Boston Bruins history for July 24:
1954: Ray Maluta (full name Raymond William Maluta) is born in Flin Flon, Manitoba. His NHL career consisted of 25 games played with the Bruins: two in 1975-76, 23 in 1976-77. He also played for minor league teams in his hometown and elsewhere, including Austria. Following his retirement, he spent a lot of time as the executive general manager of a rink in upstate New York and coached the United States national sledge hockey team to a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympic World Championship and a gold the following year.
1980: Jeff Jillson is born in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. Drafted in 1999 by the San Jose Sharks, Jillson finished college and played with the University of Michigan before going pro. He spent two seasons in the San Jose system, alternating between California and their then-affiliate in Cleveland, until a trade to Boston in January 2003. While there, he did spend most of his time that first year in what may have been familiar territory: Providence. But then for 2003-04, he played exclusively in Boston, putting up 14 points in 50 games before a multi-player trade sent him to Buffalo in exchange for Brad Boyes. In 2004, he also represented America at the World Championship and won bronze. He was in the Sabres system until 2006, when he tried out the German leagues for a year. Returning to the NHL, he went with Colorado but ended up playing the entire season in the AHL. So, he sought out teams across the sea again, first in Russia, then Finland, then the Czech Republic, where he still plays today.
1985: Patrice Bergeron (full name Patrice Bergeron-Cleary) is born in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec. Drafted in 2003 by the Bruins, he made the immediate jump to the NHL and was in the 2004 YoungStars game at the All-Star festivities. His rookie season was capped with winning the gold at the World Championship in 2004. He stayed in the system during the lockout, playing for Providence, returning to the Bruins and leading the team in points for 2005-06. Around that time, the team started to change, starting with the big trade of Joe Thornton. Later it was revealed that this was part of a plan by then-GM Mike O’Connell to build the team in Bergeron’s image. He built up another 70+ point year for 2006-07 and was on track to keep it going when he was sidelined by a Grade 3 concussion in October 2007, ending his season at 10 games. Though the effects pained him and he suffered recovery setbacks, he did come back to the ice for 2008-09, building his way back up with 39 points and his only NHL fight to date in the playoffs. (According to HockeyFights.com, he also got in a scrap while in the AHL and two in the QMJHL.) 2010 saw him playing for Canada at the Olympics in Vancouver. He took home the gold medal and, by accident, some of Sidney Crosby‘s gear. (It was returned safely to its rightful owner.) He got his first hat trick in January 2011, eventually earning First Star of the Month honors for that month too. While in the 2011 playoffs, he was sidelined once again by a concussion, milder this time, that kept him from starting the first few games of the Eastern Conference Final. Upon his return, he was involved in another controversy during the Stanley Cup Final when, in a heated discussion with Alex Burrows, Burrows appeared to chomp on Bergeron’s gloved index finger. Burrows didn’t get in trouble for it due to inconclusive evidence. The Bruins won, Bergeron celebrated with two days in Quebec City and he followed that season with another pretty good one this season: featured on NHL 36, leading the league in plus-minus, skilled at faceoffs, winner of the Selke Trophy.
2011: Tuukka Rask has his day with the Stanley Cup in Finland. He intercepted the Cup at the Helsinki airport after Stanley flew over from Vienna and then came a 4.5 hour bus ride back to Rask’s hometown in Savonlinna. There was a stop for food on the way. Upon arrival in Savonlinna, Rask took the Cup right to the town’s arena and enjoyed walking under a line of sticks held high by young players to enter the arena. He once played in the local area program himself and was wearing the local team uniform while in town. (Back then, his number was 35, not 40.) He also stopped by the castle in Savonlinna (the word ‘linna’ means castle in Finnish), which has been there since the year 1475. Then it was off to the family home for dinner and fellowship before a trip to, what else, a sauna resort. Finns switch from the heat of the sauna to the cold of a nearby body of water, whether a pool or lake, and repeat this hot-cold-hot-cold over and over again. Then it was time for karaoke–words in Finnish, music from familiar English songs.
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