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!

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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2019 NHL All-Star Recap: Bruins Pastrnak’s Accuracy On Full Display

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

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

Once again, the annual NHL All-Star Weekend festivities have come and gone, but not without some entertaining and memorable moments. From the amazing performance of Kendall Coyne Schofield in the Fastest Skating Competition to Auston Matthews removing his jersey to reveal a Patrick Marleau Leafs jersey to win over the hometown, San Jose Sharks crowd to David Pastrnak bringing out his inner Ray Bourque to win the Accuracy Shooting Challenge, the 2019 All-Star Weekend will be remembered and I’m here to recap all of it.

Friday, January 25th – Skills Competitions

Helmets off, hair flowing, high speeds and smiles were the highlights of the Skills Competitions. The players that were selected by the fans in the months leading into the All-Star festivities were each handed one of six competitions that tested their skating speed, passing skills, and hardest shot. (All results courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)

First off, we had the Fastest Skating Competition, an event that has been dominated by Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the past two years. Due to an injury to Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, the NHL allowed U.S. Women’s National Team member Kendall Coyne to skate with the NHLers. She started the event with an amazing 14.346 seconds final time, a final time faster than Coyotes forward Clayton Keller.

Jack Eichel had the fastest time, finishing the race with a time of 13.582 seconds, only for McDavid to cross the final line in 13.378 seconds to win this event for the third consecutive year, the only player in NHL history to do so. Here are the final results for the Fastest Skating Competition.

  • Kendall Coyne (U.S. Women’s National Team) – 14.346 seconds
  • Miro Heiskanen (Dallas Stars) – 13.914 seconds
  • Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes) – 14.526 seconds
  • Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) – 13.930 seconds
  • Cam Atkinson (Columbus Blue Jackets) – 14.152 seconds
  • Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres) – 13.582 seconds
  • Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) – 13.780 seconds
  • Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) – 13.378 seconds

Up next, eight players were to go through a series of challenges where puck control was the main goal. Last season, Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau won the competition and he would repeat, like McDavid did, dancing through a set of pucks and then lifting the puck through three rings before potting it in the empty net in only 27.045 seconds. The only man close to beating that time was Patrick Kane, who was just over a second slower than Gaudreau.

  • Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) – 28.611 seconds
  • Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks) – 43.622 seconds
  • Jeff Skinner (Buffalo Sabres) – 35.407 seconds
  • Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) 32.161 seconds
  • Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche) – 33.425 seconds
  • Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers) – 30.270 seconds
  • John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs) – 35.210 seconds
  • Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames) – 27.045 seconds

For the most part, the All-Star Weekend aims to highlight the forwards and defensemen who can score goals with the best of them, leaving the goaltenders looking like non-All-Stars, especially in the 3-on-3 play. However, the NHL lets the goalies have their time to shine in the Save Streak event, where players from the opposite division shoot in a penalty shot format and the goaltender to make the most consecutive saves in a row, wins.

Andrei Vasilevskiy held the longest streak with eight saves in a row, but on the final possible chance to beat it, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist shut down David Pastrnak (multiple times to be exact) and the rest of the Atlantic division twelve times in a row to take the victory in the Save Streak event.

  • Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) vs. Pacific Division – Longest save streak: 2
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning) vs. Metropolitan Division – Longest save streak: 8
  • John Gibson (Anaheim Ducks) vs. Central Division – Longest save streak: 3
  • Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) vs. Atlantic Division – Longest save streak: 1
  • Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) vs. Pacific Division – Longest save streak: 7
  • Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings) vs. Metropolitan Division – Longest save streak: 2
  • Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas Golden Knights) vs. Central Division – Longest save streak: 6
  • Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers) vs. Atlantic Division – Longest save streak: 12

The All-Star Weekend saw the return of the dreaded Premier Passing event that many players, (Drew Doughty especially), due to the difficulty level of the neutral zone. Players had to fire a saucer pass over barriers into small nets at different distances and then move on to fire low passes to a set of targets that often changed colour at the worst times making it frustrating to watch and for the players to compete in.

With that said, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl won the competition, running through the event in 1:09:088, beating out Sebastian Aho by eight seconds. Draisaitl made the competition look easy compared to the other players and his win made teammate Connor McDavid quite proud.

Saturday, January 26th – All-Star Game

Game One – Central Division vs Pacific Division

The first game of the mini-tournament between the four NHL divisions was about as one-sided of a hockey game as you can get. In the first of two ten-minute periods, the Central Division All-Stars led by the Colorado Avalanche scored seven goals on nine shots on Ducks goalie John Gibson while Erik Karlsson scored the lone goal as the two teams entered the second period with a 7-1 Central lead.

Gaudreau, Karlsson, and Burns would put on three more goals for their team but the Central All-Stars scored three of their own in the final period to win 10-4 the final score. The win eliminated the hometown San Jose Sharks and the Pacific Division while the Central prepares for the winner of the Metropolitan/Atlantic game.

Top 5 Players of Game One:

  • CEN F Gabriel Landeskog (COL) – 3 Goals, 1 Assist
  • CEN F Ryan O’Reilly (STL) – 1 Goal, 3 Assists
  • CEN D Roman Josi (NSH) – 1 Goal, 3 Assists
  • CEN G Pekka Rinne (NSH) – 8 Saves on 9 Shots
  • PAC D Erik Karlsson (SJS) – 2 Goals

Game Two – Atlantic Division vs Metropolitan Division

David Pastrnak and the Atlantic Division looked to move on to the Championship game against the Central division and it produced one of the most entertaining games of the weekend thus far. Back-and-forth action by the stars of the Eastern Conference created a close game of 3-on-3.

The Metro opened with two early goals from Sidney Crosby and Seth Jones only for the line of Pastrnak, Skinner, and Eichel to come back for the Atlantic. Pastrnak made a beautiful backhand saucer pass right on the tape of Eichel who buried it, making it a 2-1 game.

That wouldn’t be the only time that Pastrnak would get on the scoresheet. Less than a minute into the second frame, Pastrnak makes another solid feed to Jeff Skinner this time who scores, tying the game at three apiece. This line of two Sabres and a Bruin was successful for the Atlantic division but with four straight goals in the second, the Metropolitan Divison would advance to the Final with a 7-4 win. Bruins forward David Pastrnak’s weekend ends with two assists and an Accuracy Challenge win.

Top 5 Players of Game Two:

  • MET F Sidney Crosby (PIT) – 2 Goals, 1 Assist
  • MET D Kris Letang (PIT) – 1 Goal (GWG), 1 Assist
  • MET G Braden Holtby (WSH) – 11 Saves on 13 Shots
  • ATL F David Pastrnak (BOS) – 2 Assists
  • ATL F John Tavares (TOR) – 1 Goal, 1 Assist

My Chat With Bruins Legend Rick Middleton

 

usatsi_5153514( Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston )

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On November 29th, just five days from now, the Boston Bruins will raise another number to the rafters. This one will be the 11th number to be retired in the history of the franchise, founded in 1924. The first ever number to be retired was Lionel Hitchman’s number three back in 1934, and the most recent number to be raised to the rafters was Cam Neely’s number eight in 2004. The latest addition to this legendary group is quite a “Nifty” guy. All joking aside, Rick Middleton will have his number 16 raised to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony prior to the Bruins matchup with the New York Islanders next Thursday.

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Middleton is fourth on the all-time scoring list in Bruins history with 988 points amassed in 12 seasons in black and gold. Only Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, and Phil Esposito had more points in their legendary Bruins careers. Middleton is one of only three players to score at least 400 goals in his career in Boston. Born a Leafs fan in Toronto, Middleton broke into the league as a 21-year-old for the New York Rangers, totaling 22 goals and 18 assists in just 47 games. Traded to the Bruins in 1976, Middleton scored 20 goals and added 22 assists in his first season in Boston. Middleton’s best statistical season came in 1983-84 when he scored a career-high 105 points on 47 goals and 58 assists. Middleton had more than 40 goals five times in his career, and impressively, he did it in five consecutive seasons with a high of 51 in 1981-82. It is also worth noting that Middleton is one of about 320 players who have played in more than 1,000 games in their careers.

Middleton played for six coaches during his Bruins career, from Don Cherry to Terry O’Reilly and a few in between. The Bruins made three appearances in the Stanley Cup Final during Middleton’s time in Boston, twice in his first two seasons and then in his final season. Unfortunately, the Bruins lost each time, twice to the Montreal Canadiens and once to the Edmonton Oilers. Perhaps the most infamous moment during Middleton’s career happened on December 23rd, 1979, the night Mike Millbury beat a fan with his shoe at Madison Square Garden. Three Bruins were suspended and fined, but fortunately, no blood was spilled.

Middleton was a three-time All-Star and won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 1982 as the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Middleton holds a few league records as well, including most points ever recorded in one playoff series and the most assists ever recorded in a playoff series. Middleton scored exactly 100 points in his postseason career in 114 games. Middleton finished just 12 points shy of 1,000 points for his career, but his legacy will be remembered forever when his number gets raised to the TD Garden rafters next week.

You can listen to my full interview with Rick Middleton on the link below

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

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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.