We at Boston Hockey Now completely agree with the New York Post’s Larry Brooks when he writes this weekend that each of the 32 teams across the NHL should retire the No. 22 in honor of Hall of Fame Boston Bruins forward Willie O’Ree breaking the NHL’s color barrier.
It was beyond time for the Boston Bruins to raise his No. 22 to the rafters as they did earlier this month and there will be another celebration at TD Garden for the 86-year-old when the COVID pandemic has finally subsided. And in this day and age when racism and intolerance still seem to bubble in the underbelly of the hockey world as the NHL attempts to widen the door for hockey being for everybody, the symbolic retiring of O’Ree’s No. 22 league-wide would be another way to both honor his trailblazing history and distinguish the importance of his accomplishment.
It’s something Major League Baseball eventually did with Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 and it’s something the NHL should do with O’Ree’s No. 22. Just think of the conversations that could be sparked in all 32 NHL arenas when young fans see the No. 22 up in the rafters of the building and ask about the history behind O’Ree and the NHL.
It’s worth it just for the chance for that to happen on a regular basis.
Now on to the BHN Puck Links:
*Erik Haula has been red-hot in the month of January along with the rest of the Boston Bruins and looks at home centering the second line with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. (Boston Hockey Now)
*Sounds like it was a rough night for Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry as it continues to be tough sledding for the Habs overall. (Montreal Hockey Now)
*The Pittsburgh Penguins and Kris Letang have not really kicked off serious negotiations on a new contract and it remains to be seen when that’s going to happen. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*Moving interview with Chris and Kelsie Snow on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours to talk about the continued courageous battle that the Snow family is waging against Chris’ ALS diagnosis. (Sportsnet)
*Best wishes for Claude Julien, who will no longer be coaching Team Canada’s Olympic entry after hurting his ribs on a fall to the ice.
Hockey Canada says Claude Julien slipped on ice during team building activities in Switzerland, fractured ribs, and will be unable to fly to Beijing on advice of doctors. Jeremy Colliton takes over as head coach of Team Canada at #Beijing2022. https://t.co/4bMHOCZoqi
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 30, 2022
*Good piece on Evander Kane catching on with the Edmonton Oilers and exactly what’s going to be expected of him there. I’m telling you all this right now: There was very little accountability in his opening press conference with the Edmonton media, which tells me that the bad behavior is going to continue for him. (Sportsnet)
*For something completely different: Moving column from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sherrod Blakely about the year since his good friend Sekou Smith passed away due to COVID complications. (Full Court Press)