With the start of the new season looming, and the Bruins looking to build on the progress made from the '07-'08 campaign, what better time is there for a top ten list of all time Bruins greats?
One of the best goalies in the history of the proud Bruins franchise, and one of the best ever, was "Mr. Zero," Frank Brimsek.
Brimsek had the unfortunate task of following a beloved member of the Bruins, all-time great Cecil "Tiny" Thompson who, prior to the 1938-1939 season, was sold to the Detroit Red Wings. The pressure was placed square on Brimsek and manager Art Ross's shoulders.
Brimsek lived up to expectations and exceeded them, posting 10 shutouts his rookie season, as well as breaking the record for consecutive shutouts, previously held by Thompson, with three. Brimsek went on the win the Calder Trophy and the Vezina Trophy, and was named a First Team All Star before backstopping the Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Things continued smoothly for the new starting goalie, and Brimsek led the Bruins to another Stanley Cup in 1941, earning Second Team All Star honors in the process. The next season Brimsek took his second Vezina Trophy and was named a First Team All Star again.
Star forwards Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer, and Woody Dumart were not the only Bruins stars to enlist during World War II; Brimsek spent two years in service: one in the Coast Guard, the other in the military.
While other veterans had been showing rust after returning from the war in 1945, Brimsek remained hot. He took Second Team All Star honors, but the time off proved costly to the famous Kraut Line, and the Bruins lost the Stanley Cup finals in five games to rival Montreal.
After 1945, the Bruins began to struggle and, despite finishing second to New York's Buddy O'Connor in Hart Trophy voting in 1948, Brimsek was sold to the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the 1949 season. That would prove to be his last season, as the struggling Blackhawks finished last in the league; only six points behind the Bruins.
After retiring, Brimsek was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966, becoming the first American ever to be voted into the Hall. Brimsek was part of the first class to be inducted into the United States Hall of Fame when it opened in 1973.
At the end of his career, Brimsek had an impressive 252 wins, 40 shutouts, and a 2.70 goals against average. He won two Vezina Trophies and a Calder Trophy, was named a First Team All Star twice and a Second Team All Star six times, and won two Stanley Cups.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next article on the No. 9 Bruin of all time, Rick Middleton.
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