Boston Bruins history for September 8:
1945: Rogie Vachon (full name Rogatien Rosaire Vachon) is born in Palmarolle, Quebec. Vachon might be more well-known for his time with the Los Angeles Kings, or even the Montreal Canadiens, but he spent the last two years of his career in Boston. After being Kings MVP four times, helping win the 1976 Canada Cup and playing for Detroit, he put up two winning seasons with the Bruins from 1980-81 to 1981-82 (a 25-19-6 record and a 19-11-6 record). Following his retirement, he served as Kings general manager, interim head coach of the Kings three different times and now a Royal Ambassador for the team. In his entire career, he never once allowed a goal on a penalty shot.
1972: Trent McCleary (full name Trent Kenneth McCleary) is born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. His junior career was marked by winning the Memorial Cup in 1988-89 and he was signed by the Ottawa Senators right after his graduation. While with Ottawa’s AHL team, he suffered his first injury issue in his career, damage to the retina in his right eye after he was hit with a stick. That led to him wearing a visor. After a year spent in Ottawa during the relative infancy of the team, he was traded to Boston in 1996 and played a year there too. He couldn’t agree on a contract for 1997-98 and spent time in the minors until Montreal took him on as a free agent. With the Habs, he was bitten by the injury bug once again, severing a tear duct in his right eye (the one that was hurt before) after contact with an errant skate blade. He did recover, but his final meeting with the injury bug nearly took his life.
While trying to block a slap shot, he was hit in the throat by the puck, collapsing a lung and fracturing his larynx. He couldn’t breathe. The hallways of the Molson Centre (now Bell Centre) became a triage ward as medical staff worked to reopen his airway, then put him in the ambulance for a hospital trip and an emergency tracheotomy. Hospital staff was working so hard to save his life that they didn’t even take off his skates. It took him six weeks and many surgeries to regain his ability to speak. Though he did try to come back to hockey, he realized he couldn’t get through a shift without being short of breath. That’s because his airway was 15 percent narrower than before the slap shot incident. So, he retired, but remained with the Habs as a scout for the junior league he was in back in his early days.
1978: Marco Sturm (full name Marco Johann Sturm) is born in Dingolfing, West Germany. Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 1996, he debuted with San Jose in 1997 and won Rookie of the Month recognition in his first year. While with the Sharks, they won the Pacific Division for the first time ever and went to the playoffs many times. However, in November 2005 he was part of the big trade that sent Joe Thornton out west. Playing with the Bruins brought on a surge in points and he finished 2005-06 second on the team for goals with a career-high 29. His 2007-08 season was good as well–56 points, team-leading 27 goals, scored a huge game-winning goal in the 2008 playoffs against the Habs with just three minutes to go in a potentially eliminating Game 6. However, 2008-09 was shortened due to injuries, but he bounced back for 2009-10. Once again, he had game-winning heroics, this time in the 2010 Winter Classic, and led the team in scoring yet again. Another injury kept him on the sidelines for part of 2010-11 and then he was traded in December 2010 to Los Angeles. Since then, he’s bounced around teams, playing for Washington, Vancouver and now Florida. Among some Bruins fans, he is referred to as Sturmface because of the faces he often makes in in-game photos–see photo above for an example.
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