The announcement of Brad Marchand as Bruins captain, a surprise to many, included yet another surprise — the resolution to some longstanding cold cases connected to the club’s history books and former captains.
Marchand was rightly introduced as the Black and Gold’s 27th captain, only two years after his immediate predecessor, Patrice Bergeron, was installed as the 19th captain.
Funny math, going from 19 to 27? New-age hockey analytics (captains left in scoring position)? Someone cooking the Jacobs family books on Causeway Street?
Actually, none of that. All in all, it was a case of righting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 wrongs, the club realizing that its own faulty record-keeping through the decades, dating to the 1920s, and through the Great Depression and World War II, omitted the names of seven players who served as captain.
The list included Sprague Cleghorn, now officially recognized as the club’s first captain, serving for three years (1925-28). A defenseman, the Montreal-born Cleghorn played four seasons with his hometown Canadiens prior to coming to Boston immediately after the Black and Gold’s inaugural season.
That’s right, let the record show an ex-Hab was the first Bruins captain. Some things just get better with time, mes amis.
In most cases, the “lost” captains served in the role for only one season, including early franchise icon Eddie Shore (retired sweater No. 2), who was 33 when he fulfilled his one-season stint as on-ice spokesman in 1935-36.
Shore was succeeded by Red Beattie, one of the other “Lost C’s,” who was captain for only 1936-37 and then handed it off to Cooney Weiland.
Along with Cleghorn, Shore, and Beattie, the Bruins also updated their list by including Marty Barry (1933-34), Nels Stewart (1934-35), Bill Cowley (1944-45), and Kraut Line member Bobby Bauer (1946-47).
According to a team spokesperson, the list was filled out in large part with the help of some dogged amateur historians, some of whom devoted years to researching the subject and advocating for the “Lost C’s” to be remembered.
Boston Globe archives, added the spokesperson, also played a part in the club’s research and validation process. The Globe is the lone remaining media source in the city to cover the club as a full-time beat dating from grocery merchant Charles Adams founding the club in 1924.
Bauer assumed the captain’s role for what proved to be his final NHL season, his seventh with the club, at age 31. He responded by posting a career-best 30-24–54 line, second only to fellow Kraut Line member Milt Schmidt (27-35–62).
The Bruins were at their Hershey, Pa., training camp when coach Dit Clapper (retired sweater No. 5) appointed Bauer as captain.
“Bauer, often referred to as the ‘Brain,’ will make an excellent leader,” per the Globe report of the day.
Bauer’s appointment came during an era when the Bruins regularly rotated the captaincy. Rosters were smaller. Careers typically were shorter. Just as it’s never too late to say you’re sorry, the time is always right for clubs to square their history books.
When the Bruins opened for business at Boston Arena (now Northeastern’s Matthews Arena), the Red Sox and Braves were the only other widely acknowledged pro teams in town. Negro League baseball became a formal pro entity in 1920, though teams comprised of Black players in and around Boston across four decades were not considered top-caliber Negro League clubs. Reports of high school and college sports, along with pro boxing bouts and high-stakes horse races, often dominated the sports pages even when the Sox and Braves and Bruins were in season.
It’s hard to conceive, in today’s big business sports world, that a team captain’s name would fail to be recorded, or worse, lost to time and memory. But considering the era’s lack of record-keeping sophistication and epic challenges of the day, such as the Depression and World War II, comparing today to the past would be a mistake on par with those seven captains being lost for so long.
Fellas, welcome back. Now no one ever can say the Spoked-B hardly knew ye.
WORDS CARRY WEIGHT
Haula a leading
voice for Devils
After beginning a new season with five different clubs the last five years, ex-Bruin Erik Haula, 32, is about to start a second consecutive tour with the Devils.
General manager Tom Fitzgerald, who acquired Haula from the Bruins in a one-for-one-swap for Pavel Zacha in July 2022, signed Haula this offseason to a three-year extension that will pay the Finnish forward a total of $9.45 million — the most lucrative pact of his career.
The Devils have younger, flashier forwards to pile up points and carry the offensive load. Fitzgerald sought to add and keep Haula for his faceoff proficiency (54.2 percent last season) and his veteran wisdom in various roles up and down the forward group.
“Haula was not the right piece for a bunch of teams, but he’s the right piece for my team,” said Fitzgerald. “Just his attitude, like in our summer skates, he said, ‘They have to be harder, guys, we have to work harder!’ That was new to some of our guys. The same thing from Brendan Smith. You just need someone like that to tell them what to do, someone with experience who isn’t afraid to say it.”
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Krug wouldn’t be
a Blues traveler
Had ex-Bruin Torey Krug signed off on an offseason deal to ship him to the Flyers, he’d probably be on the ice Monday when the Bruins’ exhibition tour lands in Philadelphia.
Krug, who signed with the Blues three seasons ago as an unrestricted free agent, in June refused to waive his no-trade clause after his disappointing 7-25–32 (lowest output of his 10 NHL seasons).
The Blues missed the playoffs for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in Boston in Game 7 in 2019 and were looking to reconfigure the backline and the payroll, of which Krug chews up a hefty $6.5 million per a year.
“I’m here to play hockey,” Krug told The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford on Tuesday, his first public comments since refusing to go to Philly. “I signed up to be in St. Louis for seven years and that’s what I want to do.”
Krug has the right to remain put for two more seasons, but his deal allows the Blues to wheel him to any of 16 clubs (15 ruled out by Krug) in Years 6 or 7 of the pact. They could try again prior to 2025-26, hoping that a different landing spot could entice him to leave more than a job with the rebuilding Flyers.
The cap-strapped Blues did little to change their outlook for the coming season. They ultimately succeeded in making a swap with the Broad Streeters, shipping out a Round 6 draft pick for Kevin Hayes, with half of the big pivot’s $7.14 million salary retained by the Flyers.
to climb the ladder
Jessica Campbell, who captained the Cornell women’s team in her 2013-14 senior season with Big Red, coached alongside her AHL boss, Dan Bylsma, in the Kraken’s exhibition tuneup vs. the Flames last Monday.
Campbell, 31, in the summer of 2022 was the first woman named as a full-time assistant in the AHL and helped steer Coachella Valley, the Kraken’s top affiliate, to the Calder Cup final. Bylsma is head coach of the Firebirds.
Raised in rural Rocanville, Saskatchewan (turn right at Regina), Campbell also last spring was an assistant coach with Team Germany, the first woman ever to coach in the men’s IIHF World Championship.
Her goal: to be an NHL coach.
“It’s just putting my head down, doing the work, and where it takes me, it takes me,” said Campbell, per a report on nhl.com. “I’m obviously honored to be on this path and continuing to just do the good work that it takes to hopefully reach that goal.”
Among those Campbell tutored last season at Coachella: Tye Kartye (pronounced: CAR-chay). The rookie free agent signee, ex- of the OHL Soo Greyhounds, scored 57 points in 72 games under Campbell’s tutelage in the AHL, then produced 3-2–5 when hustled into the Kraken varsity lineup during the playoffs.
Nice ring to it
The Bruins could open the season with four roster members able to boast Cup rings, including Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand (Bruins, 2011), Kevin Shattenkirk (Tampa Bay, 2020), and Alex Chiasson (Capitals, 2018).
If Chiasson can make the cut, the Bruins will be his third club in as many seasons. He rarely takes time to dig out that dazzling ring that he helped the Capitals win with his reliable support on the bottom six.
“Honestly, I think I’ve brought it out maybe three times since we won,” he said. “It’s stored away somewhere safe and I haven’t really taken it out. I like to stay in the present.”
During the summer, Chiasson returned home to Quebec City to help old pal Jonathan Marchessault, the clever Vegas forward, celebrate his day with the Cup. The two were teammates as kids.
“It was pretty neat to see my name again on [the Cup],” said Chiasson, the ex-Boston University forward, drafted originally by the Stars. “And to celebrate what [Marchessault] accomplished during the spring, to be together now that I’ve won one and that he’s won one. I think, selfishly, winning is the best thing as a player and that’s what you want to do again — I know a lot of guys play a long time and don’t get that opportunity. But having said that, I’ve won and I want to win again, it’s how we’re driven to play.”
Schneider decides to stop
Cory Schneider, ex-Boston College Eagle and favorite son of Marblehead, announced his retirement Tuesday, nearly 20 years after the Canucks selected him with their first-round pick (26) in the 2004 draft.
Schneider’s workhorse years came in New Jersey, after GM Lou Lamoriello acquired him in the summer of 2013 to be the franchise goaltender to succeed Martin Brodeur — a PhD course in the school of “Tough Acts to Follow.” The Devils were in post-Cup decline and Schneider finished 115-133-50 in New Jersey, where he made only three playoff starts across seven seasons.
“If you had told me as a Marblehead High freshman that I’d play 16 years of professional hockey,” mused Schneider in a Salem News story, “I would have laughed in your face.”
Schneider, 37, left Marblehead and played three years at Phillips Academy Andover prior to moving to The Heights in the fall of 2004.
Lamoriello shipped a first-round pick to Vancouver to acquire Schneider, the Canucks then cashing it in to draft Bo Horvat. Now the Islanders’ GM, Lamoriello in January acquired Horvat from the Canucks for assets that included Anthony Beauvillier and a first-round pick. Days later, Lamoriello signed Horvat to an eight-year extension for $68 million.
Long road to head Duck
Ex-Northeastern coach Greg Cronin, 60, is getting his first crack at running an NHL bench this season as the new coach of the Ducks. The task would be a bit easier if two of the Ducks’ top youngsters, Trevor Zegras (C/W) and Jamie Drysdale (D), weren’t on the sidelines, yet to agree to contract extensions.
Cronin, who grew up in Arlington, has coached for some 35 years, including two stints as an NHL assistant. Cut free on Long Island after the Islanders missed the playoffs in the spring of 2018, Cronin was taken aback when Lamoriello suggested he try a stint in the American Hockey League.
“After I was there like 10 years ago,” Cronin said on the opening day of Ducks camp.
However, it was Cronin’s five-year tour as head coach with AHL Colorado that ultimately led to the Ducks job. Anaheim GM Pat Verbeek opted for Cronin, in large part because of how he often got his club to play beyond the level of talent on its roster.
But Lamoriello’s parting advice on Long Island years earlier clearly left a mark.
“Have you ever seen ‘A Christmas Story,’ the movie, with Ralphie and the BB gun?” noted Cronin. “I was like Ralphie on the way down the slide, asking [Lamoriello] to help me get to the next level, and he booted me down the slide.”
No rushing Reinbacher
Early looks at defenseman David Reinbacher in Montreal have been promising, dialing down at least temporarily some of the rhetoric of Habs fans who wanted Les Glorieux to select Russian winger Matvei Michkov.
If Reinbacher does not stick with the bleu-blanc-et-rouge varsity, he can play in the AHL or go back to his club in Switzerland (Kloten). There are cases to be made for either of the latter two options, noted Nick Bobrov, Canadiens director of amateur scouting, but past could serve as prelude.
“I think history has shown,” said Bobrov, “by and large you are better to overcook a Euro and have them come prepared to really push for the job.”
Exhibit A in the overcook category: Peter Forsberg. “Foppa”, a first-round pick (Flyers) in 1991, remained with his MoDo team until the fall of 1994 before finally making his much-anticipated NHL debut at age 21 with the Quebec Nordiques. He delivered 50 points in 47 games that season, second only to fellow future Hall of Famer Joe Sakic (62 points). For those new to the rink, Forsberg landed in Quebec when the Flyers flipped him in the megadeal for L’enfant Terrible, Eric Lindros.
An ESPN list identifying the top 10 NHL teams for the next three seasons included only one Original Six club, the Red Wings. The Red Wings slotted in at No. 4, behind the Devils, Hurricanes, and Sabres. The rest: 5. Kraken; 6. Stars; 7. Wild; 8. Golden Knights; 9. Blue Jackets; 10. Kings. The Wings, Sabres, and Blue Jackets all were playoff DNQs last spring . . . Your faithful puck chronicler can’t reference any point in Saskatchewan without noting that Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, was born in Floral, a berg just southeast of Saskatoon . . . In the spring of 1983, the Ralston Purina company, then the owner of the Blues, agreed to sell the franchise to a group set on moving it to Saskatoon. Cost: $12 million. Saskatoon city fathers agreed to build an 18,000-seat, state-of-the-art arena. The stage was perfectly set. Until the NHL Board of Governors, overseeing what was then a 21-team league, gave it the thumbs down, not convinced that the market had sufficient population or corporate base to support the franchise. Forty years later, those same variables are what prevent the NHL from seriously considering a franchise in Quebec City . . . Rumors continue to circulate, by the way, that the city of Atlanta could get a third crack at an NHL franchise, after the failed attempts of the Flames and Thrashers. Lots of people. Lots of corporate dollars. But proof, like Arizona, that the NHL’s vulcanized template for expansion has its nuances . . . Eddie Sandford, perhaps the kindest soul ever to wear the Bruins’ “C,” for the 1954-55 season, celebrated his 95th birthday on Aug. 20.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.