Top Bruins by jersey number: 1-10
Over the next few weeks, I will be looking at the best Bruins to wear each jersey number from 1-99. As an original six franchise, there were plenty of options to choose from for most numbers.
Some numbers were extremely easy…. some were not.
1: Tiny Thompson
Cecil Ralph “Tiny” Thompson to date ranks as one of the Bruins best goalies of all time. Thompson led the Bruins to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup as a rookie in 1929. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1959. Thompson ranks first in franchise history in goals-against average, (1.99) shutouts, (74) and minutes played (28,949).
2: Eddie Shore
An easy choice for number two, Shore’s number is one of 11 retired by the Bruins. Elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945, Shore is one of the most intimidating defenseman in hockey history. Shore is the only defenseman in NHL history to be awarded the Hart Trophy four times as league MVP. When you hear “old time hockey” it’s nearly impossible to not think about the great Eddie Shore.
3: Lionel Hitchman
Sold to the Bruins in 1925 by the Ottawa Senators in exchange for cash, Hitchman went on to have a great career in Boston. A member of a Bruins team that captured the Stanley Cup in 1929, Hitchman’s number three was retired in 1934, the first number the Bruins ever retired.
4: Bobby Orr
This name may, or may not ring a bell. In my opinion, Orr is the greatest to ever play this beautiful game. During his career, Orr captured eight Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman, the most all time and won the Hart Trophy three consecutive years in 1970, 1971 and 1972. A two-time Stanley Cup Champion, what more can be said about number four?
5: Dit Clapper
As the first player in NHL history to play 20 seasons, Clapper’s number five was retired in 1947. Clapper was the franchise’s biggest name as they transitioned from the days of Eddie Shore to Bobby Orr. Clapper played nearly half of his career as a forward, and as a defenseman for the rest. Clapper was also the lone player in NHL history to be named an All Star as both a forward and defenseman.
6: Ted Green
A name that may not be too familiar with most, but Green was as tough as they come. Playing in over 600 games for the Bruins, Green suffered a fractured skull and brain damage after a fight with Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues. Green was left paralyzed after the fight and missed the Bruins run to the Stanley Cup in 1970. Miraculously, Green was able to walk again and ultimately returned to the Bruins and the game of hockey. With a metal plate in his head, Green and the Bruins lifted Lord Stanley in 1972.
7: Phil Esposito
Another easy choice and another retired number. One of the best Bruins scorers of all time, Esposito was a key member of a Bruins team that won cups in 1970 and 1972. In 1968 Esposito became the first player in NHL history to eclipse 100 points in a season, finishing with 126.
8: Cam Neely
Personally, Neely is my favorite Bruin of all time. The definition of power forward, Neely’s career was cut way too short thanks to leg injuries. Neely’s best year came in 1994 where he scored 50 goals in his first 44 games. Neely finished with just 49 games that season. Neely’s ability to score and love for physical hockey instantly made him a fan favorite in Boston. Neely now serves as the franchise’s President.
9: John Bucyk
The “Chief” played in Boston for 21 years, finishing with 1,339 points. Winning two Stanley Cups with the Bruins in 1970 and 1972, Bucyk is the franchise leader in goals with 545, nearly 100 more than Esposito who is second in franchise history.
10: Jean Ratelle
Traded to the Bruins from the New York Rangers in 1975, Ratelle had 450 points in 419 games with the Bruins, leading the team in scoring in 1975 and 1976. Ratelle also won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1975. Playing six total seasons with the Bruins, Ratelle retired from hockey in 1981, serving as an assistant coach in Boston for several seasons following his retirement.