Johnny Bucyk 1968-70

Boston Bruins 1970

 

Johnny Bucyk game used jersey from 1968 to 1970. This jersey is hammered with repairs. I am still doing research on it to see if it was used in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals. The 1960s were a bad time for the Bruins, finishing last overall in 5 consecutive seasons. Bucyk, much like Marcel Dionne with the L.A. Kings in the 1980s, was the lone star but he could not carry the team on his back despite physically being the biggest player in the league. Yet “The Chief,” as he was tagged due to his appearing to be more Native Canadian than Ukrainian, garnered respect around the league. Johnny toiled with some awful teams in Boston through the 1960s. He was almost the only bright spot on a team that lacked a supporting cast for their star. He average an impressive 20 goals a year during that time. In fact Bucyk scored 20 or more goals in 16 of 23 years in the NHL.

By the late 1960s the Bruins fortunes began to change. Captain Bucyk witnessed the arrival of superstars like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and a strong supporting cast. Despite being the old man on the team, Bucyk remained a top player. That’s in spite of the fact he mostly played on what was considered to be the Bruin’s second line. When he was teamed with Fred Stanfield and Johnnie MacKenzie, Bucyk was at his most dangerous. He scored 51 goals as a 35 year old in 1970-71. The Bruins finally emerged as the class of the league, winning Stanley Cup championships in 1970 and 1972.

 

Johnny Bucyk started his pro career with his hometown Edmonton team of the Western Hockey League. After two seasons and setting scoring records, Bucyk graduated to the NHL joining the Detroit Red Wings in 1955. But Bucyk never found his way once with the Red Wings. The Wings of the 1950s were a Stanley Cup powerhouse featuring the likes of Gordie Howe, Red Kelly, Ted Lindsay and many more.

Two seasons later, in 1957, the Red Wings looked to return the one piece that they had previously let go – superstar goalie Terry Sawchuk. The Wings hoped bringing back Sawchuk could be the missing piece to trump the Montreal Canadiens, the team who had usurped the Wings as the class of the league. Boston’s asking price – Johnny Bucyk.

Although Sawchuk was never as revered in Boston as he was in Detroit, being traded for perhaps the greatest goalie ever brought an obvious pressure placed on the young Bucyk. He did not disappoint, starring for the next 21 years for the B’s and rewriting their record book en route to becoming one of their all time greats.

 

 

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