Sunday

Glen Murray

Lumbering Glen Murray was a dangerous scorer at the turn of the 21st century. The Halifax native started his career in Boston and Pittsburgh (parts of six seasons), moved on to Los Angeles where he emerged as a 30 goal threat when healthy, before returning to Boston and emerging as a star alongside Joe Thornton.
Murray joined the Bruins early in the 2001-02 season. He added 35 goals in Boston, adding to the 6 he scored in LA for a total of 41 goals. The next season he went on to register 44 goals and 92 points the next season.
"There's a guy who never cheated the system. He brought the maximum of his abilities and was a very, very respected hockey player," said former NHL coach Jacques Demers, a clear admirer of Murray's.
"I didn't know him personally, but I knew him as a player and respected him. When we played against certain players, we'd try and make sure they didn't get the puck around the circle from the blue line in, and he was one of them. He wasn't the greatest skater, but he was a big man and extremely dangerous with the puck. He could score from anywhere."

It must have been very vindicating for Murray to return Boston and be a top marksman. When he originally arrived in Beantown, his size and style of play drew immediate comparisons to none other than Cam Neely. Under the burden of those weighty expectations he left town as a disappointment, but he came back as an all star game representative.
Murray also won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2004 world championships. A former first-round draft pick, he retired following the 2007-08 season with the second-most points ever by a Nova Scotian in the NHL. He scored 337 goals and 314 assists for 651 points in 1009 NHL games. He added another 20 goals and 42 points in 94 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Glen Murray retired after the 2008 season. He returned to California to live though he still has strong personal and business ties in Nova Scotia. He is the owner of the Bridgewater Hotel in Bridgewater, NS.

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Saturday

George "Red" Sullivan


Peterborough, Ontario's George "Red" Sullivan played in 557 NHL games with Boston, Chicago and mostly the New York Rangers. He scored 107 goals and 346 points. He never won the Stanley Cup as a player, but the Stanley Cup ring he earned as scout for the 1972 Bruins was his most cherished possession.

"There is no feeling like it. Being part of that Bruins team really filled a void that I had as a player, never winning a Stanley Cup. There really is no words to explain how I felt when won the Stanley Cup," he told The Hockey News

 Described as a "spirited centerman with a handy touch around the net," Sullivan liked the stir things up. He was known to run at goaltenders, with Jacques Plante being his favorite target.

He was also a man known to have a lot of fun.

"The most fun I had was playing in New York. I was a night person and New York had lots of action at night. And I liked the action. I was known as a guy who would break a few curfews now and then. But I always made sure I was ready to play the next game we had to play."

Sullivan didn't have too much fun the night Doug Harvey speared him.

"We were playing against the Montreal Canadiens and Doug Harvey, a man who I still like and have a great deal of respect for, speared me. I suffered an injury to my spleen," Sullivan explained.

"It was one of those situations where Harvey was paying me back for something I had done to him the night before. On this particular occasion, I had given it to him the night before when I kicked the skates right out from under him during a game. That's something you don't do. So I knew I was going to get it the next night. I just didn't expect to be speared, which is something you don't do either."

Sullivan understates the severity of the injury.

"It didn't end my career that night. But I think it had something to do with the fact that I retired a short time thereafter.

He did not mention that a Catholic priest was brought in to read him his last rights. Mind you, that may just be a legend nowadays.

Sullivan was an offensive star in junior and the AHL, serving as more of a set-up man than a shooter. He became more of a role player and penalty killer in the NHL, but still made solid offensive contributions. In his best season, 1958-59, he scored 21 goals and 63 points, second most on the Rangers behind Andy Bathgate.

Sullivan was also a leader, serving as team captain of the Rangers in the latter years of his career. He went to coach the Rangers, the Penguins and Capitals and was a long time scout.

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Wayne Rivers

This 1963-64 Topps card #17, a genuine Wayne Rivers rookie card.


Chances are you've never heard much about Wayne Rivers. The Hamilton, Ontario born right winger played 108 NHL games in the 1960s, mostly with Boston but also with St. Louis, New York and Detroit. He had a more notable five year career in the WHA with New York and San Diego, averaging close to a point a game.

But you can impress your friends and enemies by correctly naming Wayne Rivers as the answer to this obscure trivia question: Who scored the last regular season goal of the Original Six era?

The 1966-67 season came to a close on April 1st, 1967. There were three games on the schedule that night including Boston vs. Toronto. It was Rivers who scored the very last goal of that historic regular season. At 19:18 of the third period Rivers scored to make the final score 5-2.

While Rivers only scored 15 goals in the NHL, he was a notable goal scorer at every other level. He had 158 in the WHA, and another 251 in 490 games in the 1960s AHL.

The AHL in the 1960s must have been some great hockey. Remember, there was only 6 NHL teams so the talent level in the "A" must have been pretty high, right?

“The pace isn’t as fast in the American League where they play positional hockey, do a lot of passing and don’t skate as fast or as much,” Rivers said.

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Wednesday

Murray Henderson

Murray Henderson played eight seasons in the NHL, not bad for a fellow who looked at hockey as a sideline.

Murray first played for the Toronto Young Rangers (OHA) in 1940-41. He then went on to play for the Toronto Marlboros and the Royal Canadian Air Force of the OHA Sr. league.

In the pre-war days Murray was more interested in learning prices and parts than acquiring a higher knowledge of passes and pucks.

"I used to play for fun, just as a sideline. I don't believe the idea of playing professional hockey ever entered my head, even though my uncles Charlie, Roy and Lionel Conacher were All-Stars. The first time I gave it any serious thought was when I got out of the service and Harold "Baldy" Cotton talked to me about coming to Boston. Even then I wasn't sold on the idea, but I decided to take the chance and I have never regretted that I did. " Murray said during an interview in 1950.

Cotton who himself had a stellar 12-year NHL career was the Bruins "talent-tabber" and searched for prospects all around Ontario. He had his eyes on Murray for years. Murray walked into the Boston Arena for his first Bruins practice in the spring of 1945, a few days after receiving compassionate leave from the RCAF where he had been a coastal patrol pilot when his father passed away.

"When I came to Boston I was horribly out of condition, because I hadn't played very much in a year and a half. The Bruins put me with the Olympics (Boston's amateur team) to get into shape. I played half a dozen games with them,then got a crack at the Bruins " Murray remembered.

Murray especially remembered his first ever NHL game when he was paired with the legendary Aubrey "Dit" Clapper, a Hall of Famer.

" It was in Detroit, we lost, and late in the game I got my first chance to play. I went out on defense with Dit Clapper. "

One would think that Murray recieved a lot of instructions from his famous uncles while he was learning his way around the ice, but that wasn't the case.

" It doesn't seem to me that they were around much when I was little " Murray reflected. " At least I can't recall when they might have seen me play, before I joined the Bruins, that is. One or all of them might have seen me somewhere along the line, but I don't remember when. "

Although Murray's uncles gave him tips later in his career, it was his former teammates Dit Clapper and Jack Crawford who were his biggest benefactors.

"Dit gave me the benefit of his experience while I was playing with him, he was my partner for my first two years, and he always had advice and tips after he retired to the bench. Then I also learned a lot from watching Jack work. " , Murray said.

Murray wasn't a devotee of the "rock 'em and sock 'em" style of defensive play, although he threw his weight around effectively when it was necessary. At that time he boiled his playing theory down to one sentence.

"I figure my job is to try to stop the other team from scoring " he said, " and I try to do that in whatever way I can. "

Murray continued to patrol the Bruins blue line in unspectacular but steady fashion until 1952. He then winded down his career by playing four seasons (1952-56) for the Hershey Bears in the AHL, making the AHL 2nd All-Star team in 1955.

Murray was not nearly as skilled as his famous uncles but always gave an honest effort in the rink and was an important part of the post-war Bruins team.

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Friday

Frank Simonetti

Frank Simonetti played collegiate hockey at Norwich University, a ECAC II squad. So it should come as no surprises that Simonetti was overlooked in the NHL Entry Draft.

However what does come as a bit of a surprise is that a player from that low level managed to play 4 years of professional hockey, including 115 NHL Games with the hometown Boston Bruins..

Frank was signed as a Free Agent by the Bruins on October 4, 1984. He was a skilled player - good skating and puck movement. He however was fragile blueliner who suffered a number of injuries that limited his effectiveness. His ailments included mononucleosis and a severely damaged shoulder. The injuries finally forced Simonetti to retire in 1988.

Simonetti scored 5 goals and 8 assists in those 115 games. While injuries made his pro career disappointing, it was a bit of a small miracle that he even made it to the bigs in the first place. Frank Simonetti is probably the only player from Norwich University to play 4 seasons in the NHL.

Simonetti has been very active in the Pan-Mass Bicycle Challenge, which has raised over $300 million to fight cancer.


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Sunday

Scott McLellan

Scott McLellan was hardly the most memorable Boston Bruins player. He played all of 2 games for the Bruins in 1982-83, the only two games of his NHL career. The Peterborough Petes graduate only played 2 professional seasons.

McLellan returned home to Toronto and became a key player in the city's condominium development scene. For 18 years Scott was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tridel Corporation. He is currently Senior V.P. at Plazacorp, Toronto. He is quickly helping Plaze become one of Canada's leading condominium developers.

According to Wikipedia, McLellan also doubled as a scout for the Boston Bruins from 1994 through 1999.

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Monday

Rockabye Ray Gariepy

Rockabye Ray Gariepy passed away on March 16th, 2012.

Ray was born in Toronto on September 4th, 1928. He was adopted by the Gariepy family soon after. He left school early help his family in the bush and mines in the Timmins area.

Gariepy learned to skate at the age of 13. Soon after he took up the game of hockey. By 16 he joined the Barrie Flyers and his hockey career was on his way. He would play 8 professional seasons including 35 games with the Boston Bruins in 1953-54. The defenseman would play one more game with Toronto.

Gariepy earned the nickname Rockabye Ray for his devastating physical play. "Gariepy is one of the hardest body checkers I have ever seen," said Hockey Hall of Famer King Clancy. "I've never seen a harder one in all my years in hockey."

During the off season Ray worked as a bricklayer, then moved to concrete sales. In the late 1960s he established Simcoe Building Materials. He was married for 60 years and had 10 children.

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Perk Galbraith

One of the best defensive forwards of his era, Walter Percival "Perk" Galbraith was known for his ability to play keep-away with the puck thanks to his skillful stickhandling. Of course, those were the days prior to 1929 when forward passing was prohibited and such displays were more commonplace.

Galbraith was never really was able to transform those skills into an offensive role. He only scored 29 goals and 31 assists for 60 points in 347 career games. Instead he was often used on the penalty kill and to defend leads, often teaming with Art Chapman.

A big man who could skate like the wind, he was extremely effective at shutting down top wingers like the Rangers' Bill Cook or the Leafs' Charlie Conacher. He was so adept at the defensive game that the Bruins even gave Galbraith a few shifts on the blue line when Eddie Shore held out for a better contract.

After his NHL days he moved to Eveleth, Minnesota and in 1939 he became part owner of the St. Paul franchise in the American Hockey Association. In 1941 served as head coach of Minneapolis of the same league. He also operated a roller rink in Minneapolis and was treasure of another rink in the city.

Perk Galbraith, 1929 Stanley Cup champion, died in 1961.

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Jack McGill

Jack McGill may have been the greatest hockey superstar who never was.

A junior star out of Edmonton, McGill spent his first pro season apprenticing with the Boston Bruins farm team. He absolutely lit up the EAHL with the Boston Olympics, scoring an amazing 34 goals and 68 points in 36 games.

Later in the season the Bruins became depleted by players enrolling to participate in World War II. On top of that the great Dit Clapper got hurt, and then ace playmaker Bill Cowley, who would later retire as the NHL's all time leading scorer. McGill was the obvious fill in at center ice.

McGill immediately was slotted in on the top line, centering Eddie Wiseman and Roy Conacher. When Cowley returned McGill continued his strong play while centering Gordie Bruce and Dutch Hiller

McGill put up unreal numbers. In 13 games he scored 8 goals, 11 assists and 19 points. That translates into 30 goals, 41 assists and 71 points in a full 48 game season. He was hot in the playoffs, too. He scored 4 goals and 5 points in 5 post season games.

Needless to say McGill impressed many in his short stint in the NHL. But like so many young NHL players at the time, World War II would call upon McGill's services. He joined the Canadian army, and was stationed in Ottawa. He continued to play hockey in his 3 lost seasons.

For whatever reason, Jack McGill could not find his brilliance when he returned the Bruins line up after the war. He would play in 84 games over three seasons from 1945 through 1948, but only scored another 15 goals and 25 assists. He spent a lot of time playing in the AHL, where he found his game. In 338 AHL games he scored 141 goals and 432 points.

Jack McGill set the NHL on fire when he first arrived. World War II robbed him of the next three seasons, but it is still hard to understand how he never found his younger game upon his return from the Canadian army.

Special Thanks to Derek Thurber

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Sunday

Dallas Smith

This is Dallas Smith, a tough, stay at home defenseman who often played along side a more offensive defense partner you may have heard of - Bobby Orr.

Smith did not make the Bruins right away. He played 5 games in the 1959-60 season and a full 70 in 1960-61. After that he played only 9 games until the NHL expanded in 1967. He was toiling in places like Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco and Oklahoma City.

Once the NHL doubled in size in 1967 there became twice as many jobs in the NHL. Smith played an unheralded role with the high scoring Bruins for the next ten seasons. They would win Stanley Cups in 1970 and 1972.

Smith was Orr's defensive stop-gap. He was good for around 30 points a year himself. You can imagine how most of those points came about. "Here Bobby, take the puck." Next thing you know its in the net.

Smith was also the answer to an interesting trivia question. In 1967-68 the NHL first recorded the +/- stat. With a +33, Smith was the very first season leader in this category. A few years later he would post a +94, 124. which remains the 4th highest +/- ever recorded. Orr, by the way, set the record that same season with a +124. Smith probably would have posted a higher mark himself, but on a couple dozen goals orchestrated by Orr Smith more than likely had already headed to the bench on a line change!

Smith ended up with a career +335. He also scored 55 goals, 252 assists and 307 points in 890 NHL games.  He also played in four straight All-Star games from 70-71 to 73-74.

Smith retired in 1976, but after a season off he came back to the NHL. Former Bruins teammate Phil Esposito thought so highly of this underrated defender that he convinced him to come out of retirement and join him in New York to play with the Rangers.

His teammates called him ‘Half Ton’ not because of his size, but because whenever they were in a different city playing, he’d look for half-ton trucks to buy. Why? Because he needed them for his off-season job. Smith was a farmer back home Manitoba.  He continued to own farmland for many years even though he eventually moved to Oregon.

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Friday

Art Jackson

Art Jackson was the younger brother of Hall of Famer Busher Jackson. The brothers played together for short periods of time in both Toronto and Boston.

Art was a heck of a player in his own right. In the 1930s and 1940s he played in 468 games mostly between Toronto and Boston, with a season with the New York Americans. He scored a total of 123 goals and 301 points.

Playing behind superstars Bill Cowley and Milt Schmidt, Art Jackson often centered the Bruins third line with Herb Cain and Terry Reardon. Their job was to shut down the opposition, something Jackson excelled at. He also did so cleanly, only picking up 144 career penalty minutes.

During the years of World War II depleted rosters of 1942 and 1943 Jackson and Cain moved up to a line with the classy veteran Cowley. Jackson responded with his best two seasons statistically, scoring 22 and 28 goals, and 53 and 69 points, respectively. Not bad at all for a 50 game schedule.

Jackson also led the Bruins in the playoffs in 1943, scoring 6 goals and 9 points in 9 games. The Bruins did not win the Stanley Cup that year, but Jackson did help the Bruins win in 1941. He also celebrated another Stanley Cup championship in Toronto in 1945.

Jackson went on to coaching Junior “A” hockey in St. Catharines, Ontario, and worked at the Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. in St. Catharines. He passed away in 1971, suffering a heart attack at the age of 55.

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Art Chapman

Art Chapman quietly played ten seasons in the National Hockey League. He was far from a notable goal scorer, but was described as "a smooth operating centre and good playmaker."

Art Chapman played his junior hockey in Winnipeg and senior hockey with the Winnepeg Falcons and then Port Arthur. He turned pro with Springfield of the Canadian-American league, then played with the Providence Reds.

The Boston Bruins signed him in 1930-31. Art Ross was in an experimental mood and Chapman was used in various combinations, playing on lines with Harold Darragh and Red Beattie, George Owen and Percy Galbraith, Bill Touhey and Eddie Burke or Joe Jerwa and Joe Lamb in 3 and 1/2 seasons with the Bruins.

Chapman was traded to the New York Americans during the 1933-34 season with Bob Gracie for Lloyd Gross and George Patterson, and the next season was joined on the wings by Sweeney Schriner and Lorne Carr, and this combination was the main attraction of the star-spangled crew for the next five years.

Chapman finished 6th in NHL scoring with 9 goals, a league-leading 34 assists for 43 points in 1934-35. He set up Schriner and Carr for their goals.In 1936-37, he made the second all-star team despite his team's last place finish.

He began to fade in 1937-38, but the Amerks had depth that year and finished second in the Canadian Division and pulled a big upset, beating their powerful rivals, the Rangers, in a classic overtime goal Carr scored to win the series, and the Amazing Amerks almost beat Chicago, but fell in the third and deciding game.

When Schriner was traded to Toronto, Chapman and Carr played with Harvey Jackson in 1939-40, but this was the final NHL season for Art as a player in the NHL and he retired after the playoffs.

Red Dutton hired him as his assistant coach but by December 18th, 1941, Dutton stepped down as coach and gave Chapman the job, deciding to concentrate on the ownership and management of the team. After winning four and losing four, the Amerks went right back to losing and finished last again.

After the Americans folded in September 1942,Chapman decided to pull on a uniform and became player-coach of the AHL's Buffalo Bisons. He led them to two straight Calder Cups and then eventually would coach the Vancouver Canucks of the Western League. In 1953-54, he coached them to a first place finish.

Chapman was born May 29th, 1906, and died January 1st, 1963

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Thursday

Gordie Bruce

Gordie Bruce is hardly the best known player in Boston Bruins history. He only played 28 regular season games plus 7 in the playoffs. He spent most of his 11 seasons with the Hershey Bears of the AHL.

Most of his action came in 1941-42 as a war replacement player. The famous Kraut Line of Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart were all serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Fellow star Bill Cowley was unable to play with an injury. Bruce came up for 15 games, scoring a respectable 4 goals and 12 points.

The highlight of that season came in the playoffs. Bruce played in 5 post season games, scoring 2 goals and 5 points. His two goals came in a 3-2 win in the clinching game against Chicago. He then notched three assists in game one against Detroit, setting up all of Jack McGill's hat trick goals.

It appeared that the Bruins had found themselves an up and coming player in Gordie Bruce. Then, like so often happened during the War, Bruce was enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces. He would spend the next three hockey seasons serving his country, essentially costing him a NHL career.

When he returned to hockey in 1946 he played 4 strong seasons in Hershey but aside from a 5 game stint (0 points) he never got a shot at the NHL again.

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Saturday

Don Cherry

Don Cherry. He needs no introduction. He was a controversial and more successful coach. Then he became a very controversial and even more successful broadcaster.

But not everyone realizes he was once a NHL player.

Well, once being the key word. He played 16 professional seasons totalling about 1150 pro games, but just one time did he play in the National Hockey League.

"As a kid I prayed to God to make me a professional hockey player. I should have specified in the NHL," the man they call "Grapes" is fond of saying.

Hey, at least it was a Stanley Cup playoff game. And no one was more proud than Don Cherry's mother. She made him a whole bunch of home-made cookies and cakes. The Bruins kidded the rookie pretty good about that after the game. Imagine that - a rookie entering the dressing room carrying bags of cookies and cakes. They may have teased him about it, but they were also sure to help themselves. It's not certain that Cherry ever did get to taste any of those celebratory baked goods.

Had it not been for his reincarnation many years later as a successful coach and boisterous television personality that is probably what would be remembered about Don Cherry's NHL career - his mother's baking.

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Friday

Bob Armstrong

Bob Armstrong was a solid stay-at-home defenseman who graduated to the Bruins after one season in the AHL with the Hershey Bears. Nicknamed "Satch," Armstrong played 542 NHL games, scoring 13 goals and 99 points.

Bill Quackenbush tutored him as a rookie though he partnered with Leo Boivin for most of this career. Both Armstrong and Boivin were noted hard hitters, making for an intimidating Boston back line. But Armstrong was clean, not picking up a lot of unnecessary penalties, unless of course he somehow lost his gloves and stick. Armstrong was not much of an offensive threat. He never rushed the puck and his odd goal would usually come from a blast at the point.

After 9 solid seasons in a Bruin uniform, Bob was released to the Montreal organization to coach one of their minor league teams in Hull-Ottawa of the Eastern Professional Hockey League. It was in Hull-Ottawa that Bob had a run-in with Don Cherry that merits mention in Don's book, Grapes. What Don failed to mention is that Don broke his stick over Bob's head, giving Bob a concussion.

While Bob was playing for the Bruins, he continued his schooling, eventually earning a degree from the University of Western Ontario. After being traded from the Montreal organization to Toronto, a teaching opportunity opened up at Lakefield College in Peterborough, Ontario and Bob began his second career. Along with teaching history and economics, Bob coached the hockey team.

Bob's son, Ian, played at the school, and later with the Peterborough Petes of the OHA, and in 1983 Ian was drafted by the Bruins, 142nd overall.

Bob passed away in the summer of 1995.

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Thursday

Bert McInenly

This is Bertram Harold McInenly. He played a full season with each of the Detroit Falcons, New York Americans, Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins in the early 1930s. He spent most of the decade playing in what is now known as the AHL.

Born in Quebec he grew up in Ottawa where he became a notable amateur hockey star. He also excelled at baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse and paddling.

McInenly settled on professional hockey and baseball. He was a home run hitter in a pro league in western Canada while wintering in Detroit, starring on the blue line of the Detroit Olympics of the CPHL. He decided to give up baseball around the same time the Detroit Falcons arrived in the NHL. They were quick to sign up the "local" star.

McInenly also proved to be excellent at multiple spots on the ice. He usually played on defense, but was also used at both center and left wing. When he joined the New York Americans he move up front and scored 12 goals and 18 points in his most productive NHL season.

He returned home to Ottawa in 1932, to great fanfare. Returning to the blue line was a big reason for a quiet season. Early the following season he was moved to Boston, though he mostly played with the minor league Cubs rather than the NHL Bruins. McInenly would get into 43 NHL games with the Bruins over the next three seasons.

All told Bert McInenly played in 166 NHL games. He scored 19 goals, 15 assists and 34 points.

Bert McInenly died in 1993. He was 87 years old.

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Jack Portland


This neat cartoon tells us a lot about what we need to know about Jack Portland, NHL defenseman from 1933 through 1943. He was best known for playing with the Boston Bruins, along side defensive linemate Eddie Shore. He also had two stints with the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks. All told he played 381 NHL games (and 33 more in the playoffs), scoring 15 goals and 71 points (1 goal and 4 points in the playoffs).

As the cartoon states, jumping to professional hockey must have been quite the adjustment for Portland. The native of Collingwood, Ontario apparently never played any serious level of organized hockey prior to turning pro! The only statistical reference for Portland playing prior to joining the Montreal Canadiens in 1933 was a season with the Collingwood Combines in an Ontario senior league!

Perhaps Portland was too busy pursuing other athletic pursuits such as track and field. He participated in the high jump and triple jump events at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He was the national high jump champion in 1930, 1931 and 1932 and finished in 7th place in the LA Games. Not bad considering he was completely self taught.

From there he went on to the NHL, but only after eschewing opportunities to play pro football both in Canada and the United States. He was also a notable baseball player. The Montreal Canadiens signed Portland at the recommendation of former NHL player turned scout Bert Corbeau.

In the NHL Portland was always overshadowed by flashier stars such as Shore. He was a rugged, capable defender, burly and heavy at well over 200lbs. He was far from the fastest or most agile skater. In fact when he broke into the league he looked so awkward that he heard the cat calls from Montreal fans. That led to his departure from Montreal. He really found his game in Boston where he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 1939.

World War II ended his career prematurely. He left to serve in the Canadian military in 1943. Unlike a lot NHL players who served in World War II, it appears Portland did not play with military teams during his service time. There is no statistical evidence to suggest he did play.

He attempted to return to the ice in 1946, but was cut by the Montreal Canadiens. Interestingly, though he was not bitter about being cut, he never set foot in the Montreal Forum again until 1990 when he attended a game between Montreal and Boston.

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Red Beattie

This is John "Red" Beattie. He played 335 NHL games in the 1930s, mostly with the Boston Bruins but also with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Americans. He scored 62 goals, 85 assists and 147 points.

Beattie was a notable scorer in his pre-NHL days, including with the Vancouver Lions of the PCHL at the close of the 1920s. He was so well thought of the Bruins and New York Rangers fought over his NHL rights. The Rangers were actually awarded Beattie, but the Bruins boss Art Ross paid the handsome price of $25,000 (remember this was during the Great Depression) for Beattie and Joe Jerwa.

Ross may have been happy to get his man, but he could not have been too happy when Beattie suffered a broken leg in what promised to be his first full NHL season. He only played in one game in 1931-32.

Beattie recovered and became a very serviceable defensive winger, noted for blanketing such stars as Charlie Conacher and Bill Cook. He put up decent numbers himself, but was never nearly as celebrated as many of his teammates like Bill Cowley or Dit Clapper or Eddie Shore.

Beattie is the answer to a pretty unique NHL trivia question. On March 25th, 1937 he was called for the first ever NHL playoff penalty shot when he fell on the puck in front of his own goal. Boston goalie Tiny Thompson stopped Montreal Maroons' Lionel Conacher much to the relief of Beattie, I'm sure.

Born in Ibstock, England in 1907, Beattie passed away in 1990.

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Jim "Peggy" O'Neill

This is James (Jim) Beaton "Peggy" O'Neill. The native of Semans, Saskatchewan played 156 NHL games in the 1930s, mostly with the Boston Bruins but also with the Montreal Canadiens. He later coached the Fenn College Foxes hockey team.

Of course the only question people ever ask about this long forgotten player nowadays is, "How did he get the nickname Peggy?"

I do not know the answer in full certainty, but it appears that "Peggy O'Neill" was a very popular song in the 1920s, especially in New England. Perhaps the name stuck from there.

O'Neill the hockey player (also listed as O'Neil by some sources) did not score very often. In those 156 games he had just 6 goals plus 30 assists. And he was a forward, not a defenseman!

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Monday

Bobby Orr

"He's the perfect hockey player."

Those are the words of Boston coach/GM Harry Sinden, who had the best look at Orr on a nightly basis and insists Orr is the best player ever because he blended extraordinary talent and a brand of toughness that no one else has ever possessed.

"(Gordie) Howe could do everything, but not at top speed. (Bobby) Hull went at top speed but couldn't do everything. The physical aspect is absent from (Wayne) Gretzky's game. Orr would do everything, and do it at top speed."

To make matters even more interesting, Orr was the sport's most dominant player, arguably its perfect player, and he did from the blue line. By doing so Orr revolutionized the game of hockey. His slick passing and playmaking and his end to end rushes were unheard of by a defenseman. Only the very very best forwards would try a solo effort. Orr did it seemingly effortlessly, and so convincingly, therefore forever changing the hockey landscape.

Perhaps the great writer Jack Falla sums it up best:

“Orr had broken scoring records by such huge margins and played with such creativity and abandon as to alter a half century of tactical hockey orthodoxy about the proper role of a defenseman.”

Before Bobby Orr defensemen were counted on primarily for defensive purposes. They would rarely join a rush, never mind lead one. They stayed in front of the net and helped clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Their main job offensively was to get the puck out of their end and create a quick transition game. The best players would almost always be forwards.

But the kid from Parry Sound, Ontario played like a forward, while still delivering sound defense. His display of end to end rushes and his mastery on the point of the power play changed the way offense was generated, and how defenses would cover them. He was simply the most skilled player the NHL has ever seen, even more so than Wayne Gretzky or even Mario Lemieux, both of whom benefit from the game revolutionized by Orr.

Orr won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1967. He would finished second in scoring among defenseman with 13 goals and 41 points, astounding numbers in those days. Harry Howell won the Norris Trophy that year, but was quoted after being named the winner - "I might as well enjoy it (Norris Trophy) now, because I expect it's going to belong to Bobby Orr from now on." He would be proven correct.

By 1969 Orr set an NHL record for defensemen scoring with 64 points including 21 goals. The following season he would nearly double that point total to 120 points based on 33 goals and 87 assists, becoming the first defenseman to score 100 points in a season, and the first (and only) to lead the league in scoring! In three years Orr obliterated scoring records not only for defensemen, but for all players.

The 1970-71 season was Orr's best statistically, as he piled in an amazing 139 points based on 37 goals and 102 assists. No player had ever scored 100 assists in one season before, and only two have since (Gretzky and Lemieux). Remember, this was all before Wayne Gretzky's offensive rewriting of the record books. These numbers were even more mind-boggling than Gretzky's considering Orr was a defenseman, and the era he played in.

1974-75 would rival the 1970-71 season as Orr was on a mission to become the first defenseman to score 50 goals. He came up just short, finishing with 46, but added 89 helpers for 135 points. No defenseman has ever scored 50 goals since, although Paul Coffey bettered Orr's total by 2.

All this time Orr was bothered by knee surgeries. However he managed to play a full schedule for the most part. During his prime he played 75-80 games, with the 1972-73 season being the lone exception. He played in only 63 that year, yet still managed 101 points.

He would end up winning the Norris Trophy as best defenseman for 8 consecutive years. In 1970 he became the first player in history to win down four individual trophies in one season. He won the Norris, Art Ross (Top scorer), Hart (MVP) and Conn Smythe (MVP in playoffs). He ended up with 3 Harts and 2 Smythe Trophies, as well as two Stanley Cup rings.

Speaking of Stanley Cups, Orr may have scored the most famous playoff goal in hockey history. Orr's overtime goal that won the final game of the playoffs and brought the Cup back to Beantown for the first time in 29 years. Just 40 seconds into overtime of game four, Orr took a centering pass from Derek Sanderson right in the slot and shot it past a sprawling St. Louis Blues goaltender, Glenn Hall. As soon as the puck hit the back of the net, Blues defenseman Noel Picard would hook Orr's skate with his stick, sending Orr flying through the air. The picture of Orr celebrating the winning goal in mid-flight will forever be etched in the minds of hockey fans all around the world.

Orr finished his career with 270 goals and 915 points in 657 games, absolutely mind boggling numbers for a defenseman. He remains as the only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring. He held 12 individual records at the time of his retirement. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1979. Perhaps the greatest accolade given to Orr was the by the fans. The Boston Globe once conducted a poll of New Englanders to determine who was the greatest athlete in Boston history. It was not Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Bob Cousy, Bill Russell or Larry Bird. The winner was Number Four, Bobby Orr.

Often overlooked is Orr's physical attributes. He was a ferocious body checker and an astute shot blocker. People would often tell Bobby not to sacrifice his body, because his knees couldn't handle the punishment, and he was good enough to play without that abuse. Bobby would simply reply "It's the only way I know how to play."

Orr's brilliant career was shortened by bad knees. Had he been able to continue for a few more years, maybe there would be no question as to who is the greatest of all time.

In January 1998, The Hockey News named Orr the second greatest player of all time, behind only Wayne Gretzky. He would finish just 13 polling points out of first, and 13 points ahead of third place Gordie Howe. I think that proves the three stars from different eras are on a level all on their own.

Howe dominated the way hockey was always played, up and down the wing, bash and crash and physically intimidate. Gretzky would dominate the all offense era of fast skating and high scoring. Some how the game had changed between the Howe and Gretzky eras. Bobby Orr was largely instrumental in the revolutionization of hockey. One can only imagine how much more he would have altered the game had he been fortunate enough to stay healthy.

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Rick Middleton

This is "Nifty" Rick Middleton. He was part of one of the more one-sided trades in NHL history.

After a spectacular career in junior with the Oshawa Generals, Middleton started his career in New York with the Rangers, who drafted 14th overall in 1973. He had great speed and puckhandling, but he was not well received in The Big Apple. He was often criticized for being lazy and weak defensively.

The Rangers grew impatient with him, and moved him to Boston. The Bruins offered the aging Ken Hodge to the Rangers, who jumped at the chance to reunite him with Phil Esposito. The two were great together early in the 1970s with the Bruins. The Rangers had hope to rekindle the magic in New York.

Ultimately, that never happened thanks mainly to father time. Middleton, meanwhile, exploded in Boston. He became an exciting fan favorite, even though he was not the typical Boston hockey hero. He was not rough and tumble, but rather a fancy pants with incredible stickhandling ability especially in traffic. Add to that his great skating which featured a couple different gears to change it up and he could deke defenders right on to the highlight reel.


Moreover, Middleton rounded out his game into a solid overall game. And he did it all very cleanly, only collecting 157 penalty minutes in over 1000 NHL games. In 1982 he won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1982. 


Middleton, who teamed memorably with Barry Pederson, was Boston's top goal scorer from 1979 through 1984, scoring 38, 40, 44, 51, 49 and 47 goals in respective seasons. Only Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky and Marcel Dionne scored more goals in that time frame.

Despite that company, Middleton was never considered to be in that class. Perhaps he was nicely comparable to Lanny McDonald, who was right behind Middleton in goals in that time frame. Lanny was a more physical player, but Middleton, not McDonald was included on Team Canada 1981 and 1984 (playing with Wayne Gretzky). For whatever reason, McDonald (perhaps because he starred in Canada?) is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Middleton is not.

Rick Middleton played in 1005 NHL games, scoring 448 goals, 540 goals and 998 points. He just missed the 500 goal and 1000 mark plateaus, which are generally considered as musts to be Hall of Fame material. His career was cut short by a nasty concussion. The helmetless Middleton took a puck to the temple in 1986, ending his season. He did return to play two more seasons, but he continued to suffer headaches that eventually ended his career.

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Thursday

Peter McNab

Peter McNab's dad was a former journeyman hockey player, who won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 1950, and later went on to become the New Jersey Devils GM for a time, but most of his hockey career was spent in the minor Leagues. Perhaps that is why Peter was one of the first NHL'ers to go the route of US College Hockey before embarking on an NHL career.

After a fine College career Pete signed with Buffalo in 1973. After two full seasons in Buffalo where he scored 22 and 24 goals, Harry Sinden signed Peter as a free agent on June 11, 1976. He then preceded to etch his name among Bruin scoring leaders.

He was a fine puck carrier (though a lumbering skater), with a deadly accurate shot, that saw him notch 82 power play goals in his career. He was an excellent power play performer. Firstly he was excellent on face-offs, so coaches like to put him out to start the PP with possession. He would then park his big frame in front of the net, though he was anything but a dominating physical player. He was not there to simply obstruct the goaltender's view. He had excellent hand skills score from in tight on those loose pucks and rebounds. He also had excellent hand-eye coordination for tip-ins.

Peter's best game as a Bruin came against the Colorado Rockies, February 20, 1979, when he  had a hand in all 5 Bruins goals in a 5-3 Bruin victory. When he left the Bruins he ranked in the top ten all-time in goals, assists, points and playoff scoring for the Bruins.

Peter was traded to Vancouver on February 8, 1984 for Jim Nill. After the 1984-85 season in Vancouver, Peter found himself in New Jersey where his GM was also his dad. The contract negotiations must have been the ultimate in allowance discussions between father and son.

McNab retired in 1987 with 954 career games played. He scored 363 goals, 450 assists and 813 points.

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Tuesday

Smokey Harris

This is Smokey Harris. He is the answer to the trivia question "Who scored the first goal in Boston Bruins history?"

The Bruins were the first American NHL based team. Grocery magnate Charles Adams fell in love with hockey after watching the Montreal Canadiens defeat the Calgary Tigers in the 1924 Stanley Cup playoffs. By November Adams was granted a team, and on December 1st, 1924 the Bruins played their first NHL game, hosting their expansion cousins the Montreal Maroons at the Boston Arena.

The Maroons opened the scoring that night, with Dinny Dinsmore scoring on an unassisted effort at the 9 minute mark of the 1st period.

Cue Harris. At 3:30 of the second period he took a pass from Carson "Shovel Shot" Cooper and beat Maroons goaltender Clint Benedict to open the scoring. Exactly 6 minutes later Cooper scored the only other goal of the night, securing the Bruins a 2-1 victory in their very first game.

Despite the good start, the Bruins would have a long season, winning just 6 of 30 games on the schedule, finishing dead last. The Bruins line up featured few names that would go on to star in the NHL: Many were formerly hockey stars on the west coast, including Wilfred "Smokey" Harris.

Harris only played in 6 games with the Bruins that year, scoring 3 goals. For whatever reason the veteran was released and headed back west where he was a legend. People forget that these were the days of the NHL's infancy and many of the PCHA players and teams were every bit as good as the eastern league. But since the NHL eventually won over continental dominance, many of the great western players have been forgotten.

Born in Port Arthur, Ontario, Harris headed west and was a fantastic hockey star for about 20 years from 1911 through 1932. Known as a fast skater, smooth stickhandler and master "hook-checker," Harris was a strong, physical player in the PCHA, starring with the Vancouver Millionaires and Portland Rosebuds. A four time PCHA champion (3 in Vancouver, 1 in Portland), he participated in as many Stanley Cup championship series, too. But he never got his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup.

Harris, who also took regular turns on defense, later extended his career in the California pro league, playing in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It should be noted that Fred "Smokey" Harris is not the same person as "Smoky" Harris. That's actually his brother Henry, who also starred out west and toiled briefly with the Bruins. The younger sibling seemed to inherit his older brother's nickname at times.

As for the origins of the nickname - that remains a mystery to this author.

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Thursday

Shayne Stevenson

For most of us our first glimpse of Shayne Stevenson came in the 1990 Memorial Cup tournament.

The tournament was televised nationally, thanks to the Oshawa Generals participation in it. They had a certain young phenom that everyone wanted to see - Eric Lindros.

Lindros and the Generals were impressive in winning the Memorial Cup that year. While all eyes were on Lindros, others became noticed too. For me it was Iain Fraser, Dale Craigwell and Mike Craig with the Generals, and with the runner up Kitchener Rangers Steven Rice and Shayne Stevenson.

Stevenson was immediately noticeable and a fan favorite Ranger, playing with heart and desire, and scoring big goal after big goal. This guy was a hockey player.

The Boston Bruins thought so, too. The year previous the Bruins drafted Shayne with their 1st pick, 17th overall. They thought that they had got themselves a Bruin for many years to come. He was drafted ahead of such players like Olaf Kolzig, Adam Foote, Travis Green, Patrice Brisebois and Byron Dafoe to name a few.

Ultimately Stevenson never panned out with the Bruins or in the NHL. He had some maturity issues when he first turned pro, something that surprisingly does not happen more often in a world where teenagers are brought into the spotlight with big expectations.

Stevenson never got a fair chance after that. After a total of 19 games (1 assist) he was buried in the minor leagues before being released and signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He only got into 8 games (1 assist) with the Bolts before returning to the minors.

It was unfortunate, as Stevenson's love for hockey could never be questioned. He continued to play, bouncing around the AHL, IHL, CoHL, UHL, WPHL and even in Britain. You don't play for paychecks in some of those leagues. You play because you love the game.

Stevenson finally hung up the blades in 2001. He returned to Newmarket, Ontario and started a family with his wife and three kids. His love for hockey is still very evident, as he a fast rising and very promising coach.

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Wednesday

Sailor Herberts

One of the most underrated early day stars of the National Hockey League was Boston Bruins sensation Jimmy "Sailor" Herberts. Apparently his actual name was Herbert, but he never corrected the media on this. As a result, he is universally known as Herberts.

Jimmy Herberts was born in Cayuga, Ontario back in 1897. He earned the nickname Sailor because he worked as a deckhand on tanker ships on the Great Lakes. He always answered "Ahoy" when directly addressed as Sailor.

He was not a noted amateur star, but became in Boston in 1924-25, he became a star, especially when teamed with Carson "Shovel Shot" Cooper. The duo were dynamic thanks to their quick, short passing game that confused defenses.

The balding Herberts was an early fan favorite in Boston. He was Boston's key man, getting Hart Trophy votes in both of his first two seasons. He scored 17 goals in 30 games in 1924-25, then 26 tallies in 36 games in 1925-26. Furthermore, his brilliant playmaking was credited as the main reason for Cooper's 28 goal outburst in 1926.

Some things never change in Boston, and one of those is Bruins' fans' love of hard nosed hockey. The short tempered Herberts certainly met that standard, using either fist or stick.

Unfortunately his tempered cost him dearly from time to time. He led the Bruins in penalty minutes in his rookie season. In the 1927 Stanley Cup finals he was disgraceful in his attempts to intimidate the referee, resulting in a $50 fine. History has tended to forget his misgivings thanks to his more notorious teammates like Eddie Shore, Sprague Cleghorn and Lionel Hitchman.

With 8 goals (and 22 PIMS) in the opening 12 games of the 1927-28 season, Herberts was off to another strong start. But his heavy drinking and abrasive personality was wearing on the Bruins, so they traded him to Toronto in exchange for Eric Pettinger and cash.

Herberts never got untracked in Toronto, scoring just 7 goals in 31 games to finish the season. He was moved to Detroit before the next season, but in 2 seasons in the Motor City he continued to struggle.

Later in life he was part of a disturbing scandal where he was charged with drunken driving and badly assaulting his estranged wife. She survived, though barely as she was left lying battered and beat on a highway and was almost run over by a passing motorist. Police found Herberts passed out in his car further down the road. When he came to, he could not remember anything.

Herberts settled in Collingwood, Ontario, operating a tourist retreat with cabins on Wasaga Beach. He also coached and refereed for years.

Sailor Herberts died of cancer in 1969.

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Friday

Randy Burridge

Just 5'9" and 190 pounds, Randy Burridge wasn't the biggest player on the ice. Although he was never afraid of the physical game, Randy quickly learned to use his excellent one-step quickness to become a useful player in the land of giants known as the National Hockey League.

Randy was drafted 157th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1985 after a strong season with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. He turned pro the following year, but didn't hit his stride until 1987-88 when he scored 27 goals and 55 points. He added 12 points in 23 games as the Bruins unsuccessfully challenged the Edmonton Oilers for the Stanley Cup.

Randy  peaked in 1988-89, scoring a career high 31 goals. However injury problems took their toll on the Fort Erie, Ontario native. He would only tally 32 and 28 points in the following two seasons in Boston.
The lowered production and lack of healthy precipitated a trade to Washington. The Capitals moved Stephen Leach to Boston in hopes that Randy could remain healthy and rediscover his scoring touch. Their gamble paid off initially as Randy scored 23 goals and a career high 67 points despite missing 14 games in the 1991-92 regular season. 

Disaster struck in training camp 1992 however. Burridge blew out his knee and was forced to undergo surgery which cost him all but 4 games in the regular season. He did return to the lineup in time for the playoffs, where he scored 1 goal in 4 games, although clearly he lacked the extra step because of his long layoff.

Often a blown-out knee can mean the end for a small player who relied on his wheels to succeed in the NHL like Burridge, but Randy made a successful comeback in 1993-94. He played in 78 games and scored 25 goals, but added just 17 assists for 42 points. 

The Capitals traded Burridge to Los Angeles early in the lock-out shortened season of 1995.  Burridge never got untracked in California, scoring just 4 times in 38 games. He was released at the end of the year.

The Buffalo Sabres signed Randy in time for the 1995-96 season. The move paid off handsomely as Randy, who was seemingly written off by the rest of the league, regained his form when he scored 25 goals and 58 points in 74 games – good enough for second on the Sabres scoring charts.

Randy’s success in Buffalo was fleeting as changes in coaching and management left him out of the Sabres' plans. He would play sparingly over the next two years but by the end of 1997-98 he had his contract bought out by the Sabres.

"I played pretty good for Buffalo when they played me, but they didn't play me all that much," Burridge said. "They wanted to go in a new direction. I was kind of bitter the way it ended."

Randy couldn't find an NHL contract in 1998-99. He ended up splitting the year between Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL and the Hannover Scorpions in Germany. He was all set to hang up the blades after that season when the Detroit Red Wings offered him a training camp try out. Randy went to the camp with the idea that if he couldn't make the team he would retire.

"To move my family to the minors, I don't want to do that. It's not good for the kids. Instead, I'll just say, 'I've had a great career. But I don't want to. Not yet," said Randy at the time.

Unfortunately the great depth of the Red Wings meant that he would not make the NHL team. He was true to his word and to his family, and gave up the game he loved so dearly.

Randy retired with an impressive 199 goals and 450 points in 706 NHL games. He was a strong playoff contributor as well. He scored 18 goals and 52 points in over 100 post season matches.

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Wednesday

Bob Sweeney

Robert Sweeney, was born on January 25th, 1964 in Boxborough, Massachusetts, a small town of about 5300 people about an hour away from Boston.

As he told interviewer Frederic Lavallee, Bob got into hockey at an early age.

"The main reason was definitely the Boston Bruins, they won the Cup when I was six in 1970 and again in 1972. They were on top of the world at that time, so to speak. Hockey was big at the time in the Boston area."

And the Sweeney family were often on the ice.

"My older brother played hockey and three of my sisters were figure skaters. My father is a builder by trade, the last two things he built two arenas in 1972. So you could say I’m from an athletic family," said a proud Sweeney.

Sweeney played high school hockey with star goaltender Tom Barrasso. Barrasso was celebrated as a top pick in the 1983 draft while Sweeney quietly was selected by the Bruins in the sixth round of 1982.

But the Bruins were still a far off dream for Sweeney. His next stop was Boston College to study marketing management and play for the Eagles hockey team.

He was quick to find success in a dominating win at the 1983 Beanpot tournament.

"Winning the Beanpot and being named MVP of the Tournament as a Freshmen was something I’ll always remember. We had great players at BC but we didn’t win anything significant for my last three years there. I had fun there and having an education to fall back on...it’s priceless. I’m using it as we speak ," said Sweeney.

After Sweeney completed his scholarship, he joined the Boston Bruins organization. He would apprentice in the minor leagues for a season before joining the Bruins in 1987-88.

Bob (who scored his first NHL goal against his former classmate Barrasso) would play alongside Raymond Bourque and Cam Neely for six seasons. He helped the Bruins advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1988 and 1990, only to lose to an Edmonton team both times.

Sweeney would join the Buffalo Sabres, via the waiver wire, in October 1992. He would play for the Sabres for the next three seasons.

The highlight for Sweeney was beating his former team in the playoffs.

"One of my best memories there has to be beating the Bruins in the first round the first year after I left Boston. We were heavy underdogs against Boston...they finished 30 points ahead of us in the regular season and they had beaten us eight times in a row during the season against them. We were well prepared by coach John Muckler. I scored the game winner in overtime in game 1...in Boston. It was very special," he continued to tell Lavallee.

Sweeney’s NHL career ended with short stints with the Flames and the Islanders. He exited the NHL in 1996 but played for another five years in Germany.

Sweeney returned to the Boston area and became the President of the Boston Bruins Alumni Association in 2003. He later added Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation to his duties in 2007.

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Sunday

Dmitri Kvartalnov

I guess Dmitri Kvartalnov never really impressed NHL scouts in the 1980s. He played under the radar with Khimik Voskresensk, becoming a regular from 1986 through 1991. Only twice did he represent the mighty CCCP internationally, including at the 1989 World Championships where the team won gold.

But as the Iron Curtain lifted and Russian players started fleeing to the National Hockey League, Kvartalnov attracted little interest. But he was determined to come to North America. He signed with the San Diego Gulls of the IHL. The Californian sunshine compared to the deep Russian winter was an immediate win for him.

The move played out better than even Kvartalnov could have hoped. Playing alongside Len Hachborn and a young Ray Whitney, Dmitri exploded for 60 goals and 118 points in 77 games. He was the face of the IHL, a league which was becoming more and more respected in the 1990s.

This was Dmitri's ticket to the National Hockey League. The Boston Bruins, one of the last teams to get in on the Soviet exodus, selected Kvartalnov 16th overall in the weak 1992 NHL Entry Draft.

At first the fit seemed better than perfect. Playing alongside Adam Oates and Joey Juneau, Kvartalnov exploded out of the gates in record fashion. The 26 year old set a rookie record (since broken) by scoring at least one point in each of his first 14 NHL games. Kvartalnov tallied 12 goals and 10 assists in his impressive debut. He would slow down, but still finished his rookie season with 30 goals and 42 assists for 72 points in 73 games.

But all was not well on the inside. Surprisingly the Bruins left him unprotected in the expansion draft, and despite his rookie campaign. Perhaps more surprisingly, he went unclaimed.
Upon his return to Boston for year two he immediately landed in coach Brian Sutter's dog house. Kvartalnov was a soft, individualistic player who shied away from the physical game - pretty much the exact type of one-dimensional player Sutter could not stand. After half a season Kvartalnov was waived to the minor leagues, never to return to the NHL again.

Kvartalnov left North America at the end of that 1993-94 season. He found big money in Europe, which is where he played for another 13 seasons before retiring in 2007. He starred in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Finland, and of course back home in Russia with several teams, most notably Kazan Ak-Bars.

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Saturday

Mike Milbury

A lot of hockey fans will remember Mike Milbury as bad. Bad coach. Bad GMs - highlight by some horrible trades. Bad television. Bad hair. And as you can see in the photo to the right, he even had bad hockey cards.

But Mike Milbury was not a bad hockey player. The Colgate educated Brighton, MA resident found a home on the Boston Bruins blue line for 11 seasons, totaling 754 games. He scored 49 goals, 189 assists for 238 points, while accumulating a healthy 1552 penalty minutes. He was slow but scrappy, playing a nice depth role with the Bruins in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Only Terry O'Reilly spent more time in the penalty box while wearing a Bruins jersey.

That being said, and not forgetting all the bad trades he later made as general manager of the New York Islanders, "Mad Mike" will always be remembered for one thing: scaling the glass to beat up a fan with his own shoe:



Milbury was suspended 6 games and fined $500 for the incident.

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Wednesday

Woody Dumart

Coach Lynn Patrick called him Porky, but he was best known as Woody. Woody Dumart was one third of the Boston Bruins famed Kraut Line along with fellow Kitchener Kids Milt Schmidt and Bobby Bauer.

Named after the American president at the time, Woodrow Wilson Clarence Dumart was born on December 23rd, 1916 in Kitchener, Ontario. Actually, back then it was named Berlin, but they renamed the city due to Germany's role in World War I.

Like most of the kids in Kitchener, Woody fell in love with the game of hockey, playing it on the frozen outdoors ponds and sloughs. Soon enough he and his friends caught the eyes of the bird dogs of the Boston Bruins. All three would sign on with the B's.

The three famous linemates did not play on the same line as youths or in junior. In fact, Dumart played defense for much of his youth. It was not until the three turned pro that they became a line. Former NHLer Battleship Leduc first put them together when he was coaching the Providence Reds in the AHL during the 1936-37 season. Battleship even coined their original nickname - the Sauerkraut Line.

The following season the three became NHL regulars, and their play was anything but sour. Bauer was a sniper. Schmidt was the complete center. Dumart was the standout defensive left winger with a timely scoring touch. His hard work made him a natural leader and fan favorite.

By 1939 the Kitchener Kids could also call themselves Stanley Cup champions. That season was special for the line. The trio became the first line in NHL history to finish 1-2-3 in league scoring. They would win another Stanley Cup in 1941.

World War II interrupted their run. All served in Canada's war efforts, although in their case they were not very close to battle. They were stationed in Ottawa and played hockey with the Royal Canadian Air Force team, winning the Allan Cup as Canada's amateur champions in 1942. Dumart actually did serve overseas for two hockey seasons.

When the war was over the Kraut line returned to Boston. Dumart recorded four 20+ goal seasons and was named to the end of season Second All Star team in 1947, the third such honour in his career.

Dumart continued to play with the Bruins through 1954, although he became more of a utility forward towards the end. He finished his career with 211 goals and 218 assists in 772 games. His numbers would have been even more impressive had he not lost 4 prime seasons to the war. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.

Dumart suffered heart trouble Oct. 4, 2001 on his way to Ray Bourque Night at the FleetCenter. He died 16 days later. He was 84 years old.

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Tuesday

Don Gallinger

National Hockey League League president Clarence Campbell shocked the hockey world on March 9, 1948.

On that day he had the unfortunate duty to announce to the hockey world the lifetime banishments of Don Gallinger of the Boston Bruins and Billy Taylor of the New York Rangers for "conduct detrimental to hockey and for associating with a known gambler."

When newspapers first broke the story in February, 1948, both players initially denied any wrong doing. Gallinger met with Bruins GM Art Ross, then with Campbell, and proclaimed his innocence.

However the league and moreover the police were not satisfied. Eventually wire-tap evidence caught a number of phone calls made by Gallinger and Taylor to James Tamer, a Detroit gambler and paroled bank robber.

The wiretaps were illegally obtained so the police were not able to press charges against either player. However it was enough evidence for Campbell to take action.

A few years early, Toronto Maple Leaf superstar defenseman Babe Pratt was banned for life for gambling. However after publicly apologizing and proving that all bets did not involve his own team, Pratt's expulsion was overturned 16 days later. Gallinger, a very proud man, refused to admit his guilt before the public, but tried to apologize to Campbell in a private meeting, hoping that that would be enough to lift the ban.
In that conversation, Gallinger admitted on betting on 8 or 9 games, and lost all of them. He bet from $250 to $1000. He would often bet against his own team if the Bruins had some key injuries.

However Campbell refused to give him a professional pardon.

"Although as a Christian I forgive him for his dereliction, and as a man I admire him for his attempt to rehabilitate himself, as a person entrusted with a portion of the stewardship of major-league hockey, I cannot possibly bring myself to believe that he should be reinstated," one governor told Campbell.

Billy Taylor never once asked for a pardon, but Gallinger never gave up the quest for reinstatement. In 1951, 1955 and 1963 he made desperate appeals. The NHL never wavered.

Bruins legend Bobby Bauer and hockey writer Scott Young backed up the disgraced hockey player.

"Even some murderers," Young once wrote, " get parole from their lifetime sentences."

Twenty two years after the fact, the NHL finally lifted the lifetime ban. In 1970, both Gallinger and Taylor were reinstated with little fanfare.

Gallinger was a notable offensive player in his day. The nephew of former NHLers Red and Shorty Green and childhood friend of Teeder Kennedy, Gallinger scored 65 goals and 88 assists for 153 points in 222 career games. He was a heck of an athlete, even getting a try out with the Boston Red Sox.

Following his exit from hockey Gallinger relocated to Kitchener, Ontario where he raised his family and operated hotels. He died of a heart attack in 2000, just weeks shy of his 75th birthday.

Did You Know? Gallinger was also involved in another scandal of sorts. He impregnated a Canadian socialite in 1947. The son was put up for adoption and was raised in California. In 1998 the son, with the help of San Jose Sharks broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky, contacted his father for the first time.

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Friday

Gary Doak


By looking at Gary Doak's stats it's obvious that he wasn't a major scoring threat. But what the stats don't tell us is that he was one of the most rambunctious player of his time. Gary was absolutely fearless and never hesitated to dive to block shots, something he did frequently. His style of play caused him to miss many games due to injuries.

Gary grew up in a small town named Goderich, Ont. with his parents, brother (Steve) and sister (Sue). His dad worked in the docks and in the grain elevator. Gary himself worked there for many summers. His mother worked in a hospital. Gary was always a hard worker off the ice and he took that attitude with him to the rink.

As a junior Gary played for the Hamilton Red Wings (OHA) and made his professional debut in the AHL with the Pittsburgh Hornets. He played for the Hornets between 1963-66. His NHL debut came on November 14,1965 when he donned the jersey of Detroit against Montreal in a 2-2 tie. He was sent back to Pittsburgh and wasn't recalled again until February 12, 1966. He played a total of four games  for Detroit and saw very limited ice time. Shortly thereafter,on February 18,1966 he was traded to Boston. Hap Emms who was the Bruins GM at that time had scouted him while he was a junior and liked what he saw. Gary finished the season by playing 20 games for Boston.

A month before Gary was to report to the Bruins training camp for the1966-67 season he managed to break his leg while roller-skating with some friends in Goderich. He wasn't ready to skate until December and was sent to Oklahoma (CHL) so he would get into playing shape. Even though he played 29 games for Boston in 66-67 it was evident that Gary was still hampered by the injury.

In 1967-68 Gary bounced back and had a solid season for Boston,being the teams 5th defenseman.
Harry Sinden who was a coach back then was full of praise for Doak:

"He doesn't rush like Orr, but defensively he takes a back seat to nobody on our squad," Sinden said.
Sinden was right, Gary had a career +/- rating of +141 and was very solid defensively. Gary played in Boston until 1970, winning the Stanley Cup there. For the next three seasons between 1970-73 he bounced back and forth between three teams. He played for Vancouver between 1970-71, NY Rangers 1971-72, then went back to Detroit in 1972-73, before once again coming back to Boston. This time he stayed in beantown for over 8 seasons.

Gary's medical journal wasn't pleasant and he admitted that a couple of times he almost gave up on himself.

"The first time I broke my leg was the off-season and I fell down roller-skating in my home-town. That was embarrassing. The second time I broke my leg was the first game I played for Detroit. I don't know how the story started that I had a spinal surgery, but I didn't. I did have a bad back, but rest and cortisone shots cured it. The most painful injury was the broken collarbone. That was hard to handle. But they all hurt. Mentally as well as physically," Gary said.

Some other of his injuries included mononucleosis, knee injuries, sprained ankles, hyperextended elbows, rib injuries, fractured knuckles and sprained shoulders.

A typical Gary Doak scenario was during the 1977-78 season when he suffered three broken cheekbones near his left eye and 13 stitches in his head after having been belted head first into the boards by Detroit's Dennis Hextall. In only his second game back after that injury he dove head first into a Bill Barber shot on an open net and saved a virtually certain Flyers goal. Gary never let up. Both his teammates as well as his home fans loved his never say die attitude. His teammate Gerry Cheevers summed it up like this:

"Gary was the kind of player who never let up. He was always putting out 100 % whether he took a guy into the boards or blocking a shot. He had that rambunctious style of play that kept him going even if he was risking injury."

Harry Sinden added:

"As much as any player Gary exemplified the attitude surrounding Bruins teams in the 1970's."

As a Bruin player back then, that was the best compliment you could get. Gary's strength wasn't his offensive talents but his strong work ethic and sacrificing play. He was a strong support player and great teammate.

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Thursday

Cleon Daskalakis

Cleon Daskalakis has a special connection with Boston. He was born there, raised there, played NCAA all star hockey at Boston University and later signed and played with the Boston Bruins. 

Every hometown kids dream come true, right?. Well, almost.

Cleon's NHL stint was short. He played in 12 games over 3 years. Despite a save percentage of just .839 and a GAA of 4.86, he managed to post a 3-4-1 record, but was never able to stick in Boston. Instead, he spent most of his career in the American Hockey League with a variety of farm teams.

An interesting story about Cleon is told by Wayne Gretzky in The Great One's autobiography.

Apparently Cleon told Glen Sather that "When Gretzky scores his first goal against me tonight, I'd sure like to have an autographed picture." Not if, but when! 

Wayne goes on to say in his book "I guess the kid really wanted that picture because I scored on him in the first period. I autographed the puck for him and sent it to his locker room."

Just goes to show even NHL players are big fans of Gretzky.

Gretzky also jokingly adds "I always hoped they'd trade him to the Calgary Flames so I could sign a lot of pucks for him!"

Nowadays Daskalakis is president of Celebrity Marketing, Inc., a sports marketing and event production firm that he founded in 1996. He also does volunteer work at the New England Sports Museum.

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Friday

Dave Silk

This is Dave Silk.

He was an aggressive, pesky, hard skating player could play all three forward positions. He was most often used on the right wing. He was pretty smart player with an accurate shot which.

Dave was born in Scituate in the Boston area on New Year's Day in 1958. It was there that he learned to play hockey from the time he was seven. In high school he also played football and soccer. But Boston was always a hockey hotbed and Dave was caught up in "the boom" of the great Bruin teams of the 1960's and 70's when they won two Stanley Cups spearheaded by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito.
 
"It was just hockey all the time, summer, winter. You would skate in the winter and play street hockey when you couldn't get ice. Just hockey, all the time," Dave recalled.
 
His father died when he was very young. It was his mother who encouraged him to play hockey. A Scituate man by the name of Ed Taylor took an active part in Dave's development as a hockey player.

"He was my coach right up until high school," Dave said. "He really paved the way for me. He used to pick me up and drive me to games and practices. He was like a second father to me. My mother was working so I needed someone like that."
 
Dave's family had great sport roots. His grandfather Hal Janvrin used to play major league baseball between 1911 and 1922. In 1916 he won the World Series with the Boston Red Sox as a 2nd baseman. One of his teammates that year was legendary Babe Ruth. Janvrin still holds the World Series record for most at bats in a 5 game series. Dave's cousin Mike Milbury was a hardnosed Boston Bruins defenseman for 12 seasons. He later became an NHL coach and GM. Dave and Mike were teammates for a while in Boston.
 
Dave played for Thayer Academy while in high school and then for Boston University during his college days. His trainer in BU was legendary coach Jack Parker.

Under the guidance of the fiery Parker Dave won the NCAA championship in his second year. The team had players like Olympic heroes Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig and Jack O'Callahan. They also had Dick Lamby and Rick Meagher. Dave had an outstanding three-year career at BU. He scored 143 points (70 goals, 73 assists) in only 85 games. His 35 goals as a freshman was a school record. Another BU record was his four PP goals in one game.
 
Dave, who was NY Rangers 4th round draft, 59th overall in 1978, wanted to become a pro as soon as possible, but the Rangers encouraged Dave to try for the Olympics. It was a decision he would not regret as USA went on to win the Olympic Gold. Dave had a pair of assists in that historic 4-3 game against the Soviets during the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. It was dave's biggest accomplishment as a hockey player. It's a memory he will cherish forever.
 
Dave's NHL career lasted for seven seasons. He played for NY Rangers (1979-80 season to 83), Boston Bruins (1983 to 84-85 season), Detroit (1984-85) and Winnipeg Jets (1985-86). In 249 NHL games Dave scored 54 goals and 59 assists for 113 points.

After retiring Dave went into investment banking..

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Wednesday

John Blue: An Interview With Frederick LaVallee



When I interviewed Ed Ronan two months ago, I was so nervous, and couldn’t believe it. For today’s guest, I was a lot less anxious. I was well prepared, and knew the stress to come. I gotta admit I was very thrilled doing this, even if my French Canadian accent always was a big source of stress...this time was no different. When I got former Boston Bruins goalie John Blue on the phone, he started with the following: "Ah, I just love the French Canadian accent!

Now, I was nervous!!! But the result ended up being just as great and satisfying as the first time. So here it is, my interview / bio with a great guy, John Blue.

DISCOVERING AND GROWING WITH HOCKEY

John Blue was born February 19th 1966 in Huntingdon Beach, California. When he grew up, despite having the Kings and the Seals to cheer for, hockey was not very popular in California. How does a young boy growing there at that time gets to like hockey ?

"I moved to Seattle when I was 5 and lived there for two years. My father saw a picture of a hockey player, and thought it would be interesting to try. So I started playing and we moved back in northern California. I played football and baseball too. Hockey was not big then and we had to travel a lot, even for practice. I practiced once or twice a week only, not having an arena close to our home. So I didn’t play as much as I would’ve wanted. I went to the Pee-Wee Tournament in Quebec and we would get beat 7-0, 6- 1....I’d get peppered with 40-50 shots all the time...think it made me a better goalie."

After spending the first 17 years of his life in California, Blue had just started playing quarterback for his high school’s football team, but plans changed when he was invited to training camp by the Des Moines Buccaneers in the UHL. He got a spot on the team and didn’t go back to California.

"It was intimidating at first. I had just gotten there with two suitcases and ended up making the team. I didn’t know what to expect...the guy from California...I’ve never had my own sticks...but I just loved playing hockey and was a decent athlete. It was a good step up and I had to adapt."

Blue then went to Minnesota University to study speech communications. And, it goes without saying, he played hockey there for three seasons as well . He was named to the 2nd All-Star Team in 1985, and he bettered that the next after with a 1st All-Star Team Selection. He played with future NHLers there such as Corey Millen, Paul Broten and Tom Chorske, and went to the Final Four in 1986 and 1987.

"Arriving there was the biggest shock. It was my first experience with cold and snow...Minnesota had one of the finest teams in the country back then. They never had a kid from California before...almost everybody except for two players were from Minnesota. Playing in front of 10,000 people crowds was totally crazy. In 1985, I was runner up to Brett Hull for Rookie of the Year when he won it. I guess they made the right choice!" said a laughing Blue.

He was drafted by the Jets in 1986 as a 10th rounder ( 197th overall ) and was traded to the North Stars in 1987, but never played with either team. He turned pro by signing his first contract at that time with the North Stars organization, leaving school before his senior year.

"I have very few regrets in my life. I’m a blessed man with five children and a great wife. At the time, I signed with Minnesota because Lou Nanne, the North Stars GM at the time, saw me play and traded for me. There were injuries there and they wanted me to be the third goalie. Unfortunately, Lou was fired a year after and I never got my chance under GM Bobby Clarke," said the former Minnesota college player, disappointed. "I had fun playing at college. It was a great experience. If there was one thing I could do all over, I definitely would’ve gone to back for my senior year."

Briefly after signing with the North Stars organization, Blue got to play for the US National team, and was used as the backup for the Olympics...but he only saw action in the exhibition games before the Calgary Olympics.

"I ended up being behind a great goalie, young Mike Richter, and Chris Terreri. But I had a great time there," said the American goalie whose team finished 7th at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Between 1988 and 1991, Blue would play in the ECHL and the IHL before signing with the Bruins organization in the summer of ’91. He played for six teams during that those three years...Kalamazoo, Virginia, Phoenix, Peoria, Knoxville and Albany.

"It was very difficult to be travelling that much. I remember waking up in Peoria one morning and wondering where the heck I was. I just lived with a suitcase and a hockey bag...I came from California, not playing a lot, and I had to adapt my game. I had a lot of people telling me I was no good, I had friends quitting, but I knew I was not gonna quit, that they would have to kick me out. I was gonna give it my best and play until I couldn’t anymore...that was my motto. I believe some of that is connected to my faith...God gave me a gift to play hockey and I wasn’t a quitter. Good thing I wasn’t married at the time, because it would’ve made things a lot tougher."

DAYS IN THE NHL

After signing with the Bruins, he played with Maine and Providence, which were the Bruins farm team. He got his first shot at the NHL during the 1992-93 season.

"I was the third goalie in Providence behind Matt Delguidice and Mike Bales, and I remember sitting in the stands for the first 14 games of the season. Mike Milbury came down and he was not happy, and before a game I was told that I was playing that night. I had a 14-4 run, and was called up by the Bruins in January. Andy Moog was injured and they didn’t want Reggie Lemelin anymore. In fact, they threw him out by putting his equipment out of the locker room. I felt bad for him, he was such a nice guy and fans loved him. I remember losing my first game 3-2 in overtime to Quebec and then being pulled in the second period of my second game against the Devils at the Gardens. At 4- 0 Devils, people where shouting for Lemelin...I felt like a complete idiot. I got pulled in that game...and got cheered when I was pulled. I remember praying ‘’ It’s a tough night, God help me! ‘’ But we had a nice run after. Brian Sutter put me in net for the next game against Buffalo, everybody was shaking their heads in disbelief, but it was the start of an interesting career," said the goalie who stopped Denis Savard on a penalty shot in his first stint with the Bruins.

After dividing his time between the AHL and the NHL (18 games) in 1993-94 and playing a couple of games in Providence the season after, Blue had short stints in Phoenix and Fort Wayne of the IHL before being signed as a free agent by the Buffalo Sabres in December of 1995. He played with their AHL affiliate Rochester Americans and would play also his last five games in the NHL with the Sabres.

"I signed with the Kings for a 25 games contract at first with their IHL affiliate, the Phoenix Roadrunners. After the contract expired, I ended up in Fort Wayne and few games after, I was signed by the Sabres and ended up in Rochester in the AHL. It was a tough time for the team (Buffalo)...and I didn’t play a lot because the other goalie was Dominik Hasek. He was such an amazing competitor and goaltender...but we missed the playoffs and I was sent back down to the AHL along with Brian Holzinger and Dixon Ward and we finished the season there. Playing with guys like Pat LaFontaine and Hasek...it was a great experience. John Muckler just told me I was there to back up Hasek and not try to be like him...’’ Just don’t lose any games! ‘’ he said. It was good pep talk," says the father of five.

Days after the NHL and Christian life

Blue retired from the NHL after playing the 1995-96, but he would play one season for Austin in the Western Pro Hockey League.

"I had two hip replacements. The last couple of years were painful and I just got married...It was time to move on. I got a called by the Bruins organization to do color commentary for their games...at the same time, I got a call from Greg Ball, who had a sports Ministry called Champions for Christ, and he asked me if I wanted to go work there in Austin, Texas, and I accepted. I really felt like I wanted to be a part of helping other people find God and find out who they are. I noticed they had a hockey team there, the Austin Ice Bats and I just called them to play for them just for fun, and that’s why I played one last season."

While with Champions for Christ, from 1996 to 2007, John Blue led bible studies with players such as Curtis Brown, Mike Peca and Brian Pothier.

It was in 1991 that John met Champions for Christ founder, Greg Ball, for the first time. He questioned Blue’s commitment to Christianity. The former Bruins goalie admitted years later that Ball was right and he was living like a hypocrite. I asked him what he meant by that, and he replied honestly.

"Greg told me that if I was to proclaim myself a Christian, I’d have to act like one. You know, I was young. Fooling around, drinking...I realized that he was right. When I received my first paycheck with the Bruins, it was a big moment that I had waited for twenty years, but I remember thinking ‘’ There’s gotta be more to life than just this! ‘’...it all comes and goes! We get old and only last for a season, but there’s gotta something more that sustains for a lifetime. And that’s when my relationship with God really started to change."

Former Rochester teammate Curtis Brown would probably tell you that Blue did change. "There was something appealing, he had this peace around him that I'd never seen before," said Brown about his former goalie.

"That’s what I try to convey," said a determined Blue about his good friend’s comment.

Blue is now the lead Pastor at Pacific Point Church in Orange County, California. He has been working there with the community for the last four years now.

"I am married to a great wife and I have five children, McKennah (13), Jack (11), TJ (8), Hudson (6) and Georgia (2). "None of my boys play hockey!" he laughs. "I still play twice a week with like JF Jomphe, Randy Burridge...I don’t play goalie anymore, because of the hips," said the very calm and relaxed Blue, who
now makes a ‘’career’’ out of playing forward with his friends.

"If you ever come by, you know you have a friend here. If you come to Disneyland or Orange County..."

This little guy here will keep that in mind.

Frederick LaVallee is a 30 year-old Quebecer from Montreal who has loved hockey since the 1988-89 season. He is a Habs fan, but a hockey fan first and foremost. Most of his work is written in French, but he wanted to share his passion with more English readers. One day he hopes to become a hockey historian/journalist and travel around the world to write about the coolest sport on earth!

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