The Best Bruin To Ever Wear The Number One

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

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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

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

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

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

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

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

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

(Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 187 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

BNG Hockey Talk Ep. 5 With Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast YouTuber Cameron Young

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By Cameron Young | Follow me on Twitter @cmoney008

In my latest video uploaded to my YouTube channel, I conclude my two-part series where I build an All-Time Boston Bruins lineup. In this upload, I discuss the defensemen and goalies in addition to 4 honorable mentions that just miss out on roster spots. Check it out below and please subscribe to my YouTube Channel and turn notifications on to be updated when a new video is published. 

  • Honorable Mentions: 2:00
  • D6: 6:04
  • D5: 7:36
  • D4: 9:45
  • D3: 11:06
  • D2: 13:53
  • D1: 15:54
  • G2: 17:44
  • G1: 18:46

Now that hockey is nearly back in action, expect to see some Bruins game simulations on EA Sports NHL 20 ahead of each Bruins game. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @cmoney008 and please consider subscribing to the YouTube Channel HERE!

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 186 that we recorded below on 7-19-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

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

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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

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

10 – Eddie Shore (1926 – 1940)

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

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

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

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

9 – Wayne Cashman (1964 – 1983)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiny-Thompson-Boston-Bruins-featured

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

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

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

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

7 – Rick Middleton (1974 – 1988)

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

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

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

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

6 – Cam Neely – (1983 – 1996)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask’s Time To Shine

( Photo Credit: NHL.com / Boston Bruins / @NHLBruins )

By: Maria From Watertown  |  Follow Me On Twitter @mariaofh2otown

The NHL and the PA have presumably agreed to move forward with completing the 2019-2020 so that a 2020 Stanley Cup Champion can be crowned.  Obviously, a good number of logistics will need to be worked out, but the vote by the NHLPA is a significant step in the right direction.  For the Boston Bruins, the motivation should be fierce to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals again, if not to avenge the disappointing finish to the 2019 Cup Finals, but perhaps more importantly, to cement the legacy of a number of the core veteran players on the team, particularly Tuukka Rask. While Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Brad Marchand have seemingly secured their places in Boston Bruins history as members of a team that brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston after 39 years, Tuukka’s lasting legacy may hinge on whether he can “carry” the Bruins to a Stanley Cup before he hangs up his goalie skates.

Once Tuukka took over as the Bruins number one franchise goalie, fairly or unfairly, he became a lightning rod for criticism by Bruins fans.  Many held Tuukka responsible for the game 7 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 Cup finals, as well as the two-minute meltdown in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks and we all know how that ended. 

Adding fuel to this fire, Tuukka did not play in the Bruins final regular-season game on April 11, 2016, due to a stomach bug.  The Bruins ultimately lost that game, and it cost that team an opportunity for a playoff spot.

There is no arguing that Tuukka is an elite goalie in the NHL.  Tuukka currently leads the league with a 2.12 GAA; he is second in the league with a .929 SV%.  Tuukka’s career stats are noteworthy as well – 2.26 GGA and 9.22 SV%.  In 2019, Tuukka became the winningest goalie in Bruin’s history. 

Why let these statistics get in the way of those who consistently lay blame at the feet of Tuukka when the Bruins have faltered in big moments.  Last time I checked, there are always 5 skaters and a goalie out on the ice most of the time.

Much has been made over the years about the contract Tuukka signed in 2013 (8-year extension at $7 million per year), with fans and some in the media criticizing either the term, the money, or both.  Ask Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers fans how they feel about the contracts for their franchise goalies. 

Whether Tuukka hears this noise or not, the only way he will likely silence these critics and cement his legacy as a Boston Bruin is to lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship.  With only one year remaining on his current contract, the window is getting smaller.  If Tuukka can accomplish what to date has eluded him and become the franchise goalie who brings another Stanley Cup to Boston, he will most certainly be talked about in the same conversations as Tiny Thompson, Eddie Johnston, Gerry Cheevers, and Tim Thomas.  Legacy accomplished

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 179 that we recorded below on 5-17-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

On This Day In Bruins History: Jacques Plante!

A Look at the Bruins in the Hockey Hall of Fame(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

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

It’s not too often a legendary Montreal Canadiens goaltender can also share the spotlight in Boston Bruins history. Even if only for a minute.

That’s exactly what happened when NHL Hall of Famer Jacques Plante was traded to the B’s in the twilight of his hockey career in early 1973. And on this day — March 28th — he won his final game in the NHL, leading the Bruins to victory over the Rangers 6-3.

Plante was 44 years old at the time of the victory making him the oldest Bruins goalie to win an NHL game. In another fun historical fact, he’s one year younger than the man who owns the record as the oldest ever NHL goalie: Maurice “Moe” Roberts. And way  back when in 1925 at the ripe age of 19, Roberts made his professional hockey debut for… you guessed it… the Boston Bruins!

I couldn’t have Plante-d a better nugget of B’s history as we March towards April. Stay tuned to the Black N’ Gold blog for more OTDIBH (On This Day In Bruins History) articles as our break from hockey continues into the Spring — but hopefully not all Summer!

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Timely Tuukka Tops Tiny, Huge Accomplishment For B’s Netminder!

PNG image(Photo Credit: Boston Bruins)

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

What a wonderful, wacky, wild, whimsical, & whirlwind start to 2019 for Tuukka Rask. First, the beloved/beleaguered B’s netminder surpassed team legend and HHOF’er Tiny Thompson for the “Most Games Played” for a goalie in a Bruins uniform on January 1st during the Winter Classic.

Then, he tied Thompson’s record for team wins two weeks later with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, entering into elite Bruins crease company.

But, before he even had a chance to enjoy the accomplishment and set his mind on record-setting victory number 253, he nearly lost his mind in a concussed collision with Rangers player Filip Chyta.

I don’t even like watching it after the fact because it’s about as worse as it gets for a goalie (unless of course you’re Clint Malarchuk). However, with a bye-week and All-Star break fortunately scheduled for right after that painful game, Rask had time to heal from his concussion and get back into game shape — no easy feat when returning from any type of head injury/contact. And an even more challenging feat when you’ve ALREADY returned from a mental health break earlier in the season to get your head right.

Then, he literally stands on his head against the flightless Flyers to end the month of January (all but a GUARANTEED win to break the record, right?)

Wrong. Rask got absolutely no help from his D-core or any teammate not on the 1st line–especially Danton “Empty Net” Heinen–yet Tuuuuuuuk still maintained his poise, confidence & resolve after the fact, even when head coach Bruce Cassidy nearly lost it during the post-game presser.

So, who better to straighten it out? The Fin with finish who’s now finished in the No. 1 position on the Mt. Rushmore of Bruins goalies. This, after literally & figuratively climbing back up a mountain to be the best goalie he can be–for his teammates, the entire B’s organization and all of Boston fandom (yes, even the crazy ones from the THC… “Tuukka Haters Club”). And there was no better way to do it than by taking down the team that’s owned him, and the entire B’s organization, for the past 5 seasons: The Washington Capitals.

This was no doubt an important game for Rask, and the roster, on many levels–both personally & professionally. For the forwards & D, it was their chance to respond after being called out by Cassidy for an unwillingness to “buy into the system” of Bruins hockey. And for Rask, it was his chance to not only silence any critics of his game coming off the concussion, but also to achieve a milestone moment in a B’s sweater that NO OTHER goalie in Boston history had ever accomplished (and against a team he hadn’t beaten since the Obama Administration). Needless to say, everyone stepped up, especially Mr. 253, who made history in the most memorable way possible… with a 1-0 shutout and more timely saves than he’s gloved, blockered & sticked away all season!

Moving forward for both Rask and his teammates, everyone wearing the Black N’Gold “Spoked-B” needs to build on this oh-so-important win and keep the momentum going down the stretch. The season/going-to-the-playoffs will most likely come down to a few points, with the B’s having a pretty good chance at matching-up against the Caps for either a first or second round series (if they can make it that far). With the rally monkey now literally & figuratively off their back against Washington, hopefully the B’s can use this victory as a catalyst and start a strong stretch of hockey between now and April. And if Rask can continue his impressively strong & clutch play between the pipes, also using his history-making “W” as a motivator, then come playoff time, I think we’ll all be rooting for #TuukkaTime!

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The Greatest Goalies In Bruins History

Gerry Cheevers mask(Photo credits: Third String Goalie)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

As the Bruins return to the ice after enjoying a mandatory bye-week, news came that goalie Tuukka Rask will be placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion in a collision with Rangers forward Filip Chytil.  Up until that unfortunate incident, Rask had been enjoying a streak of great playing in the net and with a win against the Rangers, was poised to become the winningest goalie in the franchise history. With this little bump in the road, however, that record will be on hold for a just a little longer.

So this poses a thought that many fans and sports analysts have written time and time again in regards to Rask. Yes, he will break a record, but will surpassing Thompson earn Tuukka respect from the fans? Will he ever be considered one of the greats? These questions tend to be a bit controversial even amongst the Black and Gold faithful and there’s never a shortage of online Tuukka hate.

So when you talk about the greatest goalies that ever wore the spoked-B, can you and should you include Rask? If you take a quick peek into Bruins lore, you’ll find a pretty extensive list so we shortened it to highlight the big names. Let’s take a look at those who are considered to be the best in Bruins history (keep in mind, these are in no particular order and just the opinion of this writer).

CECIL “Tiny” THOMPSON

(Photo Credits: Hockey Goalies)

For someone who wasn’t exactly crazy about being a goaltender, Thompson has certainly made his mark in Bruins history.  And it would be his goaltending that lead the Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup. Fun fact: he only allowed three goals in five playoff games and posted three shutouts. His excellent net-minding bode well for a young Bruins team. They finished in first place and won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1935 and 1938. Thompson won the Vezina Trophy in 1930, 1933, 1936 and 1938.

Most memorable moment: the 1933 Playoffs. In a match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs,  Thompson and Leafs goalie Lorne Chabot would be part of one of the longest overtime games played. Both goalies battled up until the sixth overtime when Leaf’s forward Ken Doraty scored the winning goal against Thompson.

Thompson played for the Bruins from 1928-1938 before being sent to Detroit. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1959. He was the first goalie in the NHL to record an assist and had 81 career shutouts (6th in NHL history). At the end of his tenure with the Bruins, Thompson would post a 252-153-63 record. When he finally retired, he would end with 284 wins, 194 losses with a career GAA of 2.08 in 553 games played.

FRANK BRIMSEK

Related image(Photo Credits: Hockey Gods)

“Tiny was such a great goaltender. I had to be good or they would have chased me right out of Boston”-Frank Brimsek

With Thompson being sent to Detroit,  a young 23-year-old rookie named Frank Brimsek would be thrust upon a tough Boston crowd. Brismek had to fill the mighty skates of one of the league’s premier goaltenders. Thompson was Boston’s rock-solid goalie for ten years and Brimsek would quickly learn that to be the best, you gotta beat the best.

Sadly, he would lose his first professional game as a Bruin against the Montreal Canadiens. Brimsek wouldn’t let the loss keep him down for too long.  “Mister Zero” would quickly rebound by winning shutout after shutout. By his third game, he had already recorded 192 minutes and 40 seconds of scoreless goaltending.

In his fifth game with the Bruins, Brimsek would beat Thomspon’s record of 224 minutes and 47 seconds scoreless goaltending at 231 minutes 54 seconds. The B’s would win that game against Montreal 3-2 at the Boston Garden. This was all done his rookie season. He finished with a 1.59 average with 10 shutouts. He gave up only 70 goals in 44 games played and was awarded both the Calder Trophy and the Vezina Trophy. He would win the Vezina again in 1942. He would play for Boston for five seasons before enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. He retired at 34 and would become the first United States hockey player to be elected into the Hall of Fame.

GERRY CHEEVERS

Related image(Photo Credits: John Blanding/Boston Globe Staff/1980)

Fiercely competitive and equally feisty, Cheevers undoubtedly was a big, bad Bruin.  Just look at the mask. Along with Eddie Johnston, Cheevers would lead Boston to win the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972 and was voted the best goaltender in the World Hockey Association. He was also the number one goalie for Team Canada in 1974.

And if you’re into numbers, Cheevers certainly lives up to the hype. In his NHL career, he would play 418 regular-season games and 88 playoff matches. His GAA was 2.89 during the regular season and 2.69 in the playoffs. Impressive numbers if you consider that the Bruins team was offensively heavy and lacked defense-Cheevers had his work cut out for him.

During the 1971-1972 season, “Cheesy” Cheevers played 32 unbeaten games between the pipes. Originally he was destined to play for Toronto but as luck would have it, the Bruins grabbed Cheevers for $30,000 and the rest is history. After suffering a knee injury his rookie season, he was sent to Oklahoma City. There he met coach Harry Sinden who would promote Cheevers to take over for an injured Eddie Johnston. His first three games with the Bruins: a tie, a shutout win, and a 2-1 win. The following season, the Bruins would protect both Cheevers and Johnston in the draft.

Boston had quite the goaltending tandem: Cheevers played 44 games and averaged 2.83  with Johnston’s 2.87 in 20 games. Cheevers finally retired in 1980 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

TIM THOMAS

Tim Thomas has only played for the Bruins in his NHL career so far. (USATSI)(Photo Credits: USATSI)

For what its worth, Thomas is included on the list as he lead the Boston Bruins to their first cup since 1972. But the win would be shrouded in controversy as stories emerged about Thomas’s combative personality, religious views, and far-right conspiracy theories. He would also infamously snub former president Barack Obama after the 2011 win for personal political reasons.

If you put aside the controversial aspect of Thomas’s personal views and just go by the numbers, you have a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Conn Smythe trophy winner and the recipient of the William Jennings Award. He is one of four American-born players to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in NHL history, joining Brian Leetch, Jonathan Quick, and Patrick Kane.

During the 2010-2011 season, he would set an NHL record with a .938 save percentage. In the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks, Thomas had a 1.15 GAA, breaking Brisek’s record of 1.25 GAA. Thomas would go on stop all 37 shots in Game Seven to win 4-0, leading Boston in finally winning the Cup after 39 years.

He would also set the record for most saves in a single post-season with 798 and the most saves in a Stanley Cup series with 238. Thomas also became the first goaltender to post a shutout in a Game 7 road game. Thomas would take the entire 2012-2013 season off before briefly returning to play in Florida and Dallas during the 2013-14 season.

HONORABLE MENTION: TUUKKA RASK

Image result for tuukka rask(Photo Credits: NESN)

Tuukka Rask. One could go online and simply type his name and you’ll be faced with an onslaught of supporters or haters. Then there’s the million and one articles that analyze whether or not Rask will ever get a fair shake in Boston-being one of the toughest markets to play for. Once in a while, you’ll see the question on whether or not the Bruins will ever win a cup with Rask. And while he was the back-up goalie to Tim Thomas and technically he does have a ring, Rask needs to win the Cup on his own merit to quiet his critics.

If you look at the numbers, The Vezina Trophy recipient has a 252-145-56 record in his current 12-year career. Rask has lead the Bruins to a third appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals (2013) and in the third round facing the Pittsburgh Penguins, had a 0.50 GAA and a .985 save percentage. Pre-bye week, Tuukka has been 6-0-1 in his last 7 starts, with a .940 SV%.

The tough thing about Rask and what’s most criticized is his play inconsistency. When he’s hot, he hot, but when he has those slow starts to the season, calls for a trade pick up online at full steam. As he is set to overtake Tiny Thompson’s record of 252 wins, it’s kinda hard not to place Rask as one of the top goalies in Bruins history.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Rask was on a hot streak before suffering a concussion. So as opinions wane back and forth about Tuukka, in the end,  seeing number 40 hoist the Cup would be nothing short of greatness and just maybe the Tuukka hate will be a distant memory.

 

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Milestone Moment for Bruins’ Tuukka Rask!

(Photo Credit: NHL Bruins)

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

The 2019 Winter Classic truly was “a classic” in every sense of the word, from the B’s timely goals & saves to their timeless outfits & jerseys (more on that later). Speaking of time, Boston’s much-maligned keeper of the crease Tuukka Rask made the most of it, first after getting the nod from Coach Cassidy he’d be starting in net over Jaroslav Halak, then after stopping 36-out-of-38 shots and leading the B’s to their second straight come-from-behind victory AND second ever Winter Classic win.

 

But, as you’ll note from the team tweet above (and the NHL’s PR department below), Rask also accomplished quite a fitting FIRST. With the start, he became the Bruins’ all-time leader for a goalie when it comes to “Games Played,” surpassing longtime legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Tiny Thompson in the process.

And he did so in style, literally & figuratively, by wearing that aforementioned timeless throwback jersey from the B’s circa 1932 wardrobe case which, and this is certainly not a coincidence, was from the era of Tiny Thompson! You don’t say? I do say… and did say… over the Summer in my “Best Bruins Logos” article for the Black N’ Gold Blog.

Additionally, here’s a fun fact that deserves a little Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson magic that I’d like to “Say, Say, Say” again & again: Rask needs only 5 more wins to break another huge Tiny record (I’ve always wanted to write that): Most Franchise Victories! As The Hockey News previewed before this season began:

When Tiny Thompson suited up in his final game for Boston all the way back in 1939, he was the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, and Thompson’s 468 games remain the most ever played by a Bruins netminder. Sometime around December, though, Rask, who has played 19 fewer games in Boston, should be set to surpass Thompson and break the nearly 80-year-old mark. And if all goes well, he could also break Thompson’s other record, too: no Bruins goaltender has won more than 252 games for the franchise, but Rask is only 15 victories away from taking that team record, as well. — Jared Clinton, The Hockey News

Rask’s Winter Classic “W” was his tenth of the season so before the month is out, he could be achieving yet another milestone moment in a B’s sweater (253 career wins), and again making history & taking history from “one of the game’s early innovators” as The Hockey News also highlighted below in their informative & engaging Tiny Thompson Top 100 Goalies of All-Time profile:

I don’t think I’d be going out on a limb (a limb that in full disclosure I have gone out on before) in predicting ALL of the above won’t sit well with the Tuukka Haters Club, a club that regrettably gains membership all too easily & all too frequently without the slightest bit of logic or hockey sense. Sure, his personality & play sometimes opens the door for criticism & complaints, especially this season. But, even the blackest Black N’ Gold thoughts can show a bit of gold on the historic feats being featured in this eponymous blog, and elsewhere throughout the Internets.

I mean, it takes a helluva career — one that I personally think still has enough in the tank to take the B’s to The Cup (and WIN) — to accomplish what Rask has, and will, this season alone. And to now be in the same company as Tiny Thompson, whose first name was Cecil… well, that’s nothing to scoff at for the finely-finishing Fin or his fans (which I’m predicting won’t be growing despite the accolades, unfortunately).

So, to paraphrase a quote about another famous Cecil (B. DeMille), I think Tuukka Rask is ready for his close-up. He’s definitely deserving of it. I can think of 469 reasons why (with another 253 on hold).

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Bruins Winter Classic Jersey Highlights History!

Image result for bruins winter classic jersey 2019(Photo Credit: Boston Globe)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @Evan007onTV

The Winter Classic.

There’s a reason the word “Classic” is in the title of hockey’s most famed & followed outdoor game. It literally means judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind. And boy oh boy did the Bruins do that definition justice with a truly outstanding, dare I say classic, choice for their New Year’s Day look against Chicago.

Since it was unveiled, the praise has been as consistent as a David Pastrnak one-timer from below the face-off circle. First from the fans:

Then from the writers/bloggers:

Then from the players themselves:

When I had the pleasure to preview this proposed look over the Summer in my Best Bruins Logos piece for the Black N’ Gold Blog, I “fittingly” featured the 1930’s iconic brown & gold BOLD B as one of the top (shelf) in team history, especially when donned largely by a man named Tiny. Sure, there are critics/haters who argue the “B” stands for “bland” or “boring,” but it held sway for a decade+ and was even brought back, as we know, for the NHL 75th anniversary jerseys of the late ’80s. To wit:

So, what will this new (and old at the same time) Winter Classic jersey bring back for the B’s and their fans? Hopefully, a sense of Bruins pride and appreciation — not just for the franchise’s heritage, but also their continued hockey tradition of representing the Original 6 of the game at the most enjoyable outdoor game of the season. And speaking of traditions…

I think we should all “tip our caps” to, and for, this to happen. After all, it would be classic Boston Bruins, just like their new Winter Classic wardrobe (<—click the hyperlink to get your very own jersey & WC gear today)!

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The Bruins’ Art Ross: More Than A Trophy

By: Travis Bibb   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BruinsPreds 

Anyone who loves the modern iteration of professional hockey should be singing the praises of Art Ross every time they sit down to watch a game. Most NHL fans are familiar with Ross’ namesake trophy but lack a deeper appreciation of his contribution to the NHL in general. A man with a bevy of innovations credited to his name and solid playing career in his own right, he was also inextricably tied to the fledgling Boston Bruins franchise. We should have a greater understanding of the man behind the hardware.

Ross had a career that spanned across 13 seasons. In that time he played for the Kenora Thistles, the original Ottawa Senators, and the Montreal Wanderers. After only four games with the Wanderers, a fire burned down the Montreal Arena on January 2, 1918. Ross then retired with two Stanley Cups to his name. He was only the second player to win back to back Stanley Cups with different teams.

Photos Credit:  Eric Zweig

In 1924, the Ontario native was managing a Montreal sporting goods store when he was picked by Bruins’ first president, grocery magnate Charles Adams, as Boston’s first general manager. Ross also acted as vice president, scout, and most importantly, coach. Though the Bruins only won six out of the 30 games played that inaugural season, Ross would go on to be a legend not only in Boston but across the league. He used his vast resources throughout the hockey community to sign new players from both Canada and the U.S. to improve the Bruins’ lineup. In 1926, he convinced Adams to purchase 5 teams from the folding Canadian Western Hockey League for $300,000. His hunch that the teams harbored potential talent turned out to be correct, and Boston was rewarded with future Hall of Famers like Eddie Shore.

Photo Credit:  Third String Goalie

Outside of his eye for talent Ross left an impact that is still evident in the current day NHL. He invented the beveled-edge pucks that are still in use today, and it would be hard to imagine a game without his innovative mesh netting in the goal, which kept the puck from bouncing back out into play. He even helped evolve skates, adding a fiber guard that protected players Achilles tendon. In a playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens on March 27, 1930, Ross was the first ever coach to pull the goalie (Tiny Thompson) for an extra attacker. Years later Thompson would suggest that Ross use a backup goaltender to extend Thompson’s career shelf life while training the new goalie, now a convention of modern hockey.

Photo Credit:  Pinterest

While Art Ross never personally wore a black and gold sweater, he made a lasting impact on the Bruins organization with a brilliant legacy that I have just scratched the surface of here. Think of Mr. Ross the next time you run your fingers over a pucks edge and thank him every time a puck stays in the net. Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Sources:
http://www.NHL.com/bruins/team/history
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Ross