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Go Willie Go!

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Happy Anniversary Willie

As you begin your day, how about a little historical reflection?

On January 18, 1958, Willie O’Ree became the first black player in the history of the National Hockey League when he hit the ice for the Boston Bruins in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

O’Ree, who played in 45 NHL contests, had a 4-10-14 line in two big league seasons and played professionally for 21 years.

A Fredericton, New Brunswick native, who is actually blind in one eye, O’Ree was an outstanding all-around athlete who also played, soccer, basketball, track and baseball and was invited to the Milwaukee Braves training camp as a shortstop in 1956.

O’Ree was given the Order of New Brunswick in 2005 after being awarded the Lester Patrick Award (Outstanding Service to Hockey in the United States) in 2000. He was also a WHL Second All-Star Team (1969).

Happy anniversary Willie, and thank you.

Back from Buffalo
The Bruins (and I) arrived home early this morning and will prepare for the impending arrival of the Pittsburgh Penguins later today.

Sid the Kid et al will be in the TD Banknorth Garden this evening and will look to improve on their one point lead over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings -- the Penguins are perched in tenth (47 pts), while the Bruins are in 11th (46).

Phil Kessel provided some needed spark last night with the first two-goal game of his young NHL career. Meanwhile, Braintree’s Bobby Allen, a defenseman, played over 14-minutes in his Boston debut and was a plus one.

The third period continues to be a problem for the Bruins, however, and despite some solid goaltending from Tim Thomas throughout the game, the Sabres firepower prevailed.

"You’ll have days where there is all that traffic (in front of the net) and you can’t get a shot through," said Thomas, explaining how a deflection or two can really put a team on their heels. "Tonight, it ended up bouncing off two things and in."

There did seem to be a little bad karma floating around HSBC arena yesterday.

For one thing, the Sabres kept playing Boston-themed and penned music -- they even used "Dirty Water" and the "We Will Rock You" clip from Cheers.

Very strange.

The coup de gras was using a "Happy Gilmore" clip agains us (with Bob Barker taking down a Bruins jersey clad Adam Sandler).

That was downright unnerving.

Let’s hope we left that bad karma in Western New York.
Sorry so short. Off to practice.
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