Ray Bourque

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Raymond Bourque
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2004
Bourque 7.jpg
Raymond Bourque, playing for the Boston Bruins in October 1981.
Born (1960-12-28) December 28, 1960 (age 53)
Saint-Laurent, QC, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Defence
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Colorado Avalanche
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 8th overall, 1979
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1979–2001

Raymond Jean Bourque (born December 28, 1960) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. He currently holds records for most career goals, assists, and points by a defenceman in the National Hockey League (NHL). Bourque is also an Olympian and has become near-synonymous with the Boston Bruins franchise, for which he played 21 seasons and became its longest-serving captain. Bourque finished his career with the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he won his only Stanley Cup in his final NHL game.

Playing career[edit]

Bourque was born in Saint-Laurent, Quebec. Bourque was the third-round pick of the Trois-Rivières Draveurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Half-way through his rookie season, coach and GM Michel Bergeron traded Bourque to Sorel for high-scoring Benoit Gosselin. After a stellar junior career with Sorel and Verdun of the QMJHL, in which he was named the league's best defenseman in 1978 and 1979, Bourque was drafted 8th overall by the Bruins, with a first-round draft choice obtained from the Los Angeles Kings in a 1977 trade for goaltender Ron Grahame, whose son John would be a future teammate of Bourque's. Boston GM Harry Sinden intended to select defenseman Keith Brown, but Brown was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks immediately prior to Boston's selection. Panicking, the Bruins settled on Bourque, allegedly against their better judgment.[1]

Bourque would make an immediate impact in Boston during his rookie season of 1979–80, scoring a goal in his first game while facing the Winnipeg Jets.[2] Bourque asserted himself from the start as one of the best defencemen in the league, winning both the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-Star selection, the first time in NHL history a non-goaltender had ever achieved the distinction. His 65 points that season was a record at the time for a rookie defenceman.[3]

In 1985, upon the retirement of Bruins' captain Terry O'Reilly to coach the club, Bourque and veteran Rick Middleton were named co-captains of the team, Middleton to wear the "C" during home games and Bourque for road games. Upon Middleton's retirement in 1988, Bourque became the team's sole captain, and retained the position for the remainder of his Bruins' tenure. In so doing, he passed Dit Clapper as the longest tenured Bruins' captain in history, as well as passing Alex Delvecchio of the Detroit Red Wings as the longest-serving team captain in NHL history, a mark since surpassed by Steve Yzerman of the Red Wings.

Bourque proved a solid force for Boston for twenty-one seasons (1979–2000), famous for combining offensive prowess at a level that few defensemen in league history had ever achieved—he was a perennial shot accuracy champion at All-Star Games—and near-unparalleled defensive excellence.[4] Bourque won five Norris Trophies as the league's top defenceman and finished second to Mark Messier in 1990 in the closest race ever for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the league's Most Valuable Player award. The Bruins' reliance on Bourque's on-ice mastery was so total that—while Bourque was very durable throughout much of his career—the team was seen by many to flounder whenever he was out of the lineup.[5]

During Bourque's tenure with the Bruins, the team continued what would be a North American professional record twenty-nine consecutive seasons in the playoffs, a streak that would persist through the 1996 season. In the playoffs, Bourque led the team to the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers in both 1988 and 1990, where the Bruins lost in both series.[6]

Bourque was also popular among Bruins fans because of his willingness to re-sign with Boston without any acriminous or lengthy negotiations. He passed over several opportunities to set the benchmark salary for defenceman; instead, he usually quietly and quickly agreed to terms with the Bruins, and this stance irritated the National Hockey League Players' Association which had been pushing to drive up players' wages.[7]

#77[edit]

Bourque (wearing #7) skates at Boston Garden during his rookie season

Bourque was well known for wearing number 77 with the Bruins and Avalanche, but it was not his original number. When he debuted with the Bruins in 1979 he was assigned sweater number 7, a number that had been rarely issued by the team after Phil Esposito departed from the team in 1975. In December 1987, Esposito's number 7 was retired by the Bruins. Although Bourque could have continued wearing number 7 until his own departure from Boston, he decided to change jerseys out of respect for Esposito. Bourque was called upon to take part in Esposito's jersey-retirement ceremony at Boston Garden. He skated to Esposito at center ice, took his sweater off, and handed it to Esposito while revealing his new number, 77—thus dramatically "surrendering" the number 7 jersey so it could be retired. He would wear number 77 for the remainder of his career.[2]

International play[edit]

Bourque played for Team Canada in the Canada Cup in 1981, 1984 and 1987. However, he did not play in the 1991 edition, despite attempts by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier to persuade him to take part. Bourque also played for the NHL All-Stars in Rendez-vous '87 against the Soviet Union, and played for the Canadian team in the 1998 Winter Olympics, leading all defensemen in scoring, with a goal and two assists in six games.[8]

Colorado Avalanche[edit]

The Bruins' record for North American professional sports, twenty-nine consecutive seasons in the playoffs, was ended in the 1997 season. The next two seasons, the Bruins returned to the playoffs and in 1999, they won a playoff series for the first time since 1994.

Despite a nucleus of young talent and high expectations for 1999–2000, injuries caused the Bruins to plummet to the bottom of their division, and they went on track to miss the playoffs. This was further exacerbated by negative attention over teammate Marty McSorley's hit on Donald Brashear.[9][10][11] Bourque requested a trade from the fading Bruins so he would have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.[3] Initially, he requested a trade to a team on the East Coast such as the Philadelphia Flyers, and Flyers' general manager Bobby Clarke offered the Bruins Andy Delmore and Daymond Langkow for Bourque. In reality, Bruins general manager Harry Sinden was finalizing a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, under the condition that it could not be leaked to the press. Sinden badly wanted Bourque to have a chance to close out his career with a Cup win, and told Bourque, "This may not be your first choice, but this is the team I feel is best."[citation needed] On March 6, 2000, Bourque was traded to Colorado with fellow veteran Dave Andreychuk for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Sammy Pahlsson, and a first-round draft pick.

Although Bourque played just one full season with the Avalanche, he proved to be a force both on the ice and in the locker room. In 2000, he helped the struggling Avalanche improve their form and capture their division. During the playoffs, they advanced to the conference finals, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in a hard-fought series, with Bourque hitting the post in the last minutes of Game Seven which would have tied the game after his team rallied from a 3–0 deficit in the third period to 3–2.

In 2000–01—what turned out to be his only full season in Colorado—he was named an alternate captain. He led all Colorado defencemen in scoring, and formed a solid defensive pairing with Adam Foote and Rob Blake, the latter of whom the Avs received from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade. Bourque was named to the postseason First All-Star team, finishing as runner-up to the Detroit Red Wings' Nicklas Lidstrom for the Norris Trophy.

In the 2001 playoffs, Bourque scored the game-winning goal in Game Three of the finals against the New Jersey Devils. After a 4–1 loss in Game Five that put the Avalanche in a series deficit 3–2, Bourque flew in his family and relatives for the pivotal Games Six and Seven, winning them 4–0 and 3–1, respectively. Finally, on June 9, 2001, after 22 seasons, Bourque—and the Avalanche—won the Stanley Cup, in what proved to be Bourque's final game as a player. After team captain Joe Sakic, who had just won his second title, took the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he immediately handed it to Bourque (without hoisting it himself) so Bourque could take the first victory lap around the ice. This broke a longstanding tradition that called for the captain to take the first lap. Victorious Colorado goalie Patrick Roy, whose fourth championship had come the same day as Bourque's first, said of the Cup and his teammate, "A name was missing from that [Cup], and today it is back to normal."[12]

Bourque had waited longer to win his first Cup than any other Cup-winning player had in the 108-year history of the Stanley Cup, having played 1,612 regular season and 214 playoff games before winning the ultimate prize. On June 12, 2001, three days after the Cup victory, Bourque exercised his right as a player to bring the Cup back to Boston for an emotional rally in Boston's City Hall Plaza, attended by some 20,000 fans. Bourque retired shortly thereafter, having set defensive regular season records in goals (410) and assists (1169) for 1579 points. During the 2000–01 season, which would be the last for both players, Bourque surpassed Paul Coffey (intended to be Bourque's replacement on his former team, the Bruins) to become the all-time leader in goals, assists and points for a defenceman at any senior professional level.

Retirement[edit]

The Aréna Raymond-Bourque in Saint-Laurent, QC.

Bourque was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, his first season of eligibility. His uniform number #77 has been retired by both the Bruins and the Avalanche; he is one of only six players (Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Patrick Roy) whose jersey has been retired by more than one club. His birthplace of Saint-Laurent named the Aréna Raymond-Bourque in his honour.[13]

Bourque still lives in the Boston area with wife Christiane, remaining active in several local charities, and was named a Bruins team consultant on November 3, 2005. He is also the co-owner of an Italian restaurant called Tresca in Boston's North End.[14]

Bourque's eldest son, Christopher, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004. Christopher played for the Hershey Bears in the 2007 season and made his NHL debut for the Capitals in 2007. Chris then joined the Boston Bruins, his father's former team, on May 26, 2012. His younger son, Ryan, was a third round draft choice of the New York Rangers in 2009, and was a member of the USA's 2010 gold-medal World Junior Championship team, earning three assists during the tournament.[15][16][17] Ryan plays for the Connecticut Whale in the American Hockey League (AHL) and was an alternate captain for the USA's 2011 World Junior Championship team, in which he again earned three assists as the team won the bronze medal.[15][18][19] On July 2, 2014 Chris was signed to a 1-year deal with the New York Rangers, joining his brother with the Rangers' AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for Canada Canada
Canada Cup
Silver 1981 Canada
Gold 1984 Canada
Gold 1987 Canada

Bourque's exceptional talent as a player has led him to become one of the most honored players in hockey history. During his career, he was selected to thirteen NHL First Team (the most in history) and six Second Team All-Star squads, second in total in league history only to Gordie Howe and most amongst defencemen. He won the Norris Trophy as the top defenceman in the league five times, fourth all-time after Doug Harvey, Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidström.

Among his numerous other records and honors are the following:

  • Retired third (second among defencemen), and is currently eighth (fourth among defencemen), in all-time games played with 1,612.
  • Retired second, and is currently fourth, in all-time assists with 1,169; this is still a record for defencemen.
  • Is eleventh in all-time points scored with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time points scored by a defenceman with 1,579.
  • Is first in all-time defence goals scored with 410.
  • The career leader in shots on goal with 6,206, nearly one thousand ahead of the second leading shooter, Marcel Dionne.[20]
  • Led the NHL in shots in 1984, 1987, and 1995.
  • Is third in all-time cumulative plus-minus with 528, behind Larry Robinson and Orr.[4]
  • Won the Norris Trophy in 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, and 1994.
  • Won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 1992.
  • Received the Lester Patrick Trophy in 2003.
  • Named a NHL First Team All-Star in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, and 2001.
  • Named a Second Team All-Star in 1981, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1995 and 1999.
  • Became only the sixth defenceman in professional history to score 30 goals in a season (1984).
  • Became only the third defenceman in professional history to reach the 1,000 NHL points milestone (1992)
  • Is the Bruins' all-time career leader in games played (1,518), assists (1,111) and points (1,506), also ranking fourth in goals and first in assists with a single team (any position).
  • Registered his 1,528th point Oct. 25, 2000, vs. Nashville, passing Paul Coffey as the NHL's all-time leader among defencemen.
  • Registered his 1,137th assist Dec. 21, 2000, vs. L.A. Kings, passing Coffey for second place on the NHL's all-time assists list and first among defencemen.
  • Named to play in the All-Star Game for the 19th consecutive season, passing Wayne Gretzky for the league record, 2001; Bourque also appeared in the All-Star Game in every season that it was held during his career (there was no game in 1987 or 1995).
  • Was named the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game in 1996.
  • Is third all-time in playoff assists and tenth all-time in playoff points.
  • Won the NHL All-star Game Shooting Accuracy Competition in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.[21]
  • In 1998, three years before the end of his career, he was ranked number 14 on The Hockey News' list of the one hundred greatest hockey players of all time. He was the highest-ranking player who had not yet won a Stanley Cup, the next highest being No. 38-ranked Dionne.[22]
  • Stanley Cup champion — 2001.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1976–77 Trois-Rivières Draveurs QMJHL 39 3 20 23 27
1976–77 Sorel Black Hawks QMJHL 30 9 16 25 29
1977–78 Verdun Black Hawks QMJHL 72 22 57 79 90 4 2 1 3 0
1978–79 Verdun Black Hawks QMJHL 63 22 71 93 44 11 3 16 19 18
1979–80 Boston Bruins NHL 80 17 48 65 73 10 2 9 11 27
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 67 27 29 56 96 3 0 1 1 2
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 65 17 49 66 51 9 1 5 6 16
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 65 22 51 73 20 17 8 15 23 10
1983–84 Boston Bruins NHL 78 31 65 96 57 3 0 2 2 0
1984–85 Boston Bruins NHL 73 20 66 86 53 5 0 3 3 4
1985–86 Boston Bruins NHL 74 19 58 77 68 3 0 0 0 0
1986–87 Boston Bruins NHL 78 23 72 95 36 4 1 2 3 0
1987–88 Boston Bruins NHL 78 17 64 81 72 23 3 18 21 26
1988–89 Boston Bruins NHL 60 18 43 61 52 10 0 4 4 6
1989–90 Boston Bruins NHL 76 19 65 84 50 17 5 12 17 16
1990–91 Boston Bruins NHL 76 21 73 94 75 19 7 18 25 12
1991–92 Boston Bruins NHL 80 21 60 81 56 12 3 6 9 12
1992–93 Boston Bruins NHL 78 19 63 82 40 4 1 0 1 2
1993–94 Boston Bruins NHL 72 20 71 91 58 13 2 8 10 0
1994–95 Boston Bruins NHL 46 12 31 43 20 5 0 3 3 0
1995–96 Boston Bruins NHL 80 20 62 82 58 5 1 6 7 2
1996–97 Boston Bruins NHL 62 19 31 50 18
1997–98 Boston Bruins NHL 82 13 35 48 80 6 1 4 5 2
1998–99 Boston Bruins NHL 81 10 47 57 34 12 1 9 10 14
1999–00 Boston Bruins NHL 65 10 28 38 20
1999–00 Colorado Avalanche NHL 14 8 6 14 6 13 1 8 9 8
2000–01 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 7 52 59 48 21 4 6 10 12
QMJHL totals 204 56 164 220 195 15 5 17 22 18
NHL totals 1612 410 1169 1579 1141 214 41 139 180 171

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1981 Canada CC Gold medal icon.svg 7 1 4 5 6
1984 Canada CC Gold medal icon.svg 8 0 4 4 8
1987 NHL All-Stars RV 2 1 0 1 2
1987 Canada CC Gold medal icon.svg 9 2 6 8 10
1998 Canada Oly 4th 6 1 2 3 4
Senior totals 32 5 16 21 30

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Good and lucky at NHL draft http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Draft/2012/06/19/19897566.html
  2. ^ a b Harding, Thomas (June 10, 2001). "Raymond Bourque timeline". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Ray Bourque biography". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "NHL & WHA Career Leaders and Records for Plus/Minus". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ Paul Kelly (ed.). Hockey Almanac: 1993–94. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Ltd. p. 42. OCLC 29917276. 
  6. ^ Ralph Dinger (ed.). The National Hockey League Official Guide and Record Book, 1990–91. Philadelphia: Running Press. p. 151. ISBN 0-89471-870-3. 
  7. ^ "Say It Ain't So: Boston Bruins". CNN/Sports Illustrated. May 9, 2001. Retrieved April 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Team Canada - Olympics - Nagano 1998 - Player Stats". Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bruins' Marty McSorley charged with assault". CBC News. March 8, 2000. 
  10. ^ "NHL brass promises to 're-evaluate' McSorley's career". CBC News. November 11, 2000. 
  11. ^ Marrapese-Burrell, Nancy (February 22, 2000). "Bruins Hit Bottom\ Carter, Dafoe Hurt; McSorley Head-Hunts". The Boston Globe. 
  12. ^ Falla, Jack, ed. (2001). Quest for the Cup: A History of the Stanley Cup Finals, 1893–2001. Toronto: Key Porter Books. p. 266. ISBN 978-1-55263-343-4. 
  13. ^ "L'Agenda Spring-Summer 2008" (PDF). Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Tresca Restaurant". Retrieved July 22, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b "Kreider, Bourque make final USA cut". New York Rangers. December 22, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Goalscoring Leaders". iihf.com. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Player Statistics by Team: USA". iihf.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Boxford's Bourque an alternate captain of Team USA; squad is 1–0 at World Junior Hockey Championships". Tri-Town Transcript. December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  19. ^ "2011 WJC Player Statistics by Team: USA". iihf.com. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Career Shots On Goal leaders". Hockey-Reference.com. Retrieved July 21, 2008. 
  21. ^ "NHL Al-Star Game Shooting Accuracy Competition Winners". NHL.com. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  22. ^ Dryden, Steve (1999). The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 978-0-7710-4175-4. 

External links[edit]