Remembering Glen Wesley

KP WeeSenior Writer IJune 7, 2008

Earlier this week, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley retired after a lengthy 20-year career.

The Hurricanes have announced that they will retire Wesley's jersey number as a tribute to the long-time blueliner.

However, I will always remember Glen Wesley as a Bruin.

I had always blamed him for the Bruins' losing the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals to the Edmonton Oilers, but that's not fair, since Wesley was a great NHL defenseman.

The Red Deer, Alberta native was actually part of the Cam Neely deal, when the Bruins picked up the future power forward and a draft pick from the Vancouver Canucks in the mid-1980s.

That draft pick, No. 3 overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, turned out to be Wesley.

Wesley joined the Bruins as an 18-year-old rookie, and scored seven goals while playing in the entire 1987-88 season.

Wesley, however, impressed in the playoffs with six goals as he and fellow rookies Craig Janney and Bob Sweeney all contributed in leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals.

In fact, in the 1988 Finals against the Oilers, Wesley shockingly scored two goals in the infamous blackout game, the fourth game of the series at Boston Garden which ended 3-3 with Bruins down 3 games to none.

The Bruins made it back to the Finals in 1990, and Wesley was a huge reason.

I remember a game in November during the 1989-90 season, when the Bruins were down 2-0 to the hated Montreal Canadiens.

Boston tied it with two goals late in the third period, and with Boston Garden buzzing, Wesley carried the puck and entered the Montreal zone, then blew past two Canadiens players and beat Patrick Roy to complete an amazing comeback.

It was the third goal for Boston in less than a minute, and the Bruins won it.

Another memorable moment that season came in the Adams Division Finals, when the Bruins and Canadiens were tied 1-1 late in the third, with Boston up 3 games to 1.

With the play in the Montreal zone, and Habs goaltender Roy lost sight of the puck as it came to the Wesley near the left face-off circle. Wesley blasted it past an unbalanced Roy and Boston Garden again went crazy, and the TV cameras showed a jubilant Wesley jumping up and down to celebrate the big goal.

Classic moment.

The Bruins knocked off the Canadiens for just the second time in 47 years in postseason play, and eventually reached the Finals against the Oilers.

Alas, against his childhood favorite team, Wesley had another shot at a big playoff goal. But he couldn't put the puck in the net, and the Bruins eventually fell in five.

That moment came in the overtime period in Game One, when Oilers goalie Bill Ranford and been knocked down and there were a couple other players down in the crease area with Ranford as the play continued.

Wesley had the puck in the slot area and had an open net to shoot at, but amazingly, his shot went over the crossbar as the game continued.

Had Wesley's shot found the net, Boston would have won the game and would have gotten all the momentum in the world, seeing that they'd overcome a 2-0 deficit after two periods.

However, the game went into triple OT before the Bruins lost.

Wesley finally got his Cup in 2006, when his Hurricanes beat--guess who--the Edmonton Oilers.

It was great to see Wesley hoist the Cup as a member of the Hurricanes, but I'll have to lament the fact it didn't come in 1990.