percentage with three shutouts. He struggled in Boston during the 2005-2006 season. He had only eight wins and was demoted to a third-string position. For Toronto, he finished 49th in GAA and 56th in save percentage. The Leafs would place him on waivers in 2008.
18-year-old Rask had to finish goaltending school in Finland. He would watch and learn from veteran goalie Tim Thomas. Rask would continue to grow and when Thomas left Boston, he went from backup to starter. In 2014, Rask won the Vezina Trophy.
And while there is no shortage of “Rask” haters in Boston, goalies take time to develop and will undoubtedly have off days. Rask, for his part, has more than once kept the Bruins in the game, as evident in this past Stanley Cup run. After a rough start and getting a bolster from former teammate Anton Khudobin, Rask had an impressive 2017-2018 season. He would have a 21-game point streak, ending the season with a 34-14-5 record with a 2.36 GAA and .917 save percentage.

A Little Side Note of Mention

In my last article, the Joe Thornton Deal (which is still a pretty crappy trade) is worth mentioning again. I debated on whether or not to list this as a “the dominoes fell in the right place so this terrible trade actually helped the Bruins in the end” best trade in history. In a twisted way, the Thornton deal was actually a good one. Before the hockey gods strike me down, let me tell you why this was a blessing in disguise: Patrice Bergeron. Zdeno Chara. Marc Savard.

When GM Mike O’Connell traded away Thornton in an effort to rebuild, it left enough salary-cap flexibility that was later used in signing free agent Zdeno Chara (probably one of the best free agent signings ever) and Marc Savard. O’Connell felt Thornton was the not the player to build the team around and more of a “post-season under-achiever.” Whether that’s a fair analysis will be up for debate by hockey enthusiasts.

Enter Patrice Bergeron, one of the most well-respected players in the NHL. At 20-years-old, the Bruins saw him as a potential leader both on and off the ice. If Thornton hadn’t been sent packing to San Jose, we may not have seen the potential of Bergeron. And don’t forget, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 without Thornton. As for Chara and Savard, there’s no argument the impact they have made in Boston. unfortunately, Savard’s career was cut short due to injury and at 41-years-old, Chara still defies mother nature and continues to put up monster time on ice.

In a list that will be up for debate, Bruins fans, who would be in your Top 5?

Happy World Emoji Day, Bruins Fans!

(Photo Credits: Evan Michael)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

In honor of today’s date on the calendar being the actual calendar date in your phone or computer’s “emoji” list (you know, those goofy little faces, figures & icons that have taken the place of meaningful words, phrases and communication tools), I present to you one of the most iconic and memorable plays in all of hockey history, let alone Boston Bruins history, and perhaps even broadcasting history:

🚣‍♂️↩️🥅⛸🚣‍♂️🚨🏒🐻🏆

Can you guess which historic moment this is? Do you need a few hints? Ok, here are a few more in, you guessed it, emoji form:

The 🗣who 🎙 the game on 📻&📺worked for the 🎶’s!

Any luck yet? How about if I told you that it produced one of the single-most recognizable images in all of sports — one that hangs proudly in Boston dens, offices, living rooms, man caves, bars and even the Hockey Hall of Fame!  Would this help:

The 🖼was memorably 📸’d while 🚣‍♂️was in mid-💨‼

Without further ado, on #WorldEmojiDay, here is the legendary clip called by the great Dan Kelly, which will forever be remembered by Bruins fans, hockey fans, and all fans of sporting entertainment, long after the “emoji” days have passed.

After (H)all, some ICONS will stand the test of time more than others😉.

IMG_7701

(Photo Credit: Evan Michael, Bobby Orr & Ray Lussier)

Happy Fourth (Line) of July Bruins Fans!

Bruins Fourth of July(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

First and foremost, I fancy you’ll have a fun, fireworks-filled, festive Fourth with family and friends! Furthermore, I’m faithful the Bruins will soon have a fan-followed, fast-functioning 4th line of fresh faces all with fundamental hockey facets! And with those hectic few days of “free agent frenzy” now finally finished, it looks like the aforementioned figures will indeed be finely featured for 2018-2019.

Alliteration aside, here’s why speculating about the Bruins 4th line this year will be fun: the guys that could replace the likes of NASH & SCHALLER are named NORDSTROM & WAGNER.  Sure, their on-ice talents might not equal that of the recently departed, but those are certainly strong surnames. George Carlin would be proud & impressed (especially if pronounced with a Boston accent). When was the last time you messed with a WAGS or NORDS? That’s right, didn’t think so.

(Photo Credit: AP Photos)

And that brings me to my next (Marty La)point(e). Man, have the B’s had some historically awesome surnames and nicknames for their “fourth liners” or “grinders” or “energy guys,” however, you’d like to describe them.  And I’m not talking about the famous MERLOT line that just like the vintage vino, lingered long after it hit you. Or the more recent Cardiac Kids / Mid-Life Crisis line that fellow writer Jacob Albrecht aka @bruinsfan3725 referenced when we were reminiscing. I’m referring to the other solid Stanley Cup-winning or runner-up seasons for the Bruins, going all the way back to their first championship during the inaugural month of the Hoover administration (now there’s a sucky surname). To wit:

1929: Who’d want to tussle with the likes of MICKEY MaCKAY (could’ve also been a mobster), RED GREEN (two colors for your moniker–I’m turning yellow just thinking about it), or CY DENNENY (you can’t even say it without sounding like you’ve been clocked)?  Sure, there wasn’t technically a “4th line” back in these days–or the many years that followed–but when these guys jumped the boards, you felt it. And so did the opposing team.

1929_playoff_bruins

(Photo Credit: Stanley Cup of Chowder)

Let’s fast forward a decade and now deal with a perfectly-fitting–and timely–hockey nickname. Well, at least until a certain Jean-Claude Van Damme movie came out and literally iced that notion.

1939 (and also parts of 1941): Mel “SUDDEN DEATH” Hill! Yup, there was a B’s hockey player known as Sudden Death because of his you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-that-guy-scored heroics in the playoffs that year (3 OT winners… in one series!!!).  Not even the above production’s epic all-star goalie Brad “Get Back in the Crease!” Tolliver could’ve stopped this version of “Sudden Death.”**

(**At one point in the near future, there will be a blog post solely focused on the ridiculousness of this movie and how they actually used real players, teams, jerseys, broadcasters, ESPN graphics, music themes, etc. all in an effort to get fans back into hockey post two very recent lockouts. Or so the scuttlebutt goes.)

Now let’s look at some names on two Boston teams that almost won the Cup in ’88 and ’90, respectively.  Sorry to skip the famous Bobby Orr years but I’m positive Mssrs. Marcotte, Sanderson & Carleton will forgive me.

1988 (and also parts of 1990): If you walked into a Bruins bar during the waning days of the Reagan administration and heard people talking about LYNDON “LB” BYERS or MOE LeMAY, you already knew what the conversation was about.  In fact, you probably had a good chance of making a few bucks off a tipsy patron if you asked: “Who do ya got tonight in the BYERS vs. LeMAY fight?” These gritty grinders personified pugilism but also puck-sense, nearly helping the B’s fight off the Oil.  Sadly, just like in a prize fight, Edmonton literally and figuratively knocked the lights out of the Bruins in four games (well, 4.5 games technically).

And that brings us back to today, since we’ve already opened up about the MERLOT line of the 2011 and 2013 seasons, and tipped our cap to last year’s talented troupe. So, who will join the ranks of Bruins fourth line lore as we gear up for what will undoubtedly be a very challenging and competitive 2018-2019 campaign? Will the defensive punch of ACCIARI pair well with the gritty goal-scoring of KURALY again? Will WAGS & NORDS play a pivotal role off the bench? Will some of the young guns get fired up and challenge for a spot or two? Your guess is as good as mine, right now.

But no matter the player, the name or the nickname, anyone playing on the 4th line / the energy line / the grinding line this season, should hearken back to the days of yore, Orr and yesteryear and learn from the most successful of their predecessors.  Because the name of the game in today’s NHL is all about speed, skill, fight & finish — and the best 4th lines have them all.

I’m confident the Black N Gold will remember this fact as we celebrate the Red, White & Blue this Summer. Happy Fourth (Line) of July, Bruins Nation!