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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 42

Day-42 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

HISTORY LESSON, PART I:  As soon as the Blackhawks dispatched of the Kings in Double Overtime to set the stage for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, immediately the media starting pumping the fact that this should be a classic confrontation of two of the Original Six teams.

True, Chicago and Boston are just that…but behind two of the best uniforms in sports, lies a story…and a history worth delving into.  Over the next two days, I hope in some small way I can convey to you the men who had a vision, the details behind each team name, and the players that are part and parcel of two of the most “dyed-in-the-wool” fandoms in all of sports.

TODAY, I BEGIN WITH THE BOSTON BRUINS:  And in order ot properly begin today’s lesson, let’s start by defining the other five members of the Original Six franchises…the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

But before there were Six, one had to make its way South of the Canadian border.  And that inspiration came from a man who knew a thing or two about feeding peoples desires…and that man was Boston grocery tycoon Charles Adams.  Adams was said to be so intrigued after watching the 1924 Stanley Cup Final between the NHL champion Montreal Canadiens and the WCHL champion Calgary Tigers that he convinced the National Hockey League to grant him a franchise for Boston.

Mr. Adams’ wish was granted on  November 1, 1924…reportedly for just $15,000.00

THE NAME:   Charles Adams may have known the food business, but when it came to hockey he left that up to former star Art Ross–who served as General manager.  But the team needed a name and Ross was instructed to come up with with a nickname that would portray “an untamed animal displaying speed, agility, and cunning.” Ross came up with “Bruins”, an Old English word used for brown bears (from the Dutch ‘bruin’ meaning brown) in classic folk-tales. The team’s bearlike nickname also went along with the team’s original uniform colors of brown and yellow, which came from Adams’ grocery chain, First National Stores.

THE LOGO:  This was the first:

And this is what the players are wearing today:

The Boston Bruin “B” with the spokes stands for the Hub. The city of Boston is often referred to as the Hub of the universe or Hub, by Bostonians and others.

THE PLAYERS:  When I think of the Bruins, the names that immediately come to mind are Shore, Orr, Bucyk, Esposito, Sanderson, Cashman, Cheevers, Bourque, Neely and sooooooo many more.  Today, fans are treated to the incredible talents of guys like David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, and Tuukka Rask–just to name a few.  So instead of trying to apease all in Bruin Nation, allow me to instead recognized the chosen–those who have had their number retired by one of the most storied franchises in NHL history:

Boston Bruins retired numbers
No. Player Position Career No. retirement
2 Eddie Shore D 1926–40 January 1, 1947
3 Lionel Hitchman 1 D 1925–34 February 22, 1934
4 Bobby Orr D 1966–76 January 9, 1979
5 Aubrey “Dit” Clapper LW, D 1927–47 February 12, 1947
7 Phil Esposito C 1967–75 December 3, 1987
8 Cam Neely RW 1986–96 January 12, 2004
9 Johnny Bucyk LW 1957–78 March 13, 1980
15 Milt Schmidt C 1936–55 March 13, 1980
24 Terry O’Reilly RW 1972–85 October 24, 2002
77 Ray Bourque D 1979–2000 October 4, 2001
99 2 Wayne Gretzky C - February 6, 2000

WHEN BRUINS FANS HEAR THIS SONG, THEY THINK OF BRUINS HOCKEY:  Check out this video.  It’s a slick little history of the franchise, too.

Why this song?  Boston television station WSBK-TV began broadcasting Bruins games in 1967.  As the story goes,  the producers of the games were in search of a Theme Song.  Some say they were inspired by the Boston Ballet‘s annual Christmas performance of The Nutcracker …and coupled with The Ventures‘ version of the Nutcracker’s overture, known as “Nutty”, it became a staple for the opening piece of the Bruins telecasts.  And keep in mind that after nearly a half-century of ownership, the Adams family sold the Boston Bruins to Storer Broadcasting in 1972-73…which owned  WSBK-TV (Channel 38).

THE BUILDINGS:  Then…

…and now…

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IT IS MY HOPE:  That this stroll down memory lane raises your level of appreciation for the genuine treat that every genuine hockey fan is in for…the Bruins v. the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
As a kid growing up in Chicago, I hated (I “hate” using that word, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it) the Bruins–hated the Bruins!  But as I grew older and actually got to spend time with many of the players and had the privilege of calling games in BOTH buildings, I came to realize that my love of the game grew out of an appreciation for those who had a vision, took the risks and played out the games that created the moments that will forever be wonderfully seared in my mind…

My sincere “thanks” to ALL who have played their part in Boston Bruins history.

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THE NUMBER OF STANLEY CUPS WON BY THE BOSTON BRUINS:  6 (1928–29, 1938–39, 1940–41, 1969–70, 1971–72, 2010–11)

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TOMORROW ON  INKTIME ON RINKTIME:  The history of the Chicago Blackhawks

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UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen

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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 39

Day-39 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

NO KEITH, NO PROBLEM: The game was there for the taking.  The Blackhawks Norris trophy winning Defenseman, Duncan Keith, was relegated to the Press Box courtesy of a 1-game suspension…the Defending Stanley Cup Champions had a chance to pull even in the WCFS…and the Kings were hosting Game-4 of the series at Staples Center–where they had not lost since the month of March.  So, add it all up and the Series shifts to Chicago dead-even, right?  WRONG!

Despite scoring the first goal of the game, the Kings failed to show that killer instinct that made them a Champion and allowed the Hawks to overcome deficits–TWICE–en route to a 3-2 heart-breaker, to a go along with a not so subtle shove to the brink of elimination.

I thought Kings Coach Darryl Sutter made a very astute observation about how the absence of Duncan Keith really didn’t impact the Blackhawks approach to the game (around the 1:44 mark of this video):

Then again, it also doesn’t hurt when you have as fluid a skater and one that comes with the Hockey IQ of a Niklas Hjalmarsson–who was an impact player in this game from his opening shift.  And Brent Seabrook found a way to elevate his all-star game to another level, and that spelled F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N for the Kings–especially in the 3rd Period when despite trailing by just a goal they could only muster TWO SHOTS!

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GETTING FITTED FOR HORNS:  “This is when heroes are made.”–Those inspirational words were uttered five weeks ago when the Playoffs started by Kings Captain Dustin Brown.

Unfortunately, the Playoffs are also a time when unflattering references to “dogs” and “goats” are made.

In a must win game,  Dustin Brown  and fellow star teammate  Anze Kopitar were nowhere to be found on the score sheet.  In fact, Brown has 1 goal in his last 9 Playoff games–and none in the conference final.  While Anze Kopitar –who led the club in Regular Season scoring–has 1 goal in 13 Post-Season games, but none in this series versus the Blackhawks.

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME, LATELY:  Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma is one of the youngest, most respected and most successful coaches in the NHL.  Over the course of 4 seasons with the Pens, the 42-year old Bylsma has amassed a record of (201-92-25).   Those 201 victories ranks second in team history to Eddie Johnston’s (232-224-60) all-time franchise record.

Yet checkout yesterday’s presser with Coach Bylsma, where it took roughly :50 to broach the topic of his future–considering his club is down 3-games-to-none to Boston in the Eastern Conference Final:

Now to Bylsma’s credit, he massaged his answer to focus more on the accountability of the team.

But this response: “I’m not coaching, don’t coach, have never coached for my job,” IMHO is a larger measure of the man.

And if the Pens would be foolish enough to listen to the media (there’s a joke in there somewhere), I am certain the Rangers, Canucks and Stars would be more than happy to scrap their current course of action to accommodate Mr. Bylsma.

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UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen

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TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE:

Pittsburgh     at     Boston     8:00 PM EST
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Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 38

Day-38 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

INKTIME  on RINKTIME Observations and Random thoughts by Chris Madsen:

I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO DAD:  As a kid growing up in Chicago, I played baseball at a local park in our neighborhood from the Pee-wee level all the way up to Semi-Pro.  And during that time, my Dad was one of the winning-est Little League coaches in the program’s history.  Each year, kids would come and go–and yet–each year my Dad would field a team in the Playoffs.

So when I went to College on a baseball scholarship, my Dad encouraged me to give back by offering to coach at the Pony League level (12-15 years of age). Now when it came time to draft players, the other coaches had an inherent advantage because they had an “automatic” pick–more often than not their son–and their son could tell them about all of the “best” players available to choose from.

Before my first draft, my Dad pulled me aside and said, “Son, don’t focus on the guys you are hearing are ‘the best players’.  During tryouts (which consisted of fielding, throwing and hitting drills)  try to weed-out those boys you feel have the determination and a love of the game.  Believe me, in the end, those are the one’s that are much easier and fun to coach…and believe me, you will all go farther.”

Right now, the Boston Bruins look like the more the determined bunch.  And their love of the game appears to be off the charts!

I guess the only question is…how much farther can the Boston Bruins go?

BTW, when I finished drafting my Pony League team, many of the Dads/Coaches around the table were openly giggling–rudely saying that I had just drafted the equivalent of the league’s “Bad News Bears.”

We won the Championship…and beat the team that arguably had “the best” players with a Suicide-Squeeze bunt with one out in the Bottom of the 9th!  They never saw it coming.  And the boy who laid down the bunt, hadn’t had a hit all year.

“Thanks”, Dad.

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A VOID TO FILL:  And it’s a sizeable one for the Blackhawks, after losing Duncan Keith to a 1-game suspension–following his high-sticking incident in Game-3 involving Kings Forward Jeff Carter (see BREAKING NEWS from yesterday). Normally, Keith takes a regular shift alongside Brent Seabrook, works the Power Play and kills Penalties–so, no doubt, these are pretty big skates to fill.

This circumstance will probably lead to debut of Sheldon Brookbank.  Brookbank found himself in a tug-of-war with fellow veteran Michal Rozsival for the 6th D-spot–with Rozival winning out in the Post-Season, by starting the first 15 games of the Playoffs for Chicago.   Brookbank played 26 games during the regular season and had one goal and no assists.

The only questions is, who will Coach Joel Quenneville pair Brookbank with?  Stay tuned!

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MORE FROM THE  M*A*S*H UNIT:

Kings Center Mike Richards  took a big hit from the Blackhawks Dave Bolland  in Game-1 of the WCFS and hasn’t suited up since.  His injury has been categorized as “an upper body injury” and believed to be a concussion.

Richards reportedly took a few non-contact turns with all of the other players who were a scratch in Game-3 at the Kings practice facility in El Segundo, California.  No word on his status for tonight’s tilt.

Meanwhile, the  Bruins will be without forward Gregory Campbell for the remainder of the Payoffs due to a broken leg.  Campbell blocked a shot by Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin during last night’s 2OT victory..

But you talk about tough…Campbell stayed on the ice to kill the rest of Pen’s Power Play before gingerly making his way to the B’s locker room.

Like Dad said….”Determination.”

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UNTIL THE NEXT TIME WE LACE ‘EM UP AND HIT THE ICE!–Chris Madsen

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TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE:

Chicago     at     Los Angeles     9:00 PM |EST
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BREAKING NEWS: Stanley Cup Playoffs 2013 – Day 37

Blackhawks defenseman  Duncan Keith has been suspended for one game for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter during last night’s Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.  The National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety has released this video explanation:

Keith is expected to sit out Game-4 tomorrow night at Staples Center.  cHICAGOLEADS THE bEST OF 7 sERIES 2-GAMES-TO-1.