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The Bruins and Retired Numbers


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#1 mabrowndog


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:13 PM

I'm going to guess nearly every hockey fan who reads the following sentence for the first time will have a reaction somewhere between mild surprise and complete astonishment:

The Boston Bruins have retired the numbers of 10 players, but none of them were goaltenders.

Think about that for a moment. They're the only one of the NHL's Original Six that hasn't raised a goalie's banner to the rafters:

    Blackhawks - Tony Esposito, Glenn Hall
    Red Wings - Terry Sawchuk
    Maple Leafs* - Turk Broda, Johnny Bower,
    Rangers - Eddie Giacomin, Mike Richter
    Canadiens - Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy

    * The Leafs have a fucked-up policy of "retiring" numbers. Only those "who have made a significant contribution to the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club and have experienced a career-ending incident while a member of the Maple Leaf team" are eligible. So far only Bill Barilko and Ace Bailey have qualified; Neither were goalies. For other players, the Leafs used the "Honoured Number" system and have recognized 15 players wearing 9 numbers.

So WTF?? Let's take a look:

* The Bruins have had three Hall of Fame goalies who spent most or all of their careers with the team: Tiny Thompson, Frank Brimsek and Gerry Cheevers.

* The first two played in an era when Bs goalies didn't wear numbers on their backs. I guess everyone was pretty much able to figure out who they were.

* Cheevers donned both 30 and 31, and each number has been worn by 15 other Bruins.

* Four B's goalies have won the Vezina Trophy: Thompson (4 times), Brimsek (2), Pete Peeters (1) and Tim Thomas (1).

* Some other stellar goalies have stood between the pipes for the black and gold, though their tenures in Boston weren't extensive: Most notably Eddie Johnston, Reggie Lemelin and Andy Moog. Moog wore #35 while Johnston, Lemelin and Peeters all wore #1.

There's no doubt in my mind that Thompson, Brimsek and Cheevers deserve to be recognized alongside Orr, Espo, Bourque, Shore, Hitchman, Clapper, Neely, Bucyk, Schmidt and O'Reilly. Moog remains the greatest goaltender I've ever seen in a Bruins' sweater, but he wasn't around here long enough and the team didn't achieve enough success in spite of his brilliance.

Many sports fans view the retiring of numbers as ridiculous, and it's hard to argue against that in terms of practicality. But it's more about the honor that comes with it. Any Bruins fan who witnessed Bourque shedding his jersey and handing it to a shocked Phil Esposito, or the 10-minute uninterrupted standing ovation for Orr, or the raucous roars for Bourque, Neely and O'Reilly, can't possibly deny that those were magical moments for this hockey team.

As a history buff, the important thing to me is that the team's best netminders get their just recognition, and since the raising of a banner to the rafters has become the status quo the club needs to find a way to get it done without disturbing that convention. It's long overdue. Hell, instead of a number for Brimsek and Thompson, they can just put a pair of crossed goalie sticks in the middle of the spoked emblem.

Discuss.

#2 TheShynessClinic


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:19 PM

I mean, that's all well and good, but ultimately...who cares?

I get it...you do. But really..throwing those crossed sticks up into the rafters is going to accomplish what exactly? I'm all for paying respect for players accomplishments, but it's been 70 something years since Thompson played and 60 years for Brimsek..I doubt they or their families are really losing any sleep about this perceived slight.

Edit:

And this line:

QUOTE
I'm going to guess nearly every hockey fan who reads the following sentence for the first time will have a reaction somewhere between mild surprise and complete astonishment:

The Boston Bruins have retired the numbers of 10 players, but none of them were goaltenders.


I'm going to say No. And get the fuck over yourself. Any person in RMPS who posts knowledgeably knows the retired numbers and the names and positions associated with the numbers by heart. Don't act like you're the only person here who cares for the history of the Bruins reaching beyond game 6 of 2008.

Edited by TheShynessClinic, 28 April 2010 - 02:23 PM.


#3 The Four Peters


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:22 PM

I dunno, as a fan of hockey history I think it'd be pretty cool. It's certainly worthy of discussion, and leads to the tangential conversation of why the Bruins have never had a goalie who was obviously worthy of getting their number retired.

I think it's hard to argue against an honorary celebration for Thompson, Brimsek, and Cheevers. I'd love to see Lemelin's "1" up there, only because the image of him fist pumping on the Forum ice after finally snapping the playoff streak against the Habs is an iconic image for the franchise.

So in short, I care.

#4 FL4WL3SS


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:23 PM

It's also important to note that the same set of numbers is recycled over and over again for goalies, so raising a few of those numbers to the rafters limits the numbers available to goalies.

#5 TheShynessClinic


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:27 PM

Lemelin played for less than half of his NHL career here, no way he deserves his number retired.

As for the other stuff, I'm all for open discussion about goaltenders past. And why the hell not, have a night honoring Brimsek, and Thompson. Create some awareness for the newer generation of Bruins fans as to who they are.

I just can't find a reason to care that their numbers aren't retired.

#6 Dropkick Izzy

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:28 PM

So the Bruins, who've been oft-maligned in the goaltending department, have never retired a goalie's number? This sounds like there's the potential for a book in here...



#7 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:28 PM

QUOTE (TheShynessClinic @ Apr 28 2010, 03:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm going to say No. And get the fuck over yourself. Any person in RMPS who posts knowledgeably knows the retired numbers and the names and positions associated with the numbers by heart. Don't act like you're the only person here who cares for the history of the Bruins reaching beyond game 6 of 2008.

Hey, settle down cupcake. Not every post in this forum is an affront to your hockey sensibilities. You're acting like a douche to a long-time member.

#8 The Allented Mr Ripley


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:29 PM

QUOTE (TheShynessClinic @ Apr 28 2010, 03:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm going to say No. And get the fuck over yourself. Any person in RMPS who posts knowledgeably knows the retired numbers and the names and positions associated with the numbers by heart. Don't act like you're the only person here who cares for the history of the Bruins reaching beyond game 6 of 2008.


Uh, what just happened here?


#9 PedroSpecialK


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ Apr 28 2010, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey, settle down cupcake. Not every post in this forum is an affront to your hockey sensibilities. You're acting like a douche to a long-time member.

I was gonna say, where did THAT come from?

I don't think any goalie in Bruins history deserves a retired number as of now, outside of perhaps Cheevers - and if Terry O'Reilly has his number retired, I think Cheevers should too. Obviously, I didn't see him play, but from first-hand accounts it seems like he was around the same level of being an icon as O'Reilly was.

#10 The Four Peters


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:31 PM

QUOTE (TheShynessClinic @ Apr 28 2010, 03:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm going to say No. And get the fuck over yourself. Any person in RMPS who posts knowledgeably knows the retired numbers and the names and positions associated with the numbers by heart. Don't act like you're the only person here who cares for the history of the Bruins reaching beyond game 6 of 2008.

Wrong. I was actually surprised to read it, and I do know all of those by heart (or close to it). I just never made the connection or thought about it that way. Stop being a defensive, know it all prick and stifling what's looks like an interesting discussion about Bruins goalies.

Edit: Just saw SJH's reply. Also, I don't think Lemelin's number should be retired in a traditional sense, just that his contribution in the Montreal series was a landmark event. PSK makes a good point about O'Reilly and Cheevers, too.

Also, to FL4WL3SS' post, why are goalie numbers so often in that small range? Obviously Tuukka's is 40, but it seems that all goalies have such a small range of allotted numbers. Is there a reason for this?

#11 TheShynessClinic


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:32 PM

I'm having a shit day, and maybe I came across as more harsh than I needed to be, sorry to Ma and others..

however, maybe I missed the memo that RMPS's should be "astonished" by the fact the Bruins have never retired a goaltenders number. I really thought this would be considered common knowledge to most people here, and the assumption that we would be amazed by this revelation seemed like Ma may have been talking down to the forum.

I'll shut up now.

#12 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:32 PM

Bruins all-time games played leaders for goalies:

1. Tiny Thompson* 468
2. Frank Brimsek* 444
Eddie Johnston 444
4. Gerry Cheevers*416
5. Byron Dafoe 283
6. Gilles Gilbert 277
7. Tim Thomas 262
8. Andy Moog 261
9. Jim Henry 237
10. Reggie Lemelin 183

Firstly....Byron Dafoe? Really?

Secondly, Cheevers' departure to play in the WHL for 4 years or so really hurts his case as possibly the greatest goaltender in franchise history. He played in 191 games in the WHL; had he stayed in Boston not only would he be the team's all time leader in games played by a goalie, but it's possible they would have won more Cups and he'd have more than the 2 he's got to his name.

Thirdly, if Thomas hadn't lost his job as the number 1 this year it's very likely that he would already have the 5th spot locked up for all time games played for the Bruins. A terrifying thought, and as good of an indicator as any that the Bruins' goaltending has been shit for a very long time.

#13 Domer

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:39 PM

QUOTE (The Four Peters @ Apr 28 2010, 03:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Also, to FL4WL3SS' post, why are goalie numbers so often in that small range? Obviously Tuukka's is 40, but it seems that all goalies have such a small range of allotted numbers. Is there a reason for this?

Goalies were traditionally the first and last numbers issued on a team. That meant a goalie would normally wear 1 or 30. In modern hockey, the numbering system is mostly a relic, but it is still rare to see forwards wearing single digits 1 through 6 and goalies wearing numbers other than 1 and 29-39.

Edited by Domer, 28 April 2010 - 02:40 PM.


#14 The Four Peters


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:41 PM

No shit. This thread has taught me something. And for that, I am a better person.

But not a taller person.

#15 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:44 PM

I know Belfour and Nabokov wore/wear 20 in honor of Tretiak, who wore that number for CCCP throughout his career.

Some other oddities: Hextall wearing 27 (I think Gilles Meloche wore that one as well), Hextall wearing 72 in his years with the Isles, Khabibulin wearing 53 with the Hawks when he first got there as 35 is retired for Esposito.

Tim Thomas' first number with the Bruins: 70.

#16 Salem's Lot


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:48 PM

I believe that Thompson & Brimsek both wore #1 for the Bruins.

#17 FL4WL3SS


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE (Salem's Lot @ Apr 28 2010, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I believe that Thompson & Brimsek both wore #1 for the Bruins.

Thompson and Brimsek played when hockey players actually wore sweaters.

#18 The Four Peters


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:52 PM

QUOTE (Salem's Lot @ Apr 28 2010, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I believe that Thompson & Brimsek both wore #1 for the Bruins.

Nice call.

Brimsek:


Thompson:


#19 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:06 PM

Heh. Had nearly this same conversation with a friend this weekend, when we realized that Dennis Freakin' Wideman is the only Bruin currently wearing a single digit number (since all the others, other than 1, are retired).

It wasn't too long ago, maybe the mid 70's, when non-goalies first started to wear numbers above 29. And goalies ALL wore 1 or 30, with the occasional 31 thrown in for good measure, before Tony Esposito rocked the 35.

And when Chris Nilan wore 30 for the Canadians, it was a scandal!


30 should be retired for Cheevers. He's at least as worthy as O'Reilly. No opinion on Brimsek & Thompson.

Oh, and Lionel Hitchman was the first NHL player to have his number retired.

#20 NickEsasky


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:11 PM

QUOTE (The Four Peters @ Apr 28 2010, 03:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No shit. This thread has taught me something. And for that, I am a better person.

But not a taller person.

Probably for the best. Would hate to see you have to finally give up your race car bed.

#21 dwightinright

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:28 PM

QUOTE (Domer @ Apr 28 2010, 03:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Goalies were traditionally the first and last numbers issued on a team. That meant a goalie would normally wear 1 or 30. In modern hockey, the numbering system is mostly a relic, but it is still rare to see forwards wearing single digits 1 through 6 and goalies wearing numbers other than 1 and 29-39.



Yep..generally the #1 goalie got 1, and the backup got 30. Five teams have retired a #1 jersey:

Montreal (Plante), Philley (Parent), Blackhawks (Hall), NYR (Giacomin), Detroit (Sawchuk).

And the Minnesota Wild retired that number in honor of the fans.

#22 PedroSpecialK


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:29 PM

QUOTE (dwightinright @ Apr 28 2010, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And the Minnesota Wild retired that number in honor of the fans.

God help them if they sign Andrew Raycroft.

#23 MoGator71

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:46 PM

Retiring numbers for "the fans" is probably the lamest thing ever, that or "ole ole ole ole" at anything but soccer matches.

Frankly I'm a bit surprised Cheevers' # isn't retired. How is his relationship with the organization, any issues? I know he did color for the Whalers in the late 80s and he was pretty homerish for the Whale, especially when they played Boston. That always seemed odd to me.

#24 Domer

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:08 PM

QUOTE (Lose Remerswaal @ Apr 28 2010, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And when Chris Nilan wore 30 for the Canadians, it was a scandal!

This is part of the reason why Patrick Roy wore #33


QUOTE (PedroSpecialK @ Apr 28 2010, 04:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
God help them if they sign Andrew Raycroft.

Raycroft is wearing #30 in Vancouver where Luongo wears #1

#25 PedroSpecialK


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:12 PM

Corrected, I stand. Brain fart.

#26 Rudi Fingers

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:50 PM

QUOTE (Lose Remerswaal @ Apr 28 2010, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
30 should be retired for Cheevers. He's at least as worthy as O'Reilly.


Agreed, but it would be just as special (if not more so) to have a picture of Cheevers' mask in place of a jersey number on his banner.

#27 FelixMantilla


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 05:03 PM

I never thought Cheevers was that good and that his chief competitors, Ed Giacomin, Tony Esposito, Bernie Parent and Ken Dryden were all better.

#28 BucketOBalls


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:17 PM

QUOTE (Rudi Fingers @ Apr 28 2010, 05:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agreed, but it would be just as special (if not more so) to have a picture of Cheevers' mask in place of a jersey number on his banner.



Most of what I know of Cheevers is second hand(yeah, something that makes me feel not-old!)but...I second this one. Also, Thomas wore #30 along with 70.




#29 mabrowndog


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE (TheShynessClinic @ Apr 28 2010, 03:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm having a shit day, and maybe I came across as more harsh than I needed to be, sorry to Ma and others..
Maybe? Sorry? Having a shit day???

You know what? Take your little whiny pre-pubescent zit-faced apology and shove it straight up your ass. You've been a supreme douchebag in this forum since the day you arrived, but until now I haven't wanted to waste a moment's breath or a ray of productive daylight by calling out any of your idiocy. Congrats on crossing the line, twat lips.

QUOTE
however, maybe I missed the memo that RMPS's should be "astonished" by the fact the Bruins have never retired a goaltenders number.
And you clearly missed the memo that reading comprehension is a helpful skill for an adult to possess. What part of "somewhere between mild surprise and complete astonishment" do you not understand? Here, try slowly running your index finger under each word and sounding out the syllables. It's ok, take your time.

QUOTE
I'll shut up now.

Great idea. You're not sorry. You're just softening your stance so you won't be perceived as the irrationally reactive and arrogant vagina you are, especially after all the frequent RMPS posters didn't back you up and pile on like you thought they would. You posted a needlessly wise-ass and unfunny response to another post of mine today in the bridge thread, so stop trying to pretend you're a good guy who gives a shit about mending fences.

Grow the fuck up.

Edited by mabrowndog, 28 April 2010 - 08:53 PM.


#30 The Napkin


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:57 PM

Okay, boys, we've all had our say. Now move along.


#31 Dummy Hoy


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Posted 28 April 2010 - 11:51 PM

My grandfather, who was a semi-pro goalie for years around New England, always used to say that Harry Sinden was a great judge of talent, but could never identify a good goalie. Still surprising that we really haven't ever had a better (long term) goalie than Cheevers.

And TSH- way over the line on this one.

#32 Terras


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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:16 AM

I also learned something here. I always assumed that the majority of goalies were wearing 30/40 in homage to past goalies - I didn't think it had anything to do with a set of numbers that had to be worn, like football. I knew that there were no goalies on the Bruins retired numbers list, but I figured there might have been a reason for it, something to do with the organization or along those lines.

Now that I realize it's not, yeah that's pretty dumb. Cheevers is always right along side Terry O'Reilly in all the highlight videos and history pieces on NESN (which are my only way to see them in action) as a key figure on those teams. If we have 3 HoF goalies, you'd expect at least one to get up there.

#33 The Napkin


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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:12 AM

I'm not ashamed to admit I never knew that about 1/30 either. Interesting little tidbit. Though I would guess some of these guys playing now are in fact wearing 1 or 30 or whatever because they grew up watching and idolizing goalies who wore 1/30 or whatever so it's become kind of self-fulfilling. Or I could be full of shit.

As for retired numbers I'm looking forward to seeing a black bow tie raised to the rafters in a few years. wink.gif