Tag Archives: Zdeno Chara

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

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

David Krejci is still chipping away

David Krejci, Upper Deck, 2015-16

There is hardly the space to shower the correct praise upon all the Bruins who deserve it.

For example: Tuukka Rask is playing at a god-level, to a point that the “what took so long” crowd has conveniently overlooked that he’s been an excellent goaltender in this league for a decade now. Patrice Bergeron is as solid and skilled a player as one could hope to be. Brad Marchand is a professional jerk in all the best ways. David Pastrnak is a kid at heart who also happens to be a total sniper. David Backes is chasing a dream. Zdeno Chara is defying time and age and remains absolutely terrifying.

And those are the primary storylines as the Bruins line up against the St. Louis Blues in an effort to get their name on the Stanley Cup for the seventh time. Missing in there is David Krejci, quietly leading his line, playing in every scenario and generally being the silent stalwart he’s been since earning his place in 2007.

For a group that cherishes its history and loves to fete its longtime players, Krejci doesn’t get the attention he likely deserves. But through this most recent playoff run, he’s done nothing to damage his place in history. Continue reading

Searching for Bobby Orr and the other great Bruins

A few months ago I finally crossed “Searching for Bobby Orr” by Stephen Brunt off my reading list, and it was fantastic. It painted a vibrant picture of rural Ontario in the 1950s and early ’60s, and set the stage for how Bobby Orr was able to remake hockey forever. And it began at the earliest stages, when a coach with incredible foresight realized the benefit to taking his most talented young player and having him anchor his team, rather than merely placing him at center like any other coach would.

The result was the greatest player anyone had seen to that point, and only Wayne Gretzky has a true argument as a better one. For nine years, Orr was an offensive force from the blue line the likes of which the NHL had never seen, and he was as good at reading defenses and skating back to stop oncoming rushes as anyone.

Reading it made me wish I could’ve been born about 15 or 20 years earlier to watch Orr take over Boston and turn New England on its head. But it also pushed me to wondering about other eras of Bruins hockey, and then comes the inevitable sketching of imaginary rosters, all-time teams and the like. Continue reading

Ignoring baseball because it’s the Cup

This is Tuukka Rask. He does not play baseball.

This is Tuukka Rask. He does not play baseball.

Last night, the Red Sox were down to their final strike when Will Middlebrooks, batting against Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney, laced a change-up into the outfield for a bases-clearing double. The Sox went up 4-3, Junichi Tazawa picked up the win in relief, and if I’m imagining the scenario correctly, most of the crowd went home happy, since this took place in Tampa and no one there seems to care about the Rays one way or the other.

Apparently, it was a hell of an at-bat for Middlebrooks, who is rebounding from a minor slump and on his way back towards the torrid pace he carried through April, when the Red Sox were busy surprising a jaded fan base and sitting in first place. The mighty Jon Couture actually has a great breakdown of Middlebrooks’ at-bat here, complete with his growing patience and his success reading the pitcher and the situation.

They’re a game back of the Yankees this afternoon for the top spot of the American League East, and they’re playing some fun games, even when they lose. But don’t ask me about details, because I’ve missed all of them lately. Simply, it’s because the Bruins are in the playoffs, and it is functionally impossible for me to concentrate or devote any sort of emotional focus on the Red Sox when this is the case. Continue reading