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Today in Boston Bruins History: October 2

Phil Kessel with Zdeno Chara, but not as teammates, in 2009. John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Boston Bruins history for October 2:

1905: Myles J. Lane was born in Melrose, Mass. Lane was the third American-born and first American-trained player to enter the NHL when he did in 1928. Though he played briefly in New York, he was offered to the Bruins for $5,000, an offer that Bruins president Charles F. Adams found too paltry. (He sent the Rangers a telegram saying “get a life preserver, you are myles from shore.”) However, when the offer was upped to $7,500, that was acceptable for Boston. Lane was with the Bruins when they won the Stanley Cup in 1929. He also played football and coached at Dartmouth, Boston University and Harvard over the course of his career.

Then, he turned to the legal profession, getting his law degree from Boston College and eventually joining the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York state. He was actually part of the prosecution team in the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He served as U.S. Attorney there for two years, did private practice and was appointed to the New York state Supreme Court. When he died in 1987, he was the last surviving Bruin from the 1929 team.

1957: Gordie Roberts (Gordon Dennis Roberts) is born in Detroit, Mich. He played just over 1,000 total NHL games and was named for Gordie Howe. But when his parents named him for Howe, they may not have known their son would actually one day be Howe’s teammate while playing in Hartford at the end of the WHA era. Though he spent much of his career outside of Boston, and won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, he spent his last two years as a Bruin. He was the first American-born player to hit the 1,000 game mark. After his retirement, he went into coaching and scouting. He is now the head coach of a high school team in Minnesota.

1965: Graeme Townshend (Graeme Scott Townshend) is born in Kingston, Jamaica. Though he was born in Kingston, he and his family emigrated to Canada when he was young. He played four years at Rensselaer Polytechnic before going pro, including serving as team captain in 1987-88, and then he started his career in the Bruins system. Though he did play mostly in the AHL Maine Mariners, he did play about 20 games for Boston over the course of two seasons (1989-90 and 1990-91). After Boston, he played for the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators as well as their AHL clubs. All told, his play career lasted 10 seasons. Following his retirement, he coached minor-level teams, was a player development coordinator for San Jose and a skating coach for Toronto. He and his wife also own and operate a hockey school together.

1968: Glen Wesley (Glen Edwin Wesley) is born in Red Deer, Alberta. Drafted third overall by the Bruins in 1987, he played in Boston from 1987 to 1994. In that time, he tasted the Stanley Cup finals twice, but not the victory itself. (Yes, that includes the infamous Lights Out at Boston Garden game in 1988.) However, he was traded to Hartford before the 1994 season in exchange for three draft picks spread over three years. Wesley stayed on with Hartford after their move to Carolina, saw the Stanley Cup finals again in 2002, did not win yet again and was briefly part of the Maple Leafs lineup in 2002-03 as an attempt to make the playoffs.

Once that season ended, he returned to the Hurricanes, which was the best move: he was on that team when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006. That ended one of the longest dry spells for a player to not yet win the Cup. He retired in 2008 after 20 playing seasons, half of them with the Hurricanes. The team retired his number during a game against Boston in 2009. He’s still in the Carolina organization as the director of defenseman development and is now an American citizen.

1987: Phil Kessel (Phillip Joseph Kessel, Jr.) is born in Madison, Wis. A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, he also played at the University of Minnesota before his 2006 drafting by the Bruins. His rookie season, though, had an unusual speed bump: he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was out of service for five days as it was treated, leading to him being cancer-free. He missed only 11 games getting surgery and recovering. He went to the All-Star Game in 2007 for the YoungStars festivities and had a hat trick in the YoungStars game. Then his rookie season was topped off by winning the Masterton Trophy for perseverance in the face of cancer. He led the Bruins in goals in his sophomore season but was traded to Toronto in 2009.

Bruins fans may recognize how the song goes from here: Kessel was traded for a 2010 first-round, 2010 second-round and 2011 first-round pick. That 2010 first-rounder became Tyler Seguin, the second-rounder became Jared Knight and the 2011 pick became Dougie Hamilton. Kessel’s first game back in Boston after the trade was a bad one for him: he admitted he didn’t play well, but didn’t chalk it up to the fans chanting his name and booing him.

He represented America at the 2010 Olympics and won the silver medal. He has had success in Toronto, scoring at least 30 goals in each season, going to the 2012 All-Star Game (and being on Team Chara) and going past the 300 point mark. However, Seguin’s success in Boston since his drafting has led those boos and Kessel chants to be replaced with thanking him instead.

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