And he had the unmitigated gall to say that playing in the Garden meant nothing to him ... just another rink.
He could not have truly believed that. blech...I loathed the 91 Pens for 20 years. It probably took me until the Cup was in Recchi's hands in June 2011 to fully let it go.
Recchi actually set up Phil Bourque for the series clinching goal in game 6 in 1991.
The Bruins had a 2-0 lead in that game and blew it.
Strange thing and this may even tie into the Milbury praise, but Phil Bourque went undrafted but had interest as a young UFA from both Pitt. and Boston in 1982. He chose Pittsburgh because at that time he was still a defenseman and he couldn't figure where he would slot in behind Park, O'Connell, Milbury, Kluzak, etc...
After 5 years in the minors Gene Ubriaco switched him to LW and he finally stuck in Pitt.
First of the greats I got to see play. I was right up to the chain link behind the Dedham net when Hebner came in on a breakaway and made it look so easy. He chose baseball, and it worked out pretty well for the grave digger.
Ftorek was the best HSer I ever saw, he was the Gretz of the late 60's Bay State League. I do think, though, that Mike Milbury deserves some respect on this list, if not because he was a 10-year, top-3 NHL defenseman on a team that made two Cup finals and two semifinals (injured in '83 so missed out on that run), he was Walpole's Neely. He led the Rebels in scoring as a rangy winger and shadowed Ftorek during their 69-70 game at Ridge Arena. Walpole led 3-1 in the game when Milbury's skate broke and Ftorek got a second wind, leading the Rockets to a 5-3 victory in a season that would culminate in a romp to the state championship (Walpole lost the quarterfinals in overtime to Malden Catholic at the Garden). Great days for high school hockey, before the Catholic schools took over and the evolutionary chain of player development began in earnest.
As for Langway, he's gotta be right up there, but the older I get, the more I hate ranking because the ranker can't cover all the eras and everyone who was privileged to enjoy some brilliance along the way in their town is going to say where's my guy? For example (and I'm not from Lawrence), I put Stevie Heinze right alongside Ted Donato. Heinze could have scored 45 goals for the Bruins in 96-97 had Darius Kasparaitus not wrecked him with a predatory hit.
Glad my buddy Cap Raeder got noticed, even if he never played in the NHL. He was a UNHer, a Team USA Canada Cup-per ('76) and a New England Whaler (WHA), and he had a long, important career coaching and scouting in the NHL (Kings, Bruins, Sharks).
Walpole had Peewee Giandamenico and Dave Cecchi along with Kevin Woods and Milbury in the Bay State League, and Dedham also had Dougie Smith and Braintree had a centerman around '74 that everyone thought had NHL written all over him (name escapes me). What about Bobby Sheehan (Weymouth), that kid got a spot on the Montreal Canadiens in 1969 and was regarded as the fastest player in the NHL at the time. I recently got to meet Paul Fenton, and he told me some terrific stories about playing at Springfield Cathedral.
A list like this is a great tribute to the fact we've had some fantastic hockey in our Mass. roots.
John Chambers, who coached Ftotek's Needham team was my asst coach at Medfield High in the late nineties. 82 years old at the time, as tough, spry, an ornery as they come. He still played in an over 60 league at that time.
The man knew the game. Every minute detail, every nuance. Tough guy to watch a B's game with, he just couldnt stand the lack of fundamentals and assigent breakdowns. He wouldn't talk too much at all about the Needham glory years, but I would often think about what a high level of hockey was being played in the suburbs at that time. The talented players and the coaches who knew the game so well.
So different when I went through. We worked hard and had fun, but all the real talented kids were off to the prep and catjolic schools. And that was for the low division schools like Medfield. i am sure this was amd is moreso the case at yhe top division schools.