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Boston Bruins

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Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins
Founded 1924
Home ice TD Banknorth Garden
Based in Boston
Colors Yellow and black
League National Hockey League
Head coach Mike Sullivan
General manager Mike O'Connell
Owner Jeremy Jacobs


The Boston Bruins are a National Hockey League team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They were founded in 1924. Their home arena is the TD Banknorth Garden (capacity 17,565) (1995-present).

Their uniform colors are black and gold, with a logo comprising of a black B in a black circle with gold spokes radiating from the center.

2004 Playoffs:
Lost to Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in first round series, after leading the series 3-1.

Contents

Franchise history

The Pre-War Years

In 1924, at the convincing of Boston grocery magnate Charles Adams, the NHL decided to expand into the United States. As a long-time hockey hotbed, Boston was a natural for the NHL's first genuine expansion team. Adams and his family would own the team for most of the next fifty years, and his club, which he named the Bruins, finished last in the league in their first season but garnered overwhelming fan support. The color scheme of brown and gold (in later years changing to black and gold) came from Adams' grocery chain.

In only their third season (1926-1927), the team's fortune changed. Art Ross, the canny general manager of the team, took advantage of the collapse of the Western Hockey League to purchase several western stars, including the team's first great star, defenceman Eddie Shore. The Bruins reached the Stanley Cup final, losing then to the Ottawa Senators, but won their first Cup two years later by defeating the New York Rangers behind Shore, Harry Oliver, Dutch Gainor and great goaltender Tiny Thompson. The season after that (1929-1930), the Bruins posted the best-ever regular season winning percentage in the NHL (an astonishing .875), but would lose to the Montreal Canadiens in the finals.

Except for a couple seasons, the Bruins would remain excellent through the 1930s with superb players such as Shore, Thompson, Dit Clapper, Babe Siebert and Cooney Weiland, but failed to capture their second Cup until 1939. That year, in a move considered insane by hockey pundits, Ross dealt superstar goalie Thompson in favor of untried rookie Frank Brimsek. "Mr. Zero" Brimsek would electrify the league in his rookie season, and headlined by the "Kraut Line" (left-winger Milt Schmidt, center Bobby Bauer, and right-winger Woody Dumart), playmaking wizard Bill Cowley, Shore, Clapper, and unexpected hero "Sudden Death" Mel Hill (who scored three overtime goals in one playoff series), the Bruins won the Cup. Shore was dealt to the New York Americans for his final NHL season the next year, but the season following, the Bruins -- having led the league in a magnificent regular season, with only eight losses, won their third Stanley Cup with Weiland as their new coach, behind the brilliance of Cowley, the Krauts and Brimsek.

World War II and the "Original Six" Era

Unfortunately, World War II decimated the Bruins worse than most teams; Brimsek, Schmidt, Dumart and Bauer all enlisted after the 1941 season, and lost the most productive years of their careers at war. Cowley, assisted by elder statesmen Clapper and Busher Jackson, was the team's remaining star. Even though the NHL had by 1943 pared down to the six teams that would in a later era be -- erroneously -- called the "Original Six", talent was depleted enough that freak seasons could predominate, as in 1944, when Bruin Herb Cain would set the NHL record for points in a season with 82. The Bruins wouldn't make the playoffs that year, and Cain would be out of the bigs two years after that.

The stars would return for the 1945-46 season, and Boston would make the playoffs for the next four seasons under Clapper as the new coach. Unfortunately, Brimsek was not again as good as he was pre-war, and after 1946 the Bruins lost in the first playoff round three straight years, resulting in Clapper's ouster. An ominous bit of misfortune came with the banning of young star Don Gallinger for life on suspicion of gambling, and the only remaining quality young player who remained with the team for any length was forward Johnny Peirson, who would later be the team's TV color announcer in the Seventies.

Although there were some flashes of success thereafter (such as making the Stanley Cup finals in 1953, 1957 and 1958, only to lose to the Montreal Canadiens each time), the Bruins won no more Cups over the next twenty-five years after 1941. Further, in an era dominated by the Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins mustered only four winning seasons between 1947 and 1967. They missed the playoffs eight straight years between 1960 and 1967, but fan support remained high -- the Bruins consistently outdrew the Boston Celtics team, perennial professional basketball world champions.

Expansion and the Big, Bad Bruins

Missing image
BobbyOrr.jpg
Bobby Orr, the greatest blueliner in NHL history

That changed by the late 1960s. The Bruins drafted young Bobby Orr who entered the league in 1966 and would become the greatest defenseman of all time. They would then obtain Phil Esposito from the Chicago Blackhawks in one of the most one-sided deals in history. Esposito would blossom into the league's top goal scorer, being the first NHL player to break 100 points and setting goal and point scoring records. With other stars like wingers Johnny Bucyk, John McKenzie, Ken Hodge and Derek Sanderson, steady defenders like Dallas Smith and goaltender Gerry Cheevers, the "Big, Bad Bruins" became one of the league's top teams from the late 1960s through the 1970s, combining a rugged, barroom style of play with the greatest offensive juggernaut the NHL had ever seen.

In 1970, a 29-year Stanley Cup drought came to an end in Boston. The Bruins swept the St. Louis Blues in four games in the finals. Bobby Orr scored the game-winning goal in overtime of game 4. The famous image of Orr scoring, while being tripped up and flying through the air after the goal, his arms raised in victory remains perhaps the best-known photograph in professional hockey to this present day.

1971 was in respects the high watermark of the Seventies for Boston. The Bruins' dominance was cataclysmic, shattering dozens of offensive scoring records. They had seven of the league's top ten scorers, and in a league that had never seen a 100-point scorer before 1969, the Bruins had four that season. Boston looked poised to repeat as Cup champions, but ran into a roadblock in the playoffs. Up 5-1 at one point in game 2 of a quarter-final match against the Canadiens (and rookie goaltender Ken Dryden), the Bruins squandered it to lose 7-5. They never recovered and lost the series in seven games. They returned to glory the next season, defeating the New York Rangers in six games in the Cup finals behind Orr's wizardry.

Boston continued to dominate through the 1970s (despite losing Cheevers, McKenzie, Sanderson and other stars to the renegade World Hockey Association), only to come up short in the playoffs. Although they had three 100-point scorers on the team (Esposito, Orr and Hodge), they would lose the 1974 finals to the rough Philadelphia Flyers.

The flamboyant Don Cherry stepped behind the bench as the new coach in 1974-1975. The Bruins stocked themselves with enforcers and remained a threat under Cherry's reign, the so-called "Lunch Pail A.C.," behind players such as slick Gregg Sheppard, rugged Terry O'Reilly and high-scoring Peter McNab.

Orr, however, did not. He left the Bruins for the Chicago Blackhawks after the 1975-76 season and retired after many knee operations in 1979. The Bruins excelled without him (picking up another great blueliner, Brad Park, from the Rangers (along with Jean Ratelle) in a blockbuster trade early in the season that would see Esposito join the New York squad) as they made the semi-finals again, losing to the Flyers.

Cheevers returned from the WHA in 1977, and the Bruins would get past the Flyers in the semi-finals, but would lose to the Canadiens in the race for the Cup. The story would repeat itself in 1978.

The 1979 semi-final series against the Canadiens proved to be Cherry's undoing. In the deciding seventh game, the Bruins, up by a goal, were called for having too many men on the ice. Montreal tied the game on the ensuing power play and won in overtime.

The Eighties and Beyond

Coupled with front office dislike of Cherry's outspoken ways, the following season saw his replacement as coach by a newly-retired Cheevers and the coming of Ray Bourque. The defenceman -- one of the true greats of NHL history -- was an icon for the team for over two decades, although in the end it took a trade to the Colorado Avalanche for him to win the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins made the playoffs every year through the 1980s behind stars such as Park, Bourque and Rick Middleton -- and had the league's best record in 1983 -- but usually did not get very far. By the late 1980s, they were once again a force. In addition to Bourque, players like the indomitable Cam Neely, Keith Crowder and Don Sweeney would lead the Bruins to another finals appearance in 1988 against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins lost in a four-game sweep, but created a memorable moment in game 4, when the lights at the Boston Garden went out in the second period with the game tied. The rest of the game was cancelled and the series shifted to Edmonton.

Boston returned to the finals in 1990 (with Neely, Bourque, Craig Janney and Bobby Carpenter leading the team in scoring, and Andy Moog and Rejean Lemelin splitting goaltending duties), but would again lose to the Oilers.

The 1990s were not kind to the Bruins. Despite picking up more talent like Adam Oates, Rick Tocchet and Jozef Stumpel, they did not get past the second round of the playoffs after 1992 (their second consecutive conference final loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins). In 1997, they missed the playoffs for the first time in 30 years, having set the North American major professional record for most consecutive seasons in the playoffs. A renaissance of sorts in the 2002 season (led by Joe Thornton, Glen Murray and Sergei Samsonov) has not translated into playoff success.

Their bitterest archrivals have historically been the Montreal Canadiens, but the Canadiens' lack of success in recent years has muted the century-old rivalry.

Players

Current Squad

As of 28 March 2005. Note: Does not include players in European leagues due to lockout, but still under contract to the club.

Goaltenders:

Defensemen:

Forwards:

Hall of Famers

Current stars

Not to be forgotten

Retired Numbers

See also: List of Boston Bruins players Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry

External link

National Hockey League
Current Teams : Anaheim | Atlanta | Boston | Buffalo | Calgary | Carolina | Chicago | Colorado | Columbus | Dallas | Detroit | Edmonton | Florida | Los Angeles | Minnesota | Montreal | Nashville | New Jersey | NY Islanders | NY Rangers | Ottawa | Philadelphia | Phoenix | Pittsburgh | San Jose | St. Louis | Tampa Bay | Toronto | Vancouver | Washington
Trophies and Awards: Stanley Cup | Prince of Wales | Clarence S. Campbell | Presidents' Trophy | Art Ross | Bill Masterton | Calder | Conn Smythe | Hart | Norris | King Clancy | Lady Byng | Lester B. Pearson Award | Rocket Richard | Plus/Minus | Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award | Jennings | Vezina
Related Articles: AHL | ECHL | WHA | World Cup

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