From Oates to Neely to the Hall

Adam OatesDespite the lockout continuing and negotiations once again souring, the NHL gathered tonight to induct its 2012 class into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Former Bruin Adam Oates was among the inductees along with Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure and Mats Sundin.

If you were a hockey fan in the early 90’s, you know that Adam Oates was a big part of the Boston Bruins. Never one to underestimate his own value, Oates joined the B’s early in 1992 after being traded from the St. Louis Blues for Stephane Quintal and long-time Bruin Craig Janney, after demanding his contract be renegotiated. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact in the black and gold, as he posted 30 points (10G, 20A) in 26 regular season games, and then went on to add 19 more points in 15 playoff games. One of his biggest goals of the season came in game 2 of the Adams Division Semifinals against the Buffalo Sabres, as he scored immediately off an offensive zone face-off in overtime to help the Bruins tie the series at one game a piece.  The Bruins would go on to win the series in seven games, and they would reach the Wales Conference Final before being swept by the Penguins.

The next season, in his first full season with the Bruins, #12 solidified his place as one of the game’s best playmakers. Playing on a line with young guns Joe Juneau and Dmitri Kvartalnov (s/t if you’re old enough to remember these guys), Oates had personal bests in goals with 45, and assists with 97. His 142 points would be a career high as well. Juneau and Kvartalnov would both score 30 goals (Juneau finished with 32), and all during a season where Bruins legend Cam Neely only played 13 games.

Oates to Neely to You

If you didn’t own this, you wanted to.

A year later, Neely would return, and with Oates’ help would go on to reach one of the game’s greatest feats, scoring a ridiculous 50 goals in only 49 games. Oates would post his second 100+ point season with 32 goals and 80 assists, adding another 12 points in the playoffs before the Bruins were eliminated in the second round. Oates and Neely would also star in the memorable instructional video “From Oates to Neely to You” (which I proudly owned).

That would unfortunately be the beginning of the end of Adam Oates in a Bruins uniform though. He would go on to play two more full seasons, but the Bruins underachieved in both, getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs both years. With Neely retiring after the 95-96 season, Oates found life without Cam to be a little too tough, and made waves after speaking out about the Bruins’ front office midway through the 1997 season. He was traded shortly after to the Washington Capitals, ushering in a new era as Anson Carter, Jason Allison and ‘The Mask’ Jim Carey were sent the other way.

Oates would go on to play for eight more seasons in the league, and when all was said and done he finished with an amazing 1,420 points, including 1,079 assists. The five time All Star lead the NHL in assists three times, and centered three 50 goal scorers (Neely, along with Brett Hull and Peter Bondra). He was an underrated goal scorer as well, reaching the 20 goal mark in five seasons, three with the Bruins. He was an icon with Neely during his time in Boston, where he played some of his best hockey. The call to the Hall is a well deserved honor, and one we’re proud to say reflects significant time in the Spoked ‘B.’ Stick taps on a great career.

Here are highlights of Oates’ 1992 Game 2 face-off game winner against the Sabres (towards the end of the video). You’ll also see a Murray-Ruzicka-Juneau power-play unit…awesome.

S/T to “I Gotta Tell Ya” blog for finding this Oates gem as well. Pay attention Looch, this is how it’s done:

Loose Pucks – November 6

Boston Bruins

Here’s the latest edition of ‘Loose Pucks’, hopefully we’ll have some more exciting news as the week progresses.

  • The big news is obviously that the NHLPA and NHL are resuming face to face talks today in New York City. This comes after Saturday’s private meeting between Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr, which seem to again give an optimistic tone to the direction of talks. However, with full groups back at it today, progress remains to be seen. The meeting will likely center on working out the details of the “Make Whole Provision,” which acts as a safeguard against players immediately losing dollars off existing contracts by accepting a 50/50 revenue split. The NHL’s initial offer essentially had the players paying each other to hold value, but they’ve since changed tune and said they would be open to sharing the burden to ensure current contracts are honored. The NHLPA has pointed out that there still remain a fair number of issues to be addressed beyond this one, but most feel this the biggest divide splitting the sides at the moment. Bruins Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic reportedly were in town to attend the meeting, which were scheduled to begin at 3pm EST at an undisclosed NYC location. Both sides aren’t expected to make any comments to the media until the session has wrapped up. On the plus side, it’s 6pm EST as of this writing, meaning the meeting actually made it longer than 15 minutes, so that’s a step in the right direction.
  • Comcast Sports Net New England’s Joe Haggerty has the latest on how our Bruins are faring overseas. Highlights include Patrice Bergeron’s 2 points-per-game pace (8 GP, 8 G, 8 A), Tyler Seguin’s 23 points in 15 games, and David Krejci’s 14 points in 12 games.
  • If you haven’t seen it already, Days of Y’Orr has highlights from a KHL game earlier in the week that saw Zdeno Chara completely destroy former teammate Miro Satan in open ice. He also had a pretty assist despite his Lev squad falling to Slovan, 2-1.
  • The Bruins are currently running a charity raffle for you and a friend to have lunch with Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Cam Neely, as well as to attend his comic benefit show ‘Comics Come Home.’ Tickets are $5 a piece and can be purchased until Thursday, November 15. The proceeds will benefit the Bruins Foundation and the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care, two great causes.
  • Yahoo’s Puck Daddy has a good take on Sports Illustrated’s 100 Greatest Sports Photos of All Time, which inexplicably had ‘The Goal’ at NUMBER EIGHTY, and only the fifth best hockey photo of all time. I’d say SI had lost all of its hockey credibility with this gaffe, but that would assume they had any in the first place.


Loose Pucks’ YouTube Bruins Video of the Day

A true classic. February 26th, 1981, Bruins and North Stars exchange pugilistic pleasantries and B’s tough guy John Wensink says hello to the Stars’ bench. A total of 406 penalty minutes were handed out, including 341 in the first period alone.