Back in January, Patrice Bergeron scored a hat trick against the New York Islanders in a 5-2 win in New York. It was his second of the season, the first time that had been done since 2002, when Billy Guerin also recorded two hat tricks (prior to that, Jason Allison recorded two in the ’98 season, and Rick “the Rocket” Tocchet netted 3 goals twice in a week during the ’96 season). That 16 year gap between Guerin’s and Bergeron’s hat tricks seemed to echo the feeling that the Bruins have never really had a gifted pure goal scorer. But despite that lack of one prolific offensive talent, the Bruins have had players who’s value can’t be measured by stats sheets alone. Here is a look at #BostonWeek‘s B’s of the past 16 years.
- Bergeron! Bergeron! For obvious reasons. A lifelong B who could hardly speak English when first arrived in Boston. His career has been defined by two-way play, consistent offensive production, and being one of the classiest players in the NHL. When there is a scrum around the net after a whistle, few players are shown as much respect as Bergeron. His presence on the first line of the most recent hockey World Cup is yet another recognition of his irreplaceable value.
- Tim Thomas. Watch his 2011 playoff highlights, and no more explanation is needed. Seriously. The guy was unbeatable down low. From the countless breakaway saves, winning three game 7’s, and winning the Conn Smythe, he was unquestionably the best player on the Bruins that year. And not since Dominik Hasek was challenging players at the blue line has goaltending been so entertaining. The guy’s career is an admirable story in and of itself. No need to pump his tires.
- Soup Campbell. A critical member of the Merlot line during the cup run, he had his legendary moment in the 2013 Conference Finals, when he Evgeni Malkin missile from the point. With the B’s bench 100 feet away, the dude stayed out there with a shattered leg to successfully defend a power play for almost another minute. It’s the type of commitment required of Stanley Cup caliber teams, and Soup epitomized it.
- Milan Lucic. I don’t think anyone on the Bruins hated Montreal more than number 17. For two years, Mike Komisarek hassled Looch, while Lucic patiently waited for his green light opportunity. He finally got it, and enjoyed every second of it. Komisarek would try his for a third time 4 years after the initial beat down when he was with the Leafs, and Milan dispatched of him once more in glorious fashion.
- Big Z. As far as we’re concerned, he’s been everything one should expect from their Captain. Somewhat controversially given the C when he arrived in 2006, he has led since day one. In his younger days, he was the most imposing force in the NHL, consistently Norris Trophy quality defending, and always an offensive threat. His puck skills for a guy his size are unreal. But what sets him apart is his leadership. He is always up for a fight, but is aware of his value to the team. He fights when it’s needed, and his judgement has been excellent for the past 12 years. He’s been a great captain, and 33 will be in the rafters soon.
a) Bradley Marchand. Even as a young player, he was immense in the 2011 Cup run, and his play has only developed him into one of the most effective players in the NHL. When 63 is on, he is on. And he is usually on.
b) Denny Seids. The B’s got this guy for Byron Bitz and some change, and has to go down as one of PC’s best trades. Seids and Chara were an intimidating defensive pair, and their play together was superb throughout the 2011 run. The German was also good for a little European cheekiness every now and then as well.
c) Chris Kelley. Another great acquisition via trade by PC. The guy was never a star, but god damn he was a good player. Handsome as well.
d) The entire 2011 Cup Team. Because it’s #BostonWeek, and we’re making the rules here.
Let’s go B’s.