Boston Bruins history for August 16:
1914: Bob Blake (full name Louis Robert Blake) was born in Ashland, Wisconsin. He started off playing hockey in high school and then the minor leagues, where within the span of two years he became one of the league’s top scorers and was given a chance to play in the NHL with the Bruins. His shot at the big show, though, did not last long. Even though he played alongside big names like Eddie Shore and Tiny Thompson–eight future Hall of Famers in total–he played just 12 games in Boston and was held scoreless. He did continue to find success with minor league teams, even winning the AHL’s Calder Cup with the old Buffalo Bisons in 1943 as team captain. After that, he took a two-year break from hockey to fight in World War II in the Pacific theater, but he came back to Buffalo once he’d served his country. He continued to play until the 1950-51 season and after retiring, he went into coaching and kept teaching the game until he was well into his 90s. He died in 2008 at the age of 94.
1981: Garnet Exelby is born in Craik, Saskatchewan. Drafted by Atlanta in 1999, he spent time in the minors and AHL before making it up to the NHL, though along the way he too won the Calder Cup as part of the 2002 Chicago Wolves. From 2003 to 2008, aside from the lockout year, he played steadily in Atlanta and, while he may not have put up many points, he proved himself adept at racking up the penalty minutes, getting 134 PIM to go with 10 points in 2003-04, for example. Traded to Toronto in 2009, he played there for a season, then got on with the Chicago Blackhawks‘ AHL affiliate in Rockford for 2010. While with Rockford, he served as team captain. 2011 saw him go to the Detroit Red Wings‘ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on the same kind of one-year deal. In July 2012, he signed with the Bruins as a free agent.
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