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Making a Champion: 2011 Boston Bruins



You might have noticed that NESN is providing the goods during “the pause”. With the NHL season at a standstill due to the COVID-19 outbreak, NESN is re-airing the entire 2011 Boston Bruins Stanley Cup run. Right now, the network is getting set for Game 6 in Montreal, a game the Canadiens would take to force a do-or-die Game 7 at TD Garden.

Of course, you know the Bruins won Game 7. You also know they beat up the Philadelphia Flyers in a clean sweep, then edged the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the East. The final series? An instant seven-game classic with the Vancouver Canucks capped off by a dominant Game 7 victory in British Columbia.

How the Boston Bruins got to that point was unique in a sense. Yes, they drafted and developed a steady core of players. That said, the Bruins masterfully made a number of trades and free agent signings to augment their core. They weren’t all major deals either. In fact, a good number of the trades were not worthy of headlines when they were made.

Johnny Boychuk played a major role in 2011, but did anyone bat an eye when he was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in 2008? Likely not.

What about Jeff Gorton? The native of Melrose, Massachusetts, and graduate of Bridgewater State University and Springfield College played a key role in making the Bruins a champion. No one ever gives him the credit he deserves. The casual fan might even be surprised to see what Gorton, now GM of the New York Rangers, was responsible for.

Over the next little while, we’re going to take you on a trip here at ‘Boston Hockey Now‘. It’s a trip that starts in the fall of 2005 when Mike O’Connell and Mike Sullivan were leading the Bruins. Why? It might not seem like it, but the seeds for the 2011 Stanley Cup were planted during that lost season.

It all started on November 30th, 2005. That’s when O’Connell, then the General Manager, made one of the biggest trades in the history of Boston sports. Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks started the chain reaction that brought Lord Stanley back to Boston.

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