Friday, October 29, 2010

Postgame Recap: October 28 - Holy Flurking Schmidt

This might be the easiest (and longest) blog post I write all season.

Games like last night's are the one's you circle on the calendar when the schedule comes out.  A game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a fellow Orignal Six member, a division foe.

And did I mention that Phil Kessel plays for them?  You know, the same Phil Kessel who was drafted #5 overall by the Bruins, had innate scoring ability, questionable work ethic and ultimately forced a trade out of town when the Bruins wouldn't meet his exorbitant contract demands.  The same guy we traded for Toronto's #1 draft pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, the pick that ended up being the #2 overall selection that the Bruins used to draft Tyler Seguin.

And to make it even more special, the Bruins decided that last night they would honor one of their all-time greats, Milt Schmidt.

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So, let's take a look back on this one:

Just the facts, Jack (Edwards)

  • Regular Season game #8, home game #3
  • Boston Bruins (4-2-0-0) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (5-2-1-0)
  • First Northeast Division matchup of the season
  • Milt Schmidt Night at the Garden
John Blue Plate Special


It is one of the greatest additions one can make to just about any savory recipe and make it better.

A few years ago, Heather and I were at the Fours figuring out what to order. I was in the mood for a Johnny Kelly (fried boneless chicken breast with swiss cheese and supreme sauce). I was figuring out ways to tinker with it when it hit me: add bacon.  At this time, Heather was always ordering a Larry Bird (grilled chicken with lettuce and tomato) in a wrap with bbq sauce on the side.  Seeing my newfound discovery, she tried the bacon as well.  Needless to say, we've never ordered the Larry Bird without that crispy pork addition again.

Fast forward to last night and I was making good time heading into town on the Pike eastbound until I was approaching the Weston tolls.  The traffic reports said that traffic was at a crawl and there was an accident on Storrow Drive west that was screwing up things downtown.  After a couple failed attempts at taking some shortcuts to bypass the mess, I finally arrived downtown around 6:30.  With time rapidly running out to grab a bite to eat, I stashed my car at the Government Center garage and met up with Heather a few minutes later.

The silver lining to this was the fact that she and I had decided ahead of time that we'd go the Larry Bird route with onion rings for this one, so by the time I got there, our food order was already in.  A few drinks later, the food came.  It was delicious (as is the norm there) and I headed into the game.

The Couture Corner

I can't lie, part of the reason I get so excited for Toronto games is the fact that the Leafs sweaters are some of my absolute favorites in all of hockey.  Simple two-tone and classic, much like the Celtics or Penn State, they are everything a classic hockey sweater should be.  This past offseason, they made some revisions to their look, namely adding a double hemline stripe and changing their shoulder patches to the classic 32 point maple leaf.

But we didn't get to see those last night.  We got better.

Toronto wore their 3rds.  My hands-down favorite look in the NHL. 

Introduced in 2000 and back after a one year hiatus in 2008, the Leafs' 3rd sweater is a throwback to the late 50s-early 60s.  Just a classy, classy look.

As for the Bruins, they broke out their 3rd sweaters for the first time of the season. These are the black ones with the secondary logo on the chest, not the Winter Classic ones.  Normally, I'm not a fan of the B's wearing these for Original 6 games, but I made an exception for this one.

As one might expect in a matchup of these teams, the fans got dressed up for this game.  I actually found a couple of noteworthy shirts:

As beautiful as the Leaf's 3rds are, these two sweaters bring shame and disgrace (in my mind, at least):

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Eric Lindros and Gary Roberts

Lindros was, well, Lindros.  Massive, massively talented and massively underachieving (when he wasn't massively injured with a concussion).

As for Roberts, he was a great player with Calgary (winning the Cup in 1989), then injured his neck, sat out a season and returned to the NHL first with Carolina, then the Leafs, before moving on to  a bunch of other teams.  He wasn't a goon - he didn't have the size.  He wasn't a pest like Sean Avery.  Rather, he was sorta dirty and played with some sandpaper in his game.  I never liked him.  And I wasn't alone in that view.

The call?

No good.

But wait - we have an added bonus:

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1980's Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings

I'm scratching my head as to why this guy was wearing this sweater, but it was worthy of a mention.

What say the powers that be?


As for what I wore, well, let's just say that you know a game is special when the fans break out their Bobby Orr sweaters.  And there were plenty to be seen, including mine.

The Row 12 Rundown

The biggest news to report was that this was the season debut of John Barry in seat 11.  Pretty much the usual crew was there as well.

Special thanks to Paula for hooking us up with some Halloween candy!

Doosh of the Day

More often than not, when the Bruins play one of the Canadian teams, a certain contingent of 'fans' tend to take a misguided jingoistic tack, confusing an NHL game featuring an American based team with many Canadian players with an Olympic or World Cup team.

This especially holds true for the two teams from French speaking cities Montreal and Ottawa, but for whatever reason Toronto doesn't elicit the same reaction.  And I appreciate that.

I always fear that some nitwit will boo 'O Canada'.  Its happened before (and was quickly quelled when it did).  Doing so automatically garners you Doosh of the Day status.  Fortunately, no one went this route.

But I still need to find someone to nominate, so I'm going to go in a completely different direction and announce that the Doosh of the Day is none other than Espo, Phil Esposito.

Let me explain.

Being Milt Schmidt night and all, Cam Neely (himself having his number retired by the B's) had a special surprise during the pregame ceremony - the best players in Bruins history, the most revered names (at least the ones who are still alive) were trotted out from the Bruins bench: Orr, Bourque, Bucyk and O'Reilly. Retired numbers 4, 77, 9 and 24 respectively to go along with Schmidt (15) and Neely (8).

There was one glaring omission - Phil Esposito and his number 7.

Espo apparently has a long running tiff with the Bruins front office (read: Harry Sinden).  He's been noticeably absent from that last few number retirements.  One of the teams greatest scorers, Espo wasn't there to honor the man who, as General Manager, acquired him in one of the greatest trades ever and under whose regime he won not one, but two Stanley Cups. A man who at the tender age of 92 may not be around all that much longer for future gatherings of the greats.

For all I know, Espo my not have been invited.  But if he was, then he should have been there.  And because he wasn't he's a DotD.

The Clothes Line

There certainly wasn't a lack of candidates for this.  I saw a Vladimir Ruzicka home sweater, a bunch of Adam Oates ones, even some quality Wendel Clark Leafs ones.  Sadly, I did not see any Tie Domi ones.

But I saw these guys, and they are the hands down winners:

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Borje Salming and Stan Jonathan

Salming is a Hall-of-Fame defenseman who was one of the first Europeans (he's Swedish) to go on to a successful career in the NHL first with the Leafs and then the Wings.

Jonathan is one of the toughest players to ever don the Black & Gold.   5'8" and 185 pounds, he was small but he could hold his own with the biggest of pugilists on the ice (208 PIM in 1979-80).  A Native Canadian (Indian), he had a decent scoring touch and was one of Coach Don Cherry's favorite players.

The Home End

The Bruins have always been the best team in town when it comes to honoring their own. Classy ceremonies with a cavalcade of hockey royalty is par for the course.

In the past, the Bruins have scheduled retirement ceremonies as means of boosting ticket sales.  But this one was different.  Obviously, it wasn't a retirement per se, but it had all the pomp and circumstance that typically accompanies one.

This ceremony seemed to be the brainchild of Cam Neely.  Now the President of the Bruins, Cam has shown that he has a firm grasp of the "Bruin Way".  He knows that there is a blue-collar work ethic and a respect for the storied history of the franchise.  What better time than to honor one of the all-time greats for his 75 years as part of the Bruins in a multitude of roles (player, coach and GM), than for Cam to arrange for this fete for Milt Schmidt.

There were the standard laudatory accolades and gift presentations as well as a heartfelt speech by the man himself.  But the best part of the ceremony, right after Schmidt finished his words, was when Cam made a surprise introduction of the other retired numbers and that they would be giving #15 a formal raising to the rafters.  Apparently, back in the day numbers were simply retired with no formal ceremony.  Cam obviously felt that this was the perfect opportunity to rectify that.  It was heartfelt and I'm blessed to say that I was there to see it live.

There were other highlights to the night, the Bruins winning 2-0 being one of them.  Patrice Bergeron potting his first goal of the season (PPG, the eventual game winner), Tim Thomas continuing his hot start (5-0, 0.60 GAA, 2 shutouts, 9.80 save %) and Nathan Horton dropping the gloves with Dion Phanuef for his first fight as a Bruin put smiles on everyone's faces.

But the absolute best part of the night was what transpired right after Seguin scored the second (and final) goal of the game.  The Garden crowd began to chant "Thank you, Kessel" in unison.  I was laughing, as were most of the people in attendance, Seguin included.  Chant of the year, only 3 home games in.  And one of the best I've ever heard in my life.  Thats saying a lot.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Postgame Recap - October 23: A New York State of Bind

Just the Facts, Jack (Edwards)
  • Regular season game #6, home game #2
  • Boston Bruins (4-1-0-0) vs. New York Rangers (2-2-1-0)
  • First Original 6 matchup of the season for the B's.
  • Bruins riding a 4 game wining streak, all with Tim Thomas bewteen the pipes

John Blue Plate Special

Saturday nights are always tough when it comes to scoring a seat at the bar.  Face it, Bruins fans are no strangers to a libation or 5 before a game, especially on the weekend.  Add in the fact that it is college football season and the chances of landing a spot grow even slimmer.

Pregame time was originally set for 4:00, but we didn't get started until 4:35 due to a combination of factors including the following:
  • Halloween traffic on Rt. 114 in Peabody
  • Rt. 1 down to one lane because of an accident in Saugus by Rt. 60
  • A 17 wait for an Orange Line train at Sullivan Square
So it was a minor miracle that Heather and I were able to land spots front and center at the bar upstairs within minutes of our arrival.

Here was the bill of fare for the both of us:
  • Johnny Kelly in a wrap, sauce on the side, onion rings
  • Boneless wings with sides of teriyaki and honey mustard

The Couture Corner

With Rangers in town and a fervent buzz with the local fanbase, surely there would be a plethora of choices to pick from, right?  Wrong.

Slim pickings from representatives of both teams.

What to do? Well, take the 'Better off Dead' angle: If something gets in your way, turn.

So I turned, and lo and behold I see the following:

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A late 70's Rogie Vachon LA Kings jersey.

Normally, I hate anything to do with LA. But this was so incredibly random and those Kings sweaters are so under-represented, even with the current throwback craze.

The Russian and American judges make deductions for the purple sleeve numbers (they should match the gold numbers on the back).

The Call upon booth review?


As for my choice of attire, I went with the 1967 Bobby Orr.  Original 6 matchup.   Beat the Rangers for the Stanley Cup in 1972 waring something similar.

The Row 12 Rundown

It being Saturday night (did I mention that yet?), there was a good showing by the 307 crew.  We were graced with the presence of Sue and Eric and Robin was the guest of honor in seat 11 for this one.  No Charla, but Kathi brought the kids along for the evening.

Bill and Carol were not there, as is often the case on weekends (despite the fact that ski season hasn't started yet.

Doosh of the Day

Hey, it's the Rangers. Which means that there are going to be a bunch of loudmouths from NYC as well as spoiled rich kids from BU who break out the blueshirts.  They are fair game.

And of course, the Rangers never have a shortage of players who we despise - Samuelsson, Brashear, Drury...

and of course, this guy:

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But that's the easy way out.

The Doosh of the Day award winner must go above and beyond the call of normal douche-iness. And sure enough, we had a winner.  Two, in fact.

Winner #1:

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Rangers fan.  When you tell the someone to eff off, that's one thing.  When it's a little kid behind you, well, that's DoTD winning material.

Winner #2: Rangers fan's friend.

This particularly classless DB, decked out in his Bruins sweater, decides to toss his beer down on the people in front of him at the end of the game.

I have a major problem with people who do this.  Way too many times I've seen innocent fans get doused with beer because of the actions of these idiots, more often than not its kids that are the victims.  I cannot stand this.

I caught him in the act and confronted him.  His response? A sh*t eating grin.  Fortunately, the usher at the bottom of the section saw him and other fans notified him as well.  Though I did not see him actually apprehended, I have every reason to believe that Garden security gave him a nice little escort off the premises.

That's Entertainment

The Bruins came out to an incredibly slow start and paid the price for it, yielding 2 goals before they would get on the board.  The Bruins were playing catch-up for the rest of the night.

But the highlight of the night was the Bruins' resident pugilist, Shawn Thornton, dropping the gloves with the undisputed king of NHL enforcers, Derek Boogard.  Thorny isn't a small individual, but he was giving up 5 inches and nearly 50 pounds to the Boogeyman.  And he more than held his own.

So a stick salute to #22.

The Clothes Line

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Tonight's winner: Dennis Wideman guy

I know Dennis Wideman was the scapegoat for a lot of the problems the Bruins had in their defensive zone last year.  But I think the fanbase was a bit harsh in singling him out as if the other defensemen did nothing wrong.

That said, if I owned this shirt, I probably wouldn't wear it. Too soon for now.  Give it a few years before you break it out again.

The Home End

The game got off to a good start with the season debut of the one and only Rene Rancourt.  Sadly, it was downhill from there.  Losses sting.  Losses to the Rangers hurt even more.

Up next is an Original 6 matchup Thursday night versus the the Toronto Maple Leafs. Phil Kessel is back in town.  Rene gets to sing O Canada.  This promises to be one of the best dressed games we will see all season long.

Pregame starts at the Fours at 6:00 pm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Postgame Recap: October 21 - Capital Knockers

Home game #1 is in the books, so let's take a look back at what went down last night.

Just the Facts, Jack (Edwards)
  • Regular season game #5, home game #1
  • Boston Bruins (3-1-0-0) vs. Washington Capitals (4-2-0-0)
  • Bruins playing the back end of a home and home series against the Caps, taking the first game at the Verizon Center with a 3-1 tally on the scoresheet.
  • Capitals enter the game 25 for 25 on the penalty kill on the season

John Blue Plate Special

It being opening night and all, there was no question we would hit the Fours before the game. Of course, we knew it'd be slammed with people, so Heather got there early to land a spot and headed upstairs.  Within minutes we landed some quality bar space over by the Flutie jersey corner and even had space for Pete who was all decked out in his old school Caps sweater.

Here was the bill of fare for the three of us:
  • Bobby Orr (Teriyaki) w/ cheese on a roll, onion rings (Me, Heather)
  • Four's Wings (Pete)

The Couture Corner

With a packed house and the crowd at a fever pitch with unbridled optimism for the season, the Garden was ripe for some rare apparel sightings.  And they did not disappoint.

Sure there were the usual Starter jackets and wrong era/player name faux-pas, but there were a couple of standouts.  Let's go to the league office in Toronto for a call on these:

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Dave Ellett and Andrei Nazarov

Who in their right minds buys these? Seriously?

Ellett was a journeyman defensemen who had a cup of coffee with the Bruins at the end of his career and Nazarov was a goon who never lived up to his potential.

What's worse, both of these sweaters bore the Koho logo on the sleeves which means they were purchased sometime after 2004, well after Ellett and Nazarov finished their time in Boston.

The Call?

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As for my attire, I went with the 2010 Milan Lucic alternate.  New season, new hope and the Loochamotive is healthy again.

The Row 12 Rundown

Opening night (did I mention that already?) and nearly the whole crew was in the house: Paula, Patty, the Kasper Kontingent, the Barrys, the Hoyts, Charla, Kathi and the kids to name a few.  Seat 11 was Pete's for the night. Cassie made a cameo and we even had a special guest appearance by Jim & Sharon.

Noticeably absent was Larry R.

Doosh of the Day

As with any overly anticipated event at the Garden, there was a sold-out crowd.  Usually this tends to include more die-hards than pink hats and for the most part it was.

But, because it was opening night, there's additional pomp and circumstance to be had.  And part of this included having Aerosmith's Steven Tyler sign the national anthem.

Look, I love Aerosmith.  I own all of their CDs.  I saw them play at Fenway this past summer.  They are one of, if not the greatest rock band from the US of A.

That said, I'm sick of Steven Tyler.  I'm tired of his repeated on again/off again rumors of leaving the band, his petulant dust-up with the woofa goofa, Peter Wolf, at the aforementioned concert, his new gig as an American Idol judge.  I need a break.

It didn't help that his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sounded like a cat wheezing.  It wasn't quite Ozzy at Wrigley, but it definitely wasn't Whitney Houston at the Superbowl.

In addition, the Bruins have venerable institution of an anthem signer in Rene Rancourt. He's not the best singer in the world, but he is part and parcel of seeing a Bruins game in Boston and is one of the few remaining ties to the Bruins of old.  Rene Rancourt should always be singing on opening night.

So, today's Doosh of the Day is whomever scheduled Steven Tyler to sing the anthem.

Special runner-up award goes to the one-time wonders behind us in row 13.  Pete might be a Caps fan, but he's part of our crew regardless and he doesn't deserve crap from people who show up to one game a year.  That and the fact that they had some sort of homoerotic fixation with Alex Ovechkin.  Takes one to know one, fellas.

That's Entertainment

When the Bruins play as well as they did last night, that really is all the entertainment I need.

That said, the highlight of the night was when Marc Savard was announded at the end of the player introductions.  Quite the ovation for the injured center.

The Clothes Line

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Tonight's winner: Randy Burridge guy

Great player in the late 80s for the Bruins, traded to the Caps for homeboy Steve Leach. Last Bruin to wear #12 before Adam Oates was traded here in 1992.

The Home End

It's incredibly early in the season (a mere 5 games in), but this team looks like it could be in it for the long haul.  Tim Thomas is playing like he did 2 years ago, the defense is strong and the offense is clicking with a host of new weapons, most noticably offseason pickup Nathan Horton.

Up next is an Original 6 matchup Saturday night versus the New York Rangers.  Pregame starts at the Fours at 4:00 pm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

See My Vest(ments) - Part III: Looch of the Drawer

Coming down the home stretch, here is part III of my primer to my hockey sweater collection.

(Parts I and II can be found here and here)

Before we get to the goods, I probably should explain my system for buying a particular player's sweater.  It's not complicated.  Basically, I tend to buy those sweaters for players who have cemented their places in the annals of their teams' history. Local legends and hall-of-famer types are givens.  A player must have established themselves with the team and gone onto a decent, if not lengthy, career here. Championship players are in play as well.

One merely has to scan my closet to see what I mean: Larry Bird, John Havlicek, John Hannah, Doug Flutie, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Carlton Fisk, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely.  Even Patrice Bergeron.

Then there's Milan Lucic.

Huh?  He doesn't really fit my criteria.

Allow me to explain:

I've followed the Bruins closely for almost my entire life.  I've seen hundreds of players come and go, both seasoned veterans and hot-shot rookies alike.  Very rarely has there been a player who has flown under the radar only to show up at training camp and make a splash, so much so that they make the roster.

Looch was a 2nd round pick that only the die-hards knew about.  He was 19 years old.  He wasn't expected to make the Bruins' roster as it was widely assumed that he would be returned to his hometown Vancouver Giants in the WHL.

However, he made quite the impression in training camp and the preseason.  So much so that he earned a place on the 23 man roster. And then, in his first ever regular season game, he dropped the gloves with Dallas' Brad Winchester and held his own.

I was hooked then and there.

You could see it in his TV interviews and his style of play. He was hardnosed and played with grit and gumption. He finished his checks.  He hit anything that moved.  He wasn't afraid to mix it up with goons.  And he could pop in the occasional puck.

Part Cam Neely, part Terry O'Reilly.  In short, he exemplified the prototypical Bruin blue-collar work ethic. 

Then I got to meet him at a special season ticket holder event and got to chat with him for a few minutes.  It was apparent that he got "it" - a winning attitude, a willingness to get dirty when necessary and a desire to continuously improve his game all while maintaining a sense of humbleness and respect.

These are the types of players I love to watch.

And that's why I have his sweaters.

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2008 Milan Lucic Alternate Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2008
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the TD Bank Garden

The Deets:

When Patrice Bergeron was out injured with a concussion during the 2007, there was a video going around showing him skating around the Garden in a prototype 3rd sweater that was possibly going to be added for the 2008 season.  It was all black with the usual chest and shoulder logos switched up.  It had a sleeve stripe and collar much like the 1977-95 sweaters.  The large bear logo on the chest was reminiscent of the 1926-31 sweaters.
There was a single thin yellow stripe on the hem. It was sweet.

Fast forward to November 28, 2008.  Day after Thanksgiving.  This was the day the new sweaters were to debut.  The Bruins made a big deal out of it, giving all the fans in attendance special commemorative black t-shirts.  The sweaters themselves were nearly identical to the prototypes, save for the fact that there was no stripe on the hem.  I personally wished they had a hem stripe to match the ones on the sleeves, but even without it, they looked great.

So when the Bruins had their annual shopping night for season ticket holders later in December, it was a forgone conclusion that I was going to buy one for me with my 25% discount.  And it only made sense that it was going to be a Milan Lucic one.

Worn for: Non-original six games, Matinees

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2010 Milan Lucic Winter Classic Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2010
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the TD Bank Garden

The Deets:

There were rumors in 2008 that the Bruins were pushing the NHL to host a Winter Classic, possibly at Fenway Park.  Originally, it was hoped that the Bruins would face the Rangers on New Year's Day 2008 at Yankee Stadium before it was to be torn down.  That plan fell though and the Wings met the Hawks at Wrigley instead.

So in June 2009, there was a press conference was held at Fenway with representatives of both the Bruins and Flyers as well as everyone's least favorite commissioner, Gary Bettman, to officially announce that the 2010 Winter Classic was going to be held at Fenway.

As with the previous 2 installments of the WC, the teams were to be dressed in throwback uniforms.  Already, we had seen Buffalo break out the original blue and gold Sabres sweaters, the Penguins don the old baby blue skating penguin ones, the Wings hearken back to their Detroit Cougar days and the Blackhawks slightly tweak one of their best ever looks.

With a history rivaled only by their Canadian Original Six brethren, surely the Bruins would wear something that would be special.  The question was what exactly was that look?

And so it was at the 'State of the Bruins' town meeting with season ticket holders in September 2010 that we finally found out.  At the end of the meeting, Cam Neely, now working in the Bruins front office, mentioned that he had something special to show us.

Amidst a spectacular light show featuring fake snow, David Krejci emerged from behind the stage in full uniform wearing what was to be worn for the Winter Classic.  It was amazing.

Cam went on to explain that he had a huge say in the design and that he culled many different elements from past designs to create this one: The 1949 spoked B logo, the gold body from the 1950s and 60s, the stripe patterns from the 70s and 80s and the brown accents reminiscent of the original sweaters.

I knew I had to have one. So much so that I pre-ordered one right there on the spot.

Sadly, Looch missed the Winter Classic, but he did don the sweater later in the season as the Bruins would wear these again a couple of more times throughout the season.

Worn for: Original Six and Second Six matchups

Friday, October 15, 2010

See My Vest(ments) - Part II

Continuing where I left off, here is part II of my primer to my hockey sweater collection.

(Part I can be found here)

Here goes:

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1990 Cam Neely Away Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2004
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the FleetCenter

The Deets:

Ever since I had Bruins season tickets, I'd alway pop into the proshop at the Garden and see what Bruins stuff they were selling.  I already had a current model Bruins sweater, but part of me longed for older versions the Bruins wore when I was younger .  The throwback craze would not come about for a few years, but I would always ask the manager of the store to see if he could get the old jerseys.

Finally, I showed up one day and there they were: racks of the 1977-95 sweaters, complete with players' names and numbers!  The names ran the gamut - all time greats like Bourque, O'Reilly and Neely; all-stars such as Oates and Moog; and even goons like Nilan, Miller and Byers.

I took one look at the Neely one and said "it will be mine".  Soon enough, it was.

Worn for: Non-original six games aginst pre-2000 expansion teams

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1970 Bobby Orr Away Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 2004
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the FleetCenter
The Deets:

Continuing on my theme of reliving the past, the proshop carried these beauties.  CCM had introduced its 'Vintage' line of replica sweaters for a number of teams including Montreal, Quebec, LA and Minnesota as well as the Bruins. Even better was the selection of players available - a veritable who's who of the Big Bad Bruins era: Bucyk, Cheevers, Esposito, Orr. The icing on the cake was the fact that these did not have nameplates, as was the custom during the era in which these were originally worn.

A 1970 Bobby Orr sweater?  The greatest Bruin of them all? From when they won the Stanley Cup?

It was a no-brainer.

Worn for: Orignal Six matchups
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2006 Patrice Bergeron Home Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium

Year Purchased: 2006
Purchased: FanZone, TD Banknorth Garden

The Deets:

The Bruins used to hold a barbecue for their season ticket holders before the season would start.  Typically, it was held outside in the parking lot in front of the arena.  However, for some odd reason, managment held it on level 4 inside the Garden in 2006.  This was held in conjuction with an open practice and fans got to meet a variety of players including new acquistions Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard.

For whatever reason, the FanZone stores on this level were open and having a blowout sale. At this point, my wife Jen would attend a few games with me.  Alas, she did not have a sweater to call her own yet.  Plus, she liked Patrice Bergeron.  Putting two and two together, I bought her this sweater for 50% off.  The cost was $75 total.  I know I charged it to my credit card, but for whatever reason, I cannot ever remember seeing the charge applied to my bill. Shhhhh.
Jen really doesn't go to games anymore, so I've sorta inherited this one.

Worn for: Non-original 6 opponents

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1995-2007 Home/Away Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium

Year Purchased: 2004
Purchased: N/A

The Deets:

This is a blank sweater that I won as 'Season Ticket Holder of the Game" at a game back in 2004 (I think that was the year). I can't remember which game it was, either.  They all sort of blur together.

Worn for: Losing streaks or when I'm fustrated with the team

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2007 Patrice Bergeron Home/Away Replica

Manufactured by: Koho
Size: Extra Larger

Year Purchased: 2007
Purchased: N/A

The Deets:

This was a gift to season ticket holders who renewed their tickets and paid in full prior to the 2007 season.  We were given a choice of players including Ray Bourque and Cam Neely, if I remember correctly.  Already in possesion of a Bourque autographed stick and a Neely autographed sweater, I went with Bergeron.

Unfortunately, this sweater is 2 sizes too big for me.  In addition, I don't like to wear autographed apparel as I have a tend to beat up the shirts. 

Of particular note, the lettering is not the usual three layer white/black/gold tackle twill, but rather a cheaper single layer twill with the black and gold printed on the white background.  2007 was the year that the Bruins switched from this style sweater to the new Reebok Edge ones, so my guess is that the front office had a glut of these sweaters lying around, so they decided to give them away as gifts.

Worn for: Not worn, for display purposes only

Friday, October 8, 2010

See My Vest(ments) - Part I

Before we get to actual game coverage, I'm going to take a moment or two and introduce you to my collection of Bruins hockey sweaters.

Since my game reports will include a running bit featuring what I wore to the game, I might as well show you what I have to choose from.

Because of the sheer number of sweaters I own, I'm going to break this into multiple posts.

Without further ado, here's Part I:

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1990 Ray Bourque Home Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: Mid-90s
Purchased At: Boston Bruins Proshop at the Boston Garden

The Deets:

This was my first ever Bruins sweater, purchased for me as a birthday gift from my Uncle.  These types of replicas were made by CCM and used a durene type of material instead of the air-knit fabric that is prevalent today.  The name and numbers were screened on and as you can see are showing some significant wear, certainly not helped by wearing it playing floor hockey in high school and college.

Worn for: Floor hockey (back in the day)
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1996 Ray Bourque Home Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Medium
Year Purchased: 1996
Purchased At: Sports Collectibles, Peabody, MA

The Deets:

The second sweater I've owned, this was purchased when the Bruins changed their uniforms in the mid-90s when the moved into the FleetCenter.  I had a gift certificate to Sports Collectibles, the longstanding specialty store in Peabody Square where I spent nearly my entire allowance on baseball and Garbage Pail cards when I was growing up.  They also did a large customized sports apparel business, so what better way to get me a new jersey and support the local economy than to get my sweater there.

Worn for: Colorado Avalanche, Non-original 6 Eastern Conference opponents

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1991-2 Cam Neely NHL 75th Anniversary Authentic

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: 44
Year Purchased: 2000
Purchased: via Ebay

The Deets:

Long before the throwback trend came into fashion, I had long desired one of these beauties.  In the 1991-92 season, the NHL celebrated its 75th anniversary and the Orginal Six NHL Franchises all wore commemorative sweaters for certain games.  This is what the Bruins wore and I fell in love with them.  They are, in my opinion, the best sweaters ever worn by the team.

I was only 16 years old when these came out.  Needless to say, I did not have the funds to purchase one at that time.  Eventually, I turned my hope to ebay.  Auctions came and went, but I could never find one in my size or in my price range.  Almost after 2 years of searching, I finally came across a brand-new authentic size 44 with factory tags.  A size 44 is a very, very rare find.

Being brand new, the sweater did not include the NHL 75th anniversary patch nor did it include player name and number.  I bought the patch off of Ebay and sent the sweater to a place in Ontario to have the name and mumber stitched on.

Worn for: Original 6 opponents only

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1991-2 Cam Neely NHL 75th Anniversary Replica

Manufactured by: CCM
Size: Small
Year Purchased: 2001
Purchased: via Ebay

The Deets:

Autographed by Cam Neely.

Unlike some of the other CCM replicas with screened on logos, this one has a tackle twill one.

Worn for: Not worn, for display only

Monday, October 4, 2010

Season's Greetings!

With the start of the 2010 Boston Bruins season rapidly approaching, it's about time I get moving on this venture. Procrastination does have its limits, after all.

What, precisely, constitutes this particular effort?

Well, I've always wanted to do a blog where I cover going to Bruins games.  Not necessarily the game action; There are plenty of other outlets for that.  Rather, I'd like to convey a sense of the experience of going to a game as I see and feel it: Who was the opponent?  Was there a noticable buzz in the crowd?  Was there a storyline leading up to the game?

So, there's that.  Of course, me being me, there's always more to offer in the details: What sweater did I wear and why?  What did I have at the Four's before (and/or after) the game?  How bad was the Green Line and North Station?  Did I see any wicked cool hockey sweaters in the crowd?

That said, here's how I think I'm going to lay out game posts here:

Just the Facts, Jack (Edwards)

Here's where I set the scene: Date, Game Time, Opponent, Weather (Causeway Street can be a slushy bitch, after all).

John Blue Plate Special

Not just an homage to the greatest Bruins goalie to ever come out of Huntington Beach, CA, this is where I'll share what constituted the finest in pregame feasts of food and drink.

The Couture Corner

Look, it's a hockey game. Hockey sweaters are de rigueur here (see, I got all fancy there), so smoke (wear) 'em if you got 'em.  And I've got em': 12 Bruins sweaters at last count, plus assorted others (USA, NHL All Star & UMass Lowell ones). 

Here's where I'll tell you which one I picked out and why.  Trust me, there's a definite method to my madness when it comes to choosing gameday attire.

The Row 12 Rundown

Direct from the frontline, here's the skinny from my seat in the balcony:  Who was there from the section 307 family? Who was noticably absent? Did we see any fights?  Did we (personally) get involved in any fisticuffs?  Did anyone show up in seat 10?  Which schmucks did the guy in front of us sell his tickets to?  You'll get all the scoop and more here.

Doosh of the Day

It's going to happen at any sporting event in Boston; Some douchebag will get a seat near you.

Fortunately, I'm blessed to have a plethora of long time season ticket holders who fall under the 'diehard' category and tend to show up for many, if not all games.  Even better, I consider them good friends and part of an extended family.  If they have to miss one game, they make sure their tickets go to someone who meets our rigorous standards of being a fan. Unfortunately, there's a number of absentee STHs who tend to exclusively resell their tickets for every game.  These tickets usually end up in the hands of one of the following groups:
  • High school students
  • College students
  • Young professionals
  • Fans of the opponent
Most of the time, alcohol only fuels their studipidity. They tend to have minimal hockey knowledge and have a complete lack of hockey etiquette or respect for other fans.  Standing up during the game, chatting on their cell phones, taking tens of pictures of themselves, wearing skimply clothing - they run the gamut of annoying.  This is where I pick out one standout dumbass who excels at defining the genre.

That's Entertainment

Well, sometimes it is.  Did the kids in '3 Minutes of Fame' during intermission do anything memorable?  Did they end up in a full out donnybrook (don't laugh - it happened once)?  Did the Garden organist break out anything extraordinary in his reppertoire?  I'll let you know if anything of note went down here.

The Clothes Line

There's always someone at a game wearing a sweater of distinction - It could be a sweet Canucks 'flying V' throwback, a long forgotten Bruins player (ie: Vladimir Ruzicka), a random Rimouslki QMJHL shirt or a German Elite League one with enough sponsor patches to rival anything running in the Nationwide Series.

If I see one, I'll share it with you here.  Might even include a pic or two as well.

The Home End

Here's where I go all retrospecive and stuff.  What was the final score?  How did the Bruins play?  How did this game measure on the joy/pain scale?  Was there a fracas of note?  What was the storyline coming in and was there a new one on the way out?  Even more, was anyone tossed from our section.  Did anyone in 307 win copious amounts of schwag?

That's about all I've got right now.  It's a long season and I'm going to allow for this blog to be a bit flexible.  I won't make it to all 41 home games (I've never come close, sadly - such is life), but for the ones I do, I hope to share the experience with you in my usual thorough, but offbeat style.