In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, Brad Marchand blasted the NHL in a tweet last week regarding the league’s decision not to send its players to the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. In other news, the team has announced that they will be retiring Willie O’Ree’s number 22 on Jan. 18. Meanwhile, Jeremy Swayman showed some fire in a game on Sunday versus the Detroit Red Wings, as he got into a skirmish with Sam Gagner and spoke with media about how it all went down shortly afterward.
Marchand Calls Out NHL
Shortly after last week’s News & Rumors post, Marchand took to Twitter to blast the NHL over not allowing its players to go to the upcoming Olympics. The decision was clearly an upsetting one for the 33-year-old, who has never had the chance to participate in the Olympics, and didn’t hold back on how he felt about it.
Some questioned whether NHL players would want to attend the Olympics given the strict quarantine rules that would be in place if any athletes tested positive for COVID-19, but clearly that didn’t bother Marchand. With his success in recent seasons, including 2021-22, where he has registered 30 points in 23 games, he was an absolute lock to crack Team Canada’s lineup.
O’Ree to Have Jersey Retired
It’s been a long time coming, but on Jan. 18, the Bruins will retire O’Ree’s number 22 in a game versus the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. It will mark the 12th jersey retired in Bruins history and is one that is extremely deserved.
For those unaware, O’Ree, who is a Hockey Hall of Famer, was the first-ever black player in NHL history, making his debut during the 1957-58 season. While it took a long time for him to be recognized the way he deserved to be, O’Ree has made it clear he is very thankful for all the support he has received, including this most recent honour from the Bruins.
“It’s wonderful, really,” O’Ree said. “I’ve met those gentlemen and Bobby [Orr] has attended my Will O’Ree hockey skills tournament and weekends. I’m, as I’ve mentioned, I’m just thrilled and honoured to be a part of the Bruins organization. I was a Montreal Canadiens fan in my teens because Toronto and Montreal were the only two teams in the NHL, but when I went to my first Bruins training camp in 1957, I became a Bruins fan. In ’58, I went again. I had the highest respect and highest admiration for the entire Bruin organization, especially the guys that I played with during that time.
“I’d probably say, just Willie O’Ree, a young black kid that set goals for himself and stayed focused on what he wanted to do. Believe in himself and wanted to play not only professional hockey, but hopefully one day play in the National Hockey League. I said that I would strive to be all that I could be. And I could probably just leave it at that.”
O’Ree went on to play a total of 45 career NHL games, all of which came with the Bruins. Though his NHL career was short, he played over 20 years of professional hockey and is a true pioneer of the game. This is a well-deserved honour for the now 86-year-old.
Swayman Gets Heated With Gagner
For the most part, during his brief NHL career, Swayman has appeared at all times to be cool, calm and collected. That wasn’t the case on Sunday night, however, as he was clearly frustrated with Robby Fabbri, who had grabbed a hold of his helmet. He then shoved Fabbri back, but what happened after with Gagner was the most notable thing of the whole scrum. The two stood face to face and exchanged words while also shoving one another, resulting in unsportsmanlike penalties. After the game, Swayman broke down what happened on the play.
“I didn’t like the situation. I was getting held on the back of the helmet, so I’m going to stand up for myself,” explained Swayman. “At the same time, if he’s going to mess with my guys, I’m going to make sure I do my part and protect my guys and I thought we did a good job of that.”
“I wouldn’t say I was hot. I wanted to make sure he was staying away from my teammates. It wasn’t me getting hot-headed or anything, I was just making sure I was doing my part.”
It’s safe to say Swayman and his teammates had the final laugh in that game, as they ended up walking away with a 5-1 win in the big divisional matchup. The 23-year-old has had a fantastic season to this point with the Bruins, recording a 2.20 goals-against average, along with a .920 save percentage in 15 games played.
Up Next for the Bruins
The Bruins have three games this week, with the first coming on Tuesday against a New Jersey Devils squad that has won three in a row. They will then take on the Minnesota Wild on Thursday before ending their week with a game on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Currently sitting in the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, there isn’t much room for error right now, making each and every single game extremely important.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.