Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bruins History 101: The Best and Worst Names Ever

Best of the Bruins

10 - Bob Beers
Admit it, you loved this name when you were a kid playing NHL '94. Granted, by that time Beers was stuck on pushover teams like the Islanders and Oilers, who you would only pick if you were trying to make Cam Neely score 10 goals. But this is a giggle-to-yourself classic that was perfectly fit for the tone of an early-90s game at the Garden.

9 - Dit Clapper
This name should only be spoken out loud in the nasal voice of an old-time radio announcer.

8 - Red Green
Nothing says "Canadian" like Red Green, the Canuck equivalent to Tim Taylor (the Tool Man, not the former Bruin). Obscure Canadian-pop-culture references aside... who names their kid Red Green???

7 - Byron Bitz
The second of three entries on this list whose initials are B.B... what better monogram for a Bruin?

6 - Sprague Cleghorn
Though his name suggests he was a small-town sherriff from 1920s Alabama, in fact this guy is a certified inductee of Hockey Hell and one of the true badasses of the early NHL.

5 - Zellio Toppazzini
Save for documentary evidence of this man's existence, I would be inclined to believe he was actually a fictional character... perhaps a lost Willy Wonka villain.

4 - Buzz Boll
It almost automatically becomes the compound word "buzzball" when spoken out loud. This is a picture of an actual buzzball:

3 - Butch Goring
Nothing comic about this one, this name is pure intimidation. Would you have guessed that this is the man who had only 102 career PIM in 1107 games? Or that he would've had the distinction of wearing the same leather helmet he received as a childhood gift? The world is a strange place.

2 - Bronco Horvath
Another colorfully-intimidating name, of the sort that only existed in the early years. The combination of "Bronco" -- a Western word suggesting speed, power, and murder -- and the Magyar surname "Horvath" -- which sounds like it was at some point the name of a Satanic figure -- is a case study in the use of subtle phonetic blends to make a guy sound totally badass.

1 - Terry O'Reilly
What other name could have been #1? Nothing encapsulates the spirit of the Bruins like a pugnacious, brawling Irishman who can be your captain, enforcer AND leading scorer at the same time.

Artist's Rendering of Terry O'Reilly, circa 1985.

Worst of the Bruins

5 - Teddy Graham
Maybe this wasn't so bad in the 1930s, but anyone alive today will associate his name with harmless-looking cracker snacks. Can you imagine a guy named Teddy Graham wearing this?

4 - Quackenbush, Bill and Max
It's hard to imagine an announcer feverishly calling a game with these guys on the ice. If only their names had been Hewie and Dewie, we'd have been pretty close to a Duck Tales crossover.

3 - Spunk Sparrow
Seriously? I felt dirty even typing it.
2 - Weiner Brown
Standing 5'8" and weighing 150 lbs, he was undoubtedly the smallest Weiner in NHL history.

1 - Jean Pusie
According to Wikipedia, "for some reason" his name was left off the Cup in 1931. What a mystery!

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