Today in Boston Bruins History: September 26

Frank Brimsek was the first American-born player to enter the Hockey Hall of Fame. Photo from vintageminnesotahockey.com

 

Boston Bruins history for September 26:

1913: Frank Brimsek (Francis Charles Brimsek) was born in Eveleth, Minn. He began his play career in 1938 with the Bruins when Tiny Thompson was injured and started his first season by notching 10 shutouts–earning him the nickname Mr. Zero–and putting up a goals-against average of 1.56. For a rookie year like that, he won the Calder Trophy, plus he was on the 1939 and 1941 Stanley Cup champion Bruins teams. In 1939 and 1942, he also won the Vezina Trophy. He made two All-Star Game appearances in 1947 and 1948 and got First or Second All-Star Team honors eight times over the course of his career.

His career was interrupted by World War II, but he carried on playing with a special Coast Guard team and served on a Coast Guard supply ship in the Pacific too. When the war ended, he went back to the Bruins, where he stayed until 1948-49. That was his final NHL season and it was spent with the Chicago Black Hawks. In 1966, he became the first American-born player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. There’s also an award for the top high school goalie in Minnesota named for him. He died in 1998. Just before he died that year, The Hockey News put him at 67 on their list of the 100 greatest players.

1967: Craig Janney (Craig Harlan Janney) is born in Hartford, Conn. Drafted in 1986 by the Bruins while he was attending Boston College, he also played in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary for Team USA. He played with the Bruins until the 1991-92 season, but over the course of his career he also spent time in St. Louis, San Jose, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Long Island. While in St. Louis, he was on a line with Brendan Shanahan, but then some off-the-ice drama (Janney and his wife Catherine divorced, then Catherine took up with Shanahan–the two are still married today) caused Shanahan to be traded off to Hartford.

Janney retired from playing in 1999 and the NHL Alumni Board named him the player with the softest hands in hockey in 2004. (Perhaps his average of about a point per game over the course of his entire career, and his well-known passing ability, helped the board make that decision.) He also tried his hand at coaching in 2007 with the CHL Lubbock Cotton Kings, but after the 2006-07 season, the Cotton Kings folded. Most recently Janney has been seen on NESN for coverage of Hockey East, the conference of the Boston College Eagles.

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