Today in Boston Bruins History: July 6
1943: Joe Watson (full name Joseph John Watson) is born in Smithers, British Columbia. Watson began his playing career with a variety of junior teams named Bruins–Estevan Bruins and Minneapolis Bruins–which may have been a bit of foreshadowing for when he would become part of the Boston Bruins in 1964-65. That year, he played just one game for the parent club, but spent a lot of time with the aforementioned Minneapolis club. After spending an entire year with the Oklahoma City Blazers, Watson was ready for the big time and played the full 1966-67 season in Boston. In 69 games, he put up 15 points playing defense. But when the NHL expanded and held an expansion draft in 1967, he was claimed by the upstart Philadelphia Flyers. With the Flyers, he took off, playing for 11 seasons and being part of their back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. He also got to play on the same team as his brother Jim for a while too. He didn’t retire with the Flyers, though, because he was traded to the Colorado Rockies in 1978 and spent time there before retiring.
1948: Brad Park (full name Douglas Bradford Park) is born in Toronto, Ontario. He was drafted by the New York Rangers in 1966 and made his way to Broadway in 1968. His offensive defenseman style drew inevitable comparisons to his contemporary, Bobby Orr, and though the two of them occasionally fought on ice and their rivalry was hyped up, Park remarked in hindsight that he didn’t mind the comparisons: “I saw no reason to be upset because I was rated second to Bobby Orr. After all, Orr not only was the top defenseman in the game but he was considered the best player ever to put on a pair of skates. There was nothing insulting about being rated number two to such a super superstar,” he said.
Park was alternate captain, and briefly captain, of the Rangers and led the team to the Stanley Cup final in 1972, though they lost–to the Bruins. That year Park finished second in voting for the Norris Trophy as well. The World Hockey Association wanted to take him away, but the Rangers secured him with a $200,000 a year contract. For a time, he was actually the highest-paid player in the NHL. That year, Orr was hurt and unable to play in the Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Park went in his stead and was named MVP of the decisive Game 8 as well as the best defenseman in the series. When the Rangers had a very bad start to 1975-76, they began to trim their pricey veterans from the roster.
This included Park, who was traded to Boston as part of the big trade that brought Phil Esposito to New York. Park took a leadership role–Orr, still struggling with injuries, was about to leave–and settled in pretty well with the Bruins, who had been an archrival. In this era, twice he finished second for the Norris votes again. (His six times as a runner-up are the most for a single defenseman in league history.) His final season as a Bruin was a 36-point campaign in 1982-83. After that, he went to the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, set a club record for assists by a defenseman and won the Masterton Trophy. But 1984-85 was his last season as a player, though he did serve as Detroit’s coach for a time right after that. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, his first year of eligibility, and lives in Massachusetts.
1970: Andrew McKim (full name Andrew Harry McKim) is born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Undrafted, he played for the Boston and Providence Bruins from 1992 to 1994. Most of those two seasons were spent in Providence–a 61-game, 69-point season in 1992-93 comes to mind–and he played 36 total games with the parent club. He spent 1994-95 with the Red Wings, both in Adirondack and Detroit, and led Canada to the bronze medal at the 1995 World Championship, winning the scoring title there. After that, though, he sought playing time in Germany and Switzerland before his 2001 retirement. Now, he is the assistant coach of a senior league team in Newfoundland and is involved in a hockey school in that area as well.
1988: Carter Camper is born in Rocky River, Ohio. He played for the Miami Redhawks for four seasons and signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent right after his 2011 graduation. Mostly playing for Providence, he got his first NHL call-up in February 2012, notching his first goal and point that month too. His call-up didn’t last long, as trade deadline trades pushed him back down to Providence, but he finished out the season there with 48 points in 69 games.
2010: The Bruins’ 2010 development camp opens with a group of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and four goalies. Among the prospects are the newest Bruins selected in the draft in Los Angeles, including Tyler Seguin.
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