Robert Gordon Orr flying through the air as he scores the Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal against the Blues in 1970 will always be the lasting image of the Big, Bad Bruins era.
The most iconic symbol, however, is Gerry Cheevers’s goalie mask featuring stitches in all the spots where pucks would have left marks on his face.
Cheevers made goalie masks a scary fashion statement way before Jason Voorhees came along.
Linus Ullmark, who now guards that same 6-foot-by-4-foot area that Cheevers blocked, paid tribute to his predecessor Saturday, wearing a modern-day version of the stitched-face cage during the morning skate and warm-ups before Saturday’s 5-2 win over the Canadiens at TD Garden.
Ullmark backed up Jeremy Swayman against the Canadiens for “Big, Bad Bruins” night, the second of the Bruins’ theme nights during their centennial season.
Bruins fans of the Cheevers era would try to keep track of new stitches on the mask. A near-impossible task, given the number of games he would play and the shots he would absorb.
It was easier for fans of other teams, including Jim Montgomery.
“Oh, the stitches, yeah. Every time he got hit, that’s on there,” said Bruins coach said. “Are we going to see another stitch the next time we see his mask? I only saw the Bruins when they played the Canadiens, right? So, you’d actually be able to notice the new stitches.”
Many of the players who made up the Big, Bad Bruins days are in town this weekend, including Orr and Cheevers.
Montgomery remembers the big moments of the era, especially the rivalry against his hometown Canadiens, but all the little battles within the rivalry.
“It is great having those guys around, obviously everybody [gravitates] toward No. 4,” said the coach. “I remember Donnie Marcotte trying to shadow Guy Lafleur for four years in a row in the playoffs and the different things that happened between the Bruins and the Canadiens. That’s why it’s great that we’re playing the Canadiens tonight and the Big, Bad Bruins are here to support us. It’s just awesome to be a Bruin because of that.”
Bruins of every era have been around a lot this season, from the summer golf tournament, to opening night, to the centennial gala. For the current team, it’s akin to taking a history class in their dressing room.
“It’s incredible. Obviously, a lot of them are legends and the teams are ones that we talk about a lot throughout the years and see the pictures and the highlights from those Cup years,” said Brad Marchand. “To have those guys in the room and to have the history and the culture that we try to uphold every single day. To see the guys that built it, and started it all, it’s incredible to have them around and to hear their stories and hear the way things were back in the day when they played and the different rivalries they had.”
Marchand said some of the former players chatted with the team Saturday.
“It’s been great this morning to hear from a lot of the guys and hear from their experience in the league and how different it is now compared to when they played,” said the captain. “So, it’s a great experience for us.”
McAvoy streaks onward
Charlie McAvoy extended his point streak to six straight games with his first-period power-play goal, giving him 3 goals and 5 assists in that span … Patrick Brown, who was placed on waivers Friday, cleared, and participated in the morning optional skate … Matt Grzelcyk and Morgan Geekie (both out with upper-body injuries) also skated … The Bruins will be off Sunday and will head to Florida for games with the Lightning (Monday) and Panthers (Wednesday) … The next home game is the annual Black Friday matinee against the Red Wings … Song of the night: “The Rubberband Man,” by The Spinners.