Tag Archives: Boston Bruins

Jeff Odgers has a job to do

Hockey card of Jeff OdgersIf the internet is to be believed, this stretch of time at home and away from other people is starting to wear thin. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s still difficult. And least among the problems in the world is a lack of hockey.

However, a lack of hockey there is, and it has me trolling through the past for snatches of glory and any other spare memory that can still entertain.

In fact, I’m plumbing the depths into Boston Bruins history here, and recalling one of the more cursed campaigns in their recent history. And with them, Jeff Odgers, the alternate captain who kept a steely chin and the demeanor of a consummate professional while the wheels fell off around him. Continue reading

The mysterious past of Gordie Roberts

Hockey card of Gordie RobertsAs I’ve noted in the past, when it came to card collecting, I had very little in the way of prospecting or futures trading. Opening a pack and finding stars from other teams was cool, but any Bruin was, at worst, equal to any Wayne Gretzky or Mark Messier that fell into my lap.

So at some point in 1994, Gordie Roberts tumbled out of a pack of Premier, which was excellent. The more Bruins that could be accumulated in my binder, the better. I already knew Roberts, who already seemed to be one of those Bruins that seemed to always be in the right place. He didn’t light up the stat sheet (he had 7 points that year), but he didn’t seem to spend a lot of time in the penalty box, either. I had already been to my first Bruins game at this point, so I was aware that he was an older guy who (along with fellow defenseman Paul Stanton) had won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh before arriving in Boston.

Still, two things surprised me when I first saw this card. I was startled to see him here sans his gloriously 1980s mustache — I hadn’t been paying extremely close attention before the 1993-94 campaign, obviously. But it was when I flipped it over to the back that I was blown away: Roberts had apparently been playing hockey since the beginning of time. Continue reading

Al Iafrate’s sonic burst across New England

Hockey card of Al IafrateIn addition to flipping through old hockey cards, I’ve naturally augmented all this free time with catching classic hockey games online. One that recently popped up was Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, which saw the Boston Bruins hosting the defending champion Montreal Canadiens.

This was a pivotal series in from my younger days. I listened along on the radio to the games that were on the still-premium NESN channel, and Game 7 was most memorable for Ted Donato’s rolling puck that slipped just past Patrick Roy in net. The Bruins and I was ecstatic.

Re-watching the game provided plenty of opportunities to stir some latent memories as well. Among them were appreciating how overwhelming a presence Ray Bourque was in his prime; watching a young Glen Murray score on his first tour of duty through Boston; and witnessing a healthy Al Iafrate thrive in black and gold. Continue reading

When in doubt, turn to hockey

Hockey cards of Boston Bruins players spread out on display

I was trying to think earlier: when was the last time I knew for sure that I would be home, all day, every day?

Throw out any year beyond college, since I’ve been thankfully employed for that time. That’s five days a week, minimum, where I know I have to leave the house. College, too, included classes for nine months, and by then I had friends and a part-time job, so even the summers were spoken for.

The friend aspect was lesser in high school, and even middle school, but there were still some days during the summers then — maybe a Friday or Saturday here and there — where I’d have plans and get to leave the house. This basically takes me to sixth grade and earlier, during the summer, sans friends, where I knew I’d be indoors, left to my own devices for entertainment.

I’m not 10 anymore, but I am home. I’m going to be home for some time, and there’s not much else to do. So forgive me if I revert to some pre-teen tendencies, like playing with hockey cards. Continue reading

The music is always louder after a loss

Jose Valverde is a loud guy.

Jose Valverde is a loud guy.

After a draining night of watching a certain team I care a great deal about lose an important game in sudden, sickening fashion, I trudged out of bed this morning, got ready for work and, of course, started thinking about Jose Valverde and the Chicago Cubs. I’m sure that’s healthy.

I’m prone to making drastic leaps that can leave my friends confused, but allow me to re-connect the dots my beer-zapped brain linked this morning.

If sports are supposed to be entertainment, then Jose Valverde is a one-man cabaret act. At least he used to be.

From the safety of the left field grandstand, I got to know Valverde pretty well during my first year living in Arizona, while he closed games for the Diamondbacks in the 2007 season. That year was a great one for them, packed with one-run wins and a surprise division championship and the accompanying trip to the playoffs. Valverde was named an All-Star that season in recognition for his ability to rack up saves, but it was the way he pitched that got him into the spotlight. Continue reading