1970: John Gruden is born in Virginia, Minnesota. He was drafted in 1990 by the Boston Bruins, but played three years at Ferris State University before going pro. He spent four years with the Bruins organization, both in Boston and Providence, generally doing better in Rhode Island. But then for 1997-98, he became part of the Ottawa Senators and their then-affiliate the Detroit Vipers. (While he was with them, they folded and the Grand Rapids Griffins became the Senators’ affiliate. They then switched their link to the Detroit Red Wings.) Again he continued to do better in the minors. After a short sojourn to the German leagues, he played for one year with the Washington Capitals and retired. Now he coaches a high school team in Rochester, Michigan and stays active with the Red Wings alumni group.
1976: Wayne Primeau is born in Scarborough, Ontario. For Primeau, the Bruins were his fifth NHL team, coming after Buffalo (the team that drafted him in 1994), Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and San Jose. He played for two seasons as a Bruin, scoring about 15 points in each one, coming over to Massachusetts on the famous trade that sent Joe Thornton to California. But in 2007, he was traded to Calgary in exchange for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew. Once again he played somewhere for two full seasons before getting traded, this time to Toronto. After one full season, they put him on a tryout contract for 2010, but released him from it and he has not played since 2010.
1988: Matt Bartkowski is born in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in 2008, he spent two years with Ohio State, two years that actually kept him from ever playing a game in Florida. He was traded up to Boston, along with Dennis Seidenberg, in March 2010, spending much of the season in the minors. He had his NHL debut in January 2011–against hometown (well, hometown area) team the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though he was part of the Cup-winning team, he didn’t play enough games to qualify for inscription on the Stanley Cup, but he was part of the celebration anyway.
2011: Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi score for the Bruins, but it’s not enough as they lose Stanley Cup Final Game 2 to the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2. Tied at the end of regulation, this game is settled in the shortest amount of overtime ever in Bruins history–11 seconds–when Alexandre Burrows fakes out Tim Thomas and scores. Also, Thomas breaks Andy Moog‘s record for minutes played in one postseason campaign. So, the Bruins return home to Boston down 0-2 in the series, which is a pretty bad hole for a team to be in if they entertain thoughts of winning the series…
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