Bruins & Canes Share A “Whale” Of A Playoff History!

Image result for bruins canes whalers(Photo Credit: WGME)

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

Call them the Canes. Call them the Whalers. Call them the Jerks! But, whatever you do, don’t call them inexperienced when it comes to battling the B’s in pivotal playoff match-ups. Hartford-turned-Carolina and Boston have had a healthy history of clashing for the Cup (even regional recognition if you want to really surge up a storm). Let’s take a look back at all the times these two talented teams have met up in the postseason aka the NHL’s most exciting season:

Bruins vs Whalers: 1990

 

Almost ten years after the Hartford Whalers officially became an NHL franchise in 1979 (they were originally the New England Whalers of the defunct WHA), the team finally met the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs — or as it was called at the time the Adams Division Semifinals. The series went the distance with the Bruins overcoming what could have been a devastating 3OT game six loss to emerge victorious in game seven. Craig Janney scored what would become the series-clinching GWG in a 3-1 win, with Andy Moog outdueling the inimitable Peter “El Sid” Sidorkiewicz in net.

Image result for bruins whalers 1990(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Bruins vs Whalers: 1991

 

In a rematch of the 1990 Adams Division Semifinal, the B’s and Whalers again played a hard-fought series. This time, the Bruins’ offense proved just too much to handle for Hartford with the Black N’Gold taking down the White, Green N’Blue in six games. Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Craig Janney led the way for Boston while Andy Moog proved to be the ultimate puckstopper again between the pipes. These two meetings really showcased how the Bruins’ best players, when playing at their best, could change the course of a game and a series — exactly what will need to happen NOW for Boston to continue its playoff success.

Image result for bruins whalers 1991(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 1999

 

When the franchises met for the third time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a lot had changed: Hartford had moved to Carolina and became the Hurricanes (the team was playing in Greensboro then before moving to Raleigh); and the NHL had changed its division & conference structure, as well as playoff seeding, so the number three ranked Canes who won the Southeast Division wound up playing the sixth-seeded Bruins from the Northeast Division in the Conference Quarterfinals aka Round One.

Image result for bruins hurricanes 1999The B’s dispatched Carolina in six games with none being as memorable as the 2OT game five affair. Anson Carter scored the game-winner on a beautiful feed from Jumbo Joe Thornton after the B’s rallied from two down in the third period (see above).

Boston would close it out at home (another change as it was The FleetCenter in ’99) for the third consecutive playoff series win between their once-local now coastal rivals.

(Photo Credit: Ebay)

Hurricanes vs Bruins: 2009

 

It’s been exactly a decade since the B’s and Canes last faced off in puckdom’s perennial postseason. And it was a painful one so apologies for the ’09 reminder. Coming off a near President’s Trophy-winning season with 116 points and a Northeast Division Championship, the B’s made quick work of the hated Habs in Round One before moving on to face Carolina in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Canes had narrowly defeated the New Jersey Devils in seven games so the match-up heavily favored Boston. It showed in game one but it was all Carolina after that. With the B’s facing a 3-1 series deficit, they routed the Canes at home (now TD Banknorth Garden) before winning game six on the road. That set up a winner-take-all game seven back on home ice before a raucous Gahhhhden crowd (I remember it well). The B’s were trailing 2-1 in the third when old friend Milan Lucic tied things up and sent the game to OT. But that’s when the flukiest of Carolina players scored the flukiest of goals — Scott Walker’s whiffer off a rolling rebound that eluded a tired Tim Thomas — to send the Canes onto the ECF. This was their first playoff series win against Boston in franchise history… and it still stings today!

Image result for bruins hurricanes 2009(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

Bruins vs Hurricanes: 2019

As I alluded to earlier, in order for the B’s to best the Canes and continue their winning ways this year, their best players — namely Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Pastrnak & Rask — will need to keep the momentum going from the Columbus series and produce, produce, produce. If there’s one thing the 2019 Carolina Hurricanes / Hartford Whalers are good at, it’s playing UP to their opponent and, as we’ve seen from recent playoff history, better than their opponent (to wit: the defending Cup Champ Capitals and the energetic Islanders of Brooklyn). BN’G colleague @tkdmaxbjj will have more on what this series could mean for both teams right here so check back in with your Black N’ Gold squad soon — after all, it’s #InOurBlood!

*Bonus B’s/Canes History:

Image result for bruins whalers(Photo Credit: Canes Country)

There are some moments in hockey that even if they’re not from the playoffs, they still belong in a team’s shared history/story together. These are a few of those unforgettable moments!

The Boston Brawl of ’90

Don’t mess with Cam Neely. Or Craig Janney. Or Glen Wesley. Or Chris Nilan. Or Jim Wiemer. Or Lyndon “off the bench” Byers for that matter (yes, stay watching until that moment — don’t let Byers pass you by, dare I say).

The Czerkawski Crosscheck of ’96

Much the same way Bobby Orr got trailblazed after scoring (although this incident was not on nearly as grand or momentous of a stage), one time B’s legend Marius Czerkawski got Czer-cross-checked after his timely tally back in ’96. The B’s didn’t have a lot to fight for during those years so at least they stuck up for each other when the Whale wanted to wallop!

The Shorty Shellacking of ’10

 

I don’t think this will ever happen again in the NHL. And man oh man was it a pleasure to watch (especially after what had happened the year previous): three shorthanded goals in just over a minute on the same Hurricanes powerplay. Talk about being swept away!

Feel free to let us know what YOUR favorite Bruins/Canes/Whalers memories are by commenting below or sharing on social media using the #BruinsFam hashtag!

Fanatics Authentic Line Of Boston Bruins Hand Signed Memorabilia

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

If you’re a diehard Boston Bruins fan and either want to start a personal fan cave or already have a shrine that you’d like to add to, please take a look at the fantastic officially licensed items below from the National Hockey League. All items to come with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic.

If you’d like to find other Bruins related items or fan memorabilia from other major sports such as the NBA, MLB, NFL, Nascar, NCAA, and other NHL teams, please click the official Fanatics Banner to the right of our website. All purchases through our connected links from our partnership with the Fanatics company are commission based without any extra charges to the customer. We are simply a middle person looking for alternative ways to cut our Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast and affiliated blackngoldhockey.com which is being viewed now. We thank all who’ve used our connected links in the past and continue to do so. We enjoy what we do and can’t do it without the overwhelming support from our listeners and readers.

Fanatics Shopper Quick Links: Boston Bruins  |  Red Sox  |  Celtics  |  Patriots |  NBA  | MLB  |  NFL  |  Nascar  |  NHL 

(Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating Vertical Photograph – $79.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating Horizontal Photograph – $79.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 8″ x 10″ Raising Cup Photograph – $79.99

This 8″ x 10″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 8″ x 10″ White Jersey Horizontal Skating Photograph – $79.99

This 8″ x 10″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Raising Cup Photograph – $89.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Mini Stick with “HOF 2005” Inscription – $149.99

This mini stick has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely with the inscription “HOF 2005.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Vintage Goalie Stick With HOF 85 Inscription – $119.99

This stick has been personally hand-signed by Gerry Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Bobby Orr Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Logo Hockey Puck – $189.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Bobby Orr. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Logo Puck With HOF 85 Inscription – $44.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Gary Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Phil Esposito Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 90th Anniversary Logo Puck – $69.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Phil Esposito. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2017-18 SP Authentic #18 Card – $49.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey #13 Card – $39.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2011 Stanley Cup Champions Logo Hockey Puck – $79.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Gerry Cheevers Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Mini Goalie Mask with “HOF 85” Inscription – $69.99

This goalie mask has been personally hand-signed by Gerry Cheevers with the inscription “HOF 85.” It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Black Mitchell & Ness Jersey – $499.99

This jersey has been personally hand-signed by Cam Neely. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 2018-19 Upper Deck Series One Hockey #17 Card – $19.99

This highly collectible trading card has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. The card is then encapsulated in a tamper proof acrylic case which also includes an ID tag and hologram to guarantee the authenticity of the item. This will make a great addition to the collection of any true sports fan. Please note that autographs may vary.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Deluxe Tall Hockey Puck Case – $99.99

This puck has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. Each case is made of 1/8” thick acrylic and features a black acrylic base. It has a clear acrylic removable lid engraved with the team logo and a collage of images. This product is officially licensed by the National Hockey League. The display case measures 10” x 5” x 5.5.”

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Deluxe Framed Autographed 16″ x 20″ Black Jersey Shooting Photograph – $249.99

This 16” x 20” photograph has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. It measures 26.5” x 27.5” and comes ready to hang in any home or office.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Deluxe Framed Autographed Black Adidas Authentic Jersey – $637.49

This jersey has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. Each framed jersey comes double matted in a black wood fame, has two photos, and has two engraved team logos. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud. It measures 36” x 44” x 2” and comes ready to hang in your home or office.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Goal vs. Winnipeg Jets Photograph – $59.99

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed Official Game Puck – $59.99

This hockey puck has been personally hand-signed by David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Goal Celebration Photograph – $52.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Charlie McAvoy & David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Spotlight Photograph – $112.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Charlie McAvoy & David Pastrnak. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ White Jersey Skating with Puck Photograph – $37.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

( Photo Credit: Fanatics )

Brandon Carlo Boston Bruins Fanatics Authentic Autographed 16″ x 20″ Black Jersey Skating Photograph – $37.49

This 16″ x 20″ photograph has been personally hand-signed by Brandon Carlo. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League and comes with an individually numbered, tamper-evident hologram from Fanatics Authentic. To ensure authenticity, the hologram can be reviewed online. This process helps to ensure that the product purchased is authentic and eliminates any possibility of duplication or fraud.

Untamed: Becoming The Bruins

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

When Boston grocery store magnate Charles Adams tasked Art Ross to name his newly acquired NHL expansion team in 1924, little would he realize the significance it would bear in Boston sports history. As the first NHL team in the United States, Ross (a former player who had been hired as general manager) had to come up with a nickname to personify the traits Adams was looking for in his team; untamed animal displaying speed, agility, and cunning.  Along with the team colors reflecting Adam’s grocery chain (brown and yellow), Ross would christen the team with the name “Bruins,” an old English term for “brown bears.” The bear would become the first of many logos for the team throughout the years and the 1924 logo would return in 2016, just in time for the Winter Classic.

Image result for boston bruins logo 1924(Photo Credits: Sports Logos)

If you look throughout the history of the Bruins sweater, the bear logo would grace the front up until 1932.  For those fans that have been following news on the upcoming Winter Classic, you’ll know that this year the Bruins have decided to go with the blocked brown “B” as a simple nod to the 1932-1934 season. Including this year, Boston will have participated in the event three times, each time wearing a new throwback sweater and with the Classic nearing soon, let’s take a look at some of the designs.

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

THE SWITCH

In the 2010 NHL Winter Classic that was played at Fenway Park, the Bruins unveiled their sweater for the event: a design that paid tribute to the 1948 season. In that season the team would celebrate its 25th anniversary and what better way to commemorate a special milestone than with a new jersey. The change would see the switch of the brown “B” to the famous Spoked-B that has been synonymous with the franchise.  For the Winter Classic, Bruins then Vice-President Cam Neely offered the 1948 inspiration-look to Reebok that featured a variation on the Spoked-B crest.

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

Bruins Unveil Jersey to be Worn in 2010 Winter Classic(Photo Credits: NESN)

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

As the first NHL team in the United States and part of the Original Six franchise, the Boston Bruins paid tribute to their history for the 2016 Winter Classic. The B’s would be pitted against one of their oldest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.  To mark the special occasion, the Bruins once again looked to the sweaters of yesteryear as inspiration. This time, the Black and Gold went for the 1924 inaugural season and the familiar old-school Bruins bear would make its re-appearance.  And yes, Bruins fans, the bear was around for the 2008-2016 season, however, it looks a tad different than the 2016 Winter Classic design. As a side-note, let’s not talk about the “pooh-bear” sweater-not a big fan of that logo.

The Bruins 2016 NHL Winter Classic jersey. (Image credit: Boston Bruins)(Photo Credits: CBS Boston)

(Photo Credits: NHL Bruins)

BROWN AND GOLD

On January 1st, 2019, the Bruins will make their third appearance in the Winter Classic when they face the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame. As mentioned earlier in the article, Boston’s new jersey features a design inspired by the 1932-1934 season: a simple, classic blocked brown “B” outline in gold. As one of the oldest teams in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have such a rich history that finding a sweater design for a special occasion such as the Winter Classic proves to be an pretty easy task.

Image result for nhl winter classic 2019(Photo Credits: CBS Sports)

If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at the logo throughout the years, please check out fellow Black-N-Gold writer Evan Michael’s articles about the best and worst Bruins logos throughout the years.

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

—-> Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Official SeatGiant Ticket Info <— 

Bruins “Cook Up” Partnership with JWU

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bergeron Adds To Home Opener History for Bruins!

(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

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

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

CARSON COOPER – 11/16/1926

Image result for carson cooper bruins

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

PHIL ESPOSITO – 10/10/1973

Image result for PHIL ESPOSITO OCTOBER 10TH 1973

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

RICK MIDDLETON – 10/7/1976

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

CAM NEELY – 1/22/1995 & 10/07/1995

Related image

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

PATRICE BERGERON – 10/08/2018

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

Worst Bruins Logos

Image result for bruins team logos(Photo Credit: Fenway Outlet)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

OK, let’s be up front about this article: it’s IMHHO — In My Humble Hockey Opinion. So please don’t opine too much if you fancy any of the featured logos herein and think my take, as well as a few supported others, isn’t anything you want to “B”-lieve in. Then again, I think that’s what makes this whole exercise both fun & historic, if not a bit histrionic; if we can highlight the “Best Bruins Logos” then why not take a stab at lowballing the alleged losers along the way!? So, without further ado — and starting in the past and working our way to the present–may I present as my present to you (yes, that’s an excessive homonym homage) the WORST BRUINS LOGOS… IMHHO!

1944: The “Curse”-ive Look

Image result for 1944 bruins jersey(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins Alumni)

Feel free to be a lil’ scowley when looking at Bill Cowley in his mid-40’s team photo (or just curse at the cursive like I did). That’s because the B’s thought writing collegiate script on a mustard bottle would be a good team logo look. LOOK AWAY, I say! Even when current Bruins D-man Torey Krug tried to bring this look back a few years ago as our friends at Stanley Cup of Chowder pointed out, it still didn’t **hack it.

Image result for jeff hackett bruins

**(Not to be confused w/ the Hackett pictured here whose similarly colored third jersey & logo could’ve made this list…but alas did not for the soft space in my heart that a certain cuddly crest continues to keep! Photo Credit: Getty Images)

1951: We’ve Seen This “B”-fore!

Brown Bruins(Photo Credit: Third String Goalie)

GREAT SCOT! Not even Doc Brown would approve of Adam Brown’s logo look from the 1951-52 season. Fittingly, the second-highest scoring Scotsman in NHL history didn’t have to wear it that long as the picture above was from his final year in the NHL. What else should’ve had some finality to it? This overused big, bold (and now gold) “B” on the front of the team’s jersey for half of this decade. I gave credit to the brown & black “B” from Boston’s inaugural decade for historical import in my previous article as you may recall. But to recall it back and with such brightness against the black? Yikes. Then again, opposing players we’re probably blinded by the glare of it off the ice so maybe it was more successful & sought after. And for goal-happy players, **A-Ok!

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**(Not to be confused with Joe Klukay whose Lucky Premium Parkhurst Postcard from 1954-’55 was probably returned to sender faster than his puck-moving skills! Photo Credit: BMW Sportscards)

1976: Can You “Bear” It?

Image result for boston bruins 1976 jersey mike milbury(Photo Credit: Game Used Only)

No, I can’t bear it. In fact, I find it unBEARable! Why don’t we just Mike Milbury it in the annals of bad Bruins logo history!? Yes, I know this could sound like sacrilege considering the new secondary bear logo added in 1976 stuck around with the team until the B’s moved into the FleetCenter in the mid-’90s. That’s when our aforementioned friend “Mr. Cuddly” came into exuberant existence on not only the shoulders of B’s players, but also the third jersey front for a few fun years.

 

But let’s get “real” like the tweet above comparing ridiculous sporting logos and go back to this supposedly beloved “Bruin”… I just find it a bit freaky looking, that’s all. It’s more carnival Canis and at best erstwhile Ursus (sorry I went all genus, species, Latin here… 4 years of it in high school). Not to mention the fact that Yahoo! Sports ranked in among the “Top Creepy Logos” in NHL history, LOL! I guess to take one positive away, current B’s management icons Cam Neely & Don Sweeney survived wearing it all their careers before it **petered out of existence.

Image result for pete peeters bruins

 

**(Not to be confused with Pete Peeters, the professional puckstopper who proudly portrayed this painstaking patch for pivotal playoff positioning in his prime playing performances! Photo Credit: Game Worn Auctions)

 

 

So, there you have it! A logo look back on the logistics of Bruins fashion — from jerseys to patches to crests to lettering to numbering and everything in “B”-tween! What are some of your least favorite B’s looks when it comes to the team logo? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #WorstBruinsLogos!

Cap Crunch: A Look At The Bruins Cap Situation

(Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

By: Shane Roush  |  Follow me on Twitter: @BruinsFan374688

The salary cap. A constant worry for all NHL General Managers. The more money you have, the more flexibility comes with it. The Bruins paid the price and were in “cap jail” after winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. Role players and fourth-liners like Chris Kelly and Greg Campbell were given deals that had plenty of term, but by the second year, you could see they were declining at a rapid rate. That forced Peter Chiarelli’s hand at the time, and he had to ship away from the likes of Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton to name a few. Those players could not fit in with Bruins’ cap situation and Boston paid the price, missing the playoffs in 2014 and 2015. Let’s see how the Bruins can handle their current cap, so they do not have to deal with problems like this again.

Coming into the 2018-19 season, the roster appears to be set. They have committed all but $2,959,333 of their $79,500,000 cap number. Don Sweeney has done a great job getting extensions for Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak done well below market value. Pastrnak signed a six-year, $40 million extension last September at an affordable $6.67 million AAV. Marchand’s deal appears to be looking better every day for Boston. The forward signed an eight-year, $49 million deal with an annual hit of $6.125 million. For a player with 170 points in his last 148 games, Boston found the perfect time to extend him. Pair these two with Patrice Bergeron, who is under contract for another 4 years, and your first line is locked up for a shade under $20 million.

Next season is where it could start to get tricky for Neely, Sweeney, and the rest of the front office. The Bruins have some young, emerging talent that will need new deals by the start of the 2019 season. The most important player in that bunch has to be Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy shined during his debut in the 2017 playoffs and built on his great start by playing a solid two-way game for Boston in his first full season last year. McAvoy showed glimpses of being the next great Bruins defenseman behind the likes of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, and Zdeno Chara. I feel that the Bruins will do whatever is necessary to keep McAvoy in the picture for a long time coming.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The problems don’t stop there for the front office. Crucial and potentially young core pieces such as Ryan Donato, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen will all be restricted free agents at the end of the upcoming season. It’s tough to decipher what type of deals the three players will get. But what we have seen from them in a short sample size makes me believe the Bruins will want these guys around for the long haul. Carlo is a right shot defenseman — a position that is very valuable throughout the league. Heinen has shown his hockey IQ throughout his time in Boston, and his versatility is nothing to scoff at as well. He’s played wing, center, and the point on the power play. And Donato could be the trigger man that David Krejci needs to solidify the second line, with Jake DeBrusk playing the other wing.

The Bruins have $16.5 million in cap space at the end of the 2018-19 season committed to 16 players. Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid both come off the books at season’s end. Do the Bruins give Chara another 1-year deal if he continues to show he can still play? Or does his $5-plus million salary go to extensions for the kids? We have also heard Torey Krug rumors for months, and it makes you wonder, with 8 NHL-caliber defensemen, if a move is brewing. A Krug trade could bring some cap relief to Boston and/or valuable assets. But a trade could also leave Boston with a gaping hole on their first power play unit.

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In all, these are excellent problems to have. An abundance of young forwards and a deep defense gives the Bruins front office plenty of options. Unlike a few years ago, the Bruins have flexibility with their cap. Depending on how some players produce will determine their next contract with the Bruins, or if it’s best to go another direction. Now we sit back and wait for the season to start to see how these questions become answers.

Rene Rancourt: Bruins Legend

Rene Rancourt Bruins Bear(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

Oh, say can you sing like Rene Rancourt?

Well, for those who thought his mellifluous mic could soon be theirs, the search was recently on (and now narrowing according to our friends at 98.5 The Sports Hub) for the B’s next anthem singer. But oh what Star-Spangled shoes you’d have to fill! After an impressive 42 years belting both the U.S. and Canadian National Anthems on original Boston Garden ice, FleetCenter ice, TD Banknorth Garden ice and lastly TD Garden ice, the inimitable Rancourt has hung up his trademark tuxedo for retirement.

Let’s take a look back at some of the lyrical love, memorable moments, and fired-up fist pumps Rancourt left us that will not be soon forgotten in Boston — or anywhere throughout the world of hockey for that matter!

Show Me The (Fen)Way to “Oh, Say”

Just minutes before Louis Tiant took the mound at Fenway Park in the above 1975 World Series Game 6 clip, bringing every fan to their feet, another then-Bostonian did the same with a rousing rendition of the American National Anthem. That man was Rene Rancourt.

“One of the greatest thrills of my life was to sing in the World Series because they generally hire very famous singers at the World Series,” he told Vice Sports during an interview in 2016. And that famous singer he was referring to? None other than the Songbird of the South Kate Smith herself (click the link to hear her timeless take on “God Bless America” at a Bruins/Flyers game from 1974), who had fallen ill only hours before the first pitch. Thankfully, Rancourt’s pitch was first up for backup after he had impressed venerable Red Sox organist John Kiley with his vocal prowess on the radio. After all, Rousing Rene was a product of the Boston Conservatory opera program and had come from a choir background, so he obviously had the pipes to produce a patriotic performance. And just like Carlton Fisk’s unforgettable home run during that game, Rancourt’s anthem was equally unforgettable; Kiley, also the Bruins organist at the Old Garden, soon recommended he go from Yawkey Way to Causeway Street to continue his respectful rendition of American tradition honoring our Red, White & Blue for the Black N’ Gold. The rest, as they say in opera, is la historia.

Rene Rancourt 1976Rene Rancourt in 1976 – his first year singing the National Anthem at the Boston Garden (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(Fist)Pump It Up!

You can thank Randy “Stump Pump” Burridge, the feisty B’s forward from the mid to late 1980’s, for giving Rene Rancourt his signature move after performing the anthem. Rancourt, as he described to the Boston Globe (and in other recent interviews), got the idea after seeing Burridge pump his fists in the air whenever he scored a goal.

And in 1988-89, Burridge scored a lot of goals — 31 to be exact — so Rancourt had plenty of time to practice and perfect the pump, as well as his unmistakable “salute” upon conclusion of the anthem:

What a tradition both of those gestures became for Boston fans on home ice. You knew exactly what to expect when the red carpet rolled out for Rene–perfect diction and enunciation, resonating-to-the-rafters vocals and a salute-to-fist-pump finish that truly got you pumped up to watch the game. He became as iconic as the spoked-B emblazoned on the team’s jersey; when you thought of playing Boston in Boston, you also thought of Rene Rancourt. And how could you not when every home game — and I mean EVERY home game (he once said he only missed one performance in his 40+ years of singing because he was sick) — started like this:

A True RENEaissance Man

So we all know Rene Rancourt can sing the anthem and with plenty of puck panache and acoustic aplomb. But did you also know he’s an accomplished wedding singer? Eat your heart out, Adam Sandler, because Mr. Rancourt’s been doing it since the 60’s when his then-girlfriend, now-wife Maria helped him start a wedding band. “A society orchestra,” he called it during his Globe interview.

In fact, Rancourt joked that singing in a wedding band with Maria and performing at weddings “paid the bills” in between his anthem stints for the B’s. But what he truly enjoyed, especially later in his career, was paying it back to the Boston fans. And there was no better time for a generous gift from Rene than to hear him sing your favorite Christmas carols and holiday hits at intermission of the Bruins home game closest to the 25th of December:

I remember him belting out all of the above tunes year after year to non-stop festive fanfare and sporting spirit. This was the only home game I could ever make it to for years because my professional work life in broadcasting rarely afforded me time off. But around Christmas, the schedule was always a little lighter, so it made coming back to Boston for a few days all the more doable and all the more memorable. And you better believe I’d time it to not miss the “Rene Caroling Game.” No such game for me was more memorable than in 2010 when the first few thousand fans in attendance went home with a coveted Rene Rancourt ornament and also had the chance to meet him during the second-period intermission. Needless to say, or better yet like he did sing, “there’s no place like home for the holidays.” Thanks, Rene!

During the 2nd intermission of the Bruins’ Pre-Christmas home game on Dec. 23rd, 2010, Rancourt rolled out the red carpet for “pump pics” with fans. (Photo Credit: Evan Michael)

Holding (Ran)Court When It Counts

There are moments in sports that are more groundbreaking, more unifying, more emblematic of the goodness of people than anywhere else, including politics. And Rene Rancourt was at the center, or should I say center ice, of one of those indelible moments. It was only 48 hours after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing in April of 2013 that the Bruins were scheduled to play the Sabres at home. The city, still in a state of shock, disbelief, and recovery, was in need of a sign of hope, togetherness, strength. And it goes without saying how BOSTON STRONG everyone in attendance at this game became once Rancourt started singing. Only two lines into the anthem, right after he uttered proudly the word “proudly,” he let his voice trail off so the crowd could be heard. In unison, 17,565 hearts and voices seamlessly took over and sent a message to the rest of the nation and the world that Boston was stronger than ever, with a resolve more fervent and passionate for its citizens and its country than anywhere else at that time.

Watching this clip, even all these years later, still gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes. And it couldn’t have happened without Rancourt truly feeling the significance of the moment and truly being IN the moment. This wasn’t just another regular rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was a cathartic experience of joy and togetherness, of indomitable strength and unflinching spirit, of the courage and will of a people to not be defeated, even in the aftermath of tragedy and terror.

In his own words, when interviewed by our friends at NESN just before his retirement, here’s how Rancourt described that day, that anthem and that moment: “Nothing comes close to that…The marathon bombing game, where the Bruins just happened to be the only professional sports team playing right after it. I think it was two days after. I was petrified to get out there. I planned, of course, to stop singing in the middle of it, but I was very, very afraid of doing that. The reaction was something I will never, ever forget. That’s my proudest memory.”

Naturally, fans, media personalities, and Bruins bloggers across social media agree:

As Animated As They Come

To say Rene Rancourt was an animated character, what with his salutes, fist pumps and overall energetic performances, would be an accurate statement. Turns out, it’s also quite the understatement since he literally became animated for the short-lived — but beloved — Bruins YouTube series “The Bear and The Gang.”

(Photo Credits: BearShorts.com)

It was at times “out of this world” but certainly didn’t make you feel “deserted” when it came to entertainment value. There was also a sitcom-style pilot that featured Rancourt’s rather spot-on acting chops parodying his own anthem ending in what looked to be Brad Marchand’s basement. I tell you what…if he sang before every hockey video game I played, I’d play a lot more hockey video games (my favorite will always be NHL ’94 which rather fittingly featured Bruins goalie Andy Moog on the cover).

Banner Yet Waving Goodbye

As we say goodbye and give a grateful fond farewell to the institution that was Rene Rancourt, we should all remember that sometimes the most inspirational people in our lives can be the ones who we aren’t necessarily close to, but who make us feel close to each other — who bring us closer together just by being who they are and doing what they do. Rene was just that kind of person. And we only need to look back on his long career and legacy to be reminded of it.

(Photo Credits: Twitter)

Thankfully, the Boston Bruins organization and the city of Boston as a whole will always help us do that with tributes like this:

Interviews like this:

And celebrations like this:

Not one, not two, not even three…but FOUR 👊👊👊👊  fist pumps to you, Mr. Rancourt, for an incredible career in Boston — one that forever shaped B’s fandom and will continue to do so even after a new voice takes over. Because some voices will always ring, and sing, loudly and proudly in our minds no matter how much time passes.

Oh, say it isn’t so? Thankfully, this time it is!

Remem”B”ering It All: The B’s, The Basement & “BTBB”!

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Evan Michael   |   Follow Me On Twitter @EVAN007onTV

“You play by the rules, or you don’t play at all!”

The echo of these words, usually delivered by my father in the most serious of tones, would carom off the cellar walls like a hastily iced puck would do off the old Bahhston Gahhhden boards.  It was his way of reminding 7-year-old Evan that even in the made-up sport of “basement hockey,” there was still protocol.  There was still a gentleman’s code (or in my case kid’s code) that should never be broken. No goofing around. No whining about losses or bragging about wins.  No going into overtime aka “the-real-Bruins-game-is-on-so-you-can’t-keep-pretending-to-be-Andy-Moog-all-night-down-here-because-I’m-not-missing-Renee-Rancourt-singing-the-anthem-again” time.

Believe me when I say my Dad played by the rules.  Bernie played by the book.  Because of this, I learned to love Boston hockey much in the same way By The Book Bernie” (BTBB) did: with plenty of puck passion, attention-to-detail, and respect. I knew exactly what I was getting into between the B’s, the basement and BTBB. And I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

When you grow up in Western Mass, in the beautiful Berkshires of the Bay State, you have a choice of where your fandom will lie — across the minutes-away border of New York state or with Boston.  That choice didn’t exist for my Dad. His loyalty was always with the hometown, Beantown boys.  He “bled Black N’ Gold” as many guys his age used to say (and as this eponymous blog reminds us daily) when watching their favorite team take the ice.

Naturally, I followed suit.  I wanted to cheer on his team, and now my team, just like how we played hockey down in the basement.  Sure we’d yell, scream, hoot & holler–sometimes at each other in jest, especially when he’d go all Gerry Cheevers on me and play the puck (aka sponge ball) way out past the blue line (aka carpet demarcation line).  But it was all in good fun!  It was a bonding experience. The B’s brought us together and still do to this day, which is why I feel like it’s come full face-off circle for me now as a fan, a comedic writer, and a son.

Well, this son and lifelong B’s supporter/complainer just talked to BTBB about the team I remember first watching with him and how so many names from back then are still relevant now.  Strike that… they’re integral. Bourque. Neely. Sweeney. Donato (just to name a few).  And with the ladder also being a father-son connection, I was all nostalgic when it came to our conversation. The main point: could some of his favorites who just missed out as players on Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup back in the 80’s & 90’s now achieve that success in management. Namely, Dealin’ Donny since good ol’ Sea Bass himself played a pivotal role in constructing the 2011 title team. My answer: you bet my Bruins Wives Charity Carnival autographed Vinny Reindeau towel they can!

But can they do it as soon as 2019? Based on the truly remarkable, surpassed-all-expectations-despite-the-moans-and-groans-of-losing-in-the-second-round-to-ugh!-Tampa 2017-2018 season, I definitely think so.  And I don’t even think they need that “JT” whose making more Twitter & social media headlines than his same-initialed entertainment counterpart to do it! (Full disclosure: if I just imagine, just imagine, just imagine John Tavares in a Bruins jersey, I truly can’t stop the feeling.)

Speaking of feelings, how Sweeney and Neely, and in turn, Cassidy, have turned things around in just a few short years in “The Hub” is not only promising for the future of the B’s, but also their fans like myself and BTBB.  This current team is the ideal blend of youth and experience, of talent and leadership, of workmanlike will and sportsmanlike skill — qualities that every Dad hopes for in his son and every son hopefully admires in his Dad.  They’re also qualities imbued within the fabric of the team by the aforementioned higher-ups whose hirings were crucial to the success of the franchise, both in the past, in the present and undoubtedly in the future!

So when our conversation turned to the B’s so far having a slow off-season, what with no 1st round pick in the draft or Kovalchuk signing, I started to joke to my Dad about Mr. Sweeney using, perhaps, some persuasive and bribery-based tactics to lure other promising talents to Boston.  It was at this moment when my (crazy) train of thought was cut short by an all-too-familiar fatherly edict: “Evan, that’s against the rules!”

And Lord (Stanley) knows, you either play by the rules, or you don’t play at all.  BTBB was right again. Father does know best.  Thankfully, when it comes to the management of the Bruins, so does one of Dad’s favorite former D-men.  In Don We Trust!

Boston Bruins: A Tale Of Two Nashes.

 

Riley+Nash+Boston+Bruins+Vs+Toronto+Maple+ArOYPvQiYkzl.jpg

Riley Nash #20 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round in the 2018 Stanley Cup Play-offs at the Air Canada Centre on April 23, 2018, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 3-1.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
(April 22, 2018 – Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                             Twitter: @godwentwhoops

With just over a month before the start of free agency, the Boston Bruins are going to have some tough choices to make on which of their free agents will be staying with the team next season. Among the UFAs the B’s will have to make a decision on are the two players with the last name Nash.

Riley Nash had a solid year as a three-zone, two-way center. With a 41 point (15 goals) season, he put up the best stats of his career while wearing the spoked ‘B’. He even held his own as the B’s top-line center while Patrice Bergeron was dealing with an injury.

Rick Nash was brought on as a late-season rental for Boston. The B’s were hoping he would be a dynamic player in the playoffs and he was mostly invisible. The B’s were hoping for Milan Lucic 2.0 and ended up with Zac Rinaldo.

So much for giving up Ryan Spooner, who finally seemed to have found a solid and steady stride with the Black and Gold (not to mention a first-round pick in 2018).  The losses sustained by the B’s organization weren’t worth the three goals put up in 12 games by the 33-year old Nash.

Riley Nash certainly wouldn’t mind coming back to Boston.

“I’ve been around for a while, so winning is going to be one of my top priorities,” said Nash. “If they see a fit here, then I’ve truly enjoyed my two years here, it’s been awesome and I’d love to come back. I think they have one of the best teams coming up with the young players and the veteran leaders, so this has been a good fit for the last two years. We’ll see if we can figure something out.”

Rick Nash would also enjoy playing another season with the Black and Gold.

“The organization was great,” offered Rick Nash on his hopes of coming back to Boston. “The guys were awesome…So, it was a great chapter here and hopefully, it can continue.

“I would love to [return], for sure. They’ve got a special group here and a lot of talent. It’s a great place to play.”

So, what are the odds that one or both Nashes remain in Boston?

Frankly, not very good. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney knows the odds are long on retaining the current squad.

“Obviously, our team accomplished a lot to get to the 112-point level. Ideally, you’d like to bring everybody back and think you take another run at it. I don’t think that’s realistic in a cap environment,” said Sweeney on the B’s current roster. “We can afford the salaries they’re currently at, but some of the guys had very good years and you expect that to change. I’ve had discussions periodically with some of those players and will have with their representatives going forward in the next month or so.

Bruins President Cam Neely wasn’t entirely optimistic either, especially when it came to Rick Nash.

“It’s unfortunate that [Nash] got banged up near the end of the season there, and it really took him a while to get back. I don’t think he was himself. He said that during the exit meetings that he wasn’t quite himself. It’s disappointing because we felt we had a guy that was really going to help our secondary scoring and that line and help David [Krejci] get going in some offensive situations,” said Bruins team president Cam Neely at the end of the season press conference.

“You could see the big body and how he protects the puck, and how good he is in the corners and along the walls. But he just wasn’t quite himself after coming back from that [concussion] injury.

“As Don [Sweeney] mentioned, we’re going to look at every UFA that we have, and RFA, and come to conclusions on whether or not it makes sense for us to move forward with those players.”

At the moment, the Bruins look fine when it comes to cap space in the offseason. But is it worth taking a gamble on a player like Rick Nash? Not really.

A stronger case can be made for Riley Nash (who should have won this season’s 7th Player Award).  Riley Nash became the B’s Swiss Army Knife of forwards, playing in all four lines at some point during last season. The biggest problem for Riley is that his career season may have priced him out of the TD Garden.

It will certainly be an interesting free agency period in Boston, that’s for sure.