Rick Middleton, whose slick strikes en route to 448 profession targets earned him the nickname “Nifty,” noticed his No. 16 raised to the rafters by the Boston Bruins earlier than Thursday evening’s sport towards the New York Islanders at TD Backyard.
Middleton, who performed the ultimate 12 of his 14 NHL seasons in Boston, scored 40 or extra targets and amassed greater than 90 factors over a stretch of 5 consecutive seasons beginning in 1979-80.
“I’ve had 4 months to give it some thought, and I hate repeating myself, however truthfully, I consider it’s the greatest honor that definitely a retired athlete can get in his profession,” he stated.
The precise winger had a career-best 51 targets in 1981-82, the identical season he won the Girl Byng Trophy (sportsmanship mixed with a excessive degree of play). The three-time All-Star topped the 100-point mark twice — with a 44-59-103 line in 1980-81 and 47-58-105 in 1983-84.
However even with all his offensive prowess, Middleton did not neglect the opposite finish of the ice. He twice completed among the many prime 10 vote-getters for the Selke Trophy because the league’s prime defensive ahead.
“You do not see that form of expertise anymore,” Corridor of Famer John Bucyk, a onetime Middleton linemate, instructed The Boston Globe. “He was enjoying keepaway on the market. And he did that as a penalty killer, too. He’d get the puck and also you’d assume we had been those with the ability play.”
Middleton, who turns 65 on Tuesday, is the 11th Bruin to have his number retired, becoming a member of Eddie Shore (No. 2), Lionel Hitchman (three), Bobby Orr (four), Dit Clapper (5), Phil Esposito (7), Cam Neely (eight), Bucyk (9), Milt Schmidt (15), Terry O’Reilly (24) and Ray Bourque (77).
In all, 19 gamers have worn No. 16 for the Bruins — together with middle Derek Sanderson, in whose honor Middleton stated he wore the number. Kaspars Daugavins was the final to put on it, in 2013.
“Within the final six or seven years, I have been seeing that it isn’t on the market; no one’s sporting it,” Middleton stated. “Impulsively, it occurred. In July, a telephone name in July; I by no means thought it will ever occur that approach, however I simply have to thank Cam [Neely, now a Bruins executive] a lot for doing it. … It culminated tonight.”
Acquired in an offseason cope with the New York Rangers for veteran proper wing Ken Hodge, Middleton shortly confirmed the Bruins what they’d when he scored a hat trick at Boston Backyard on opening evening Oct. 7, 1976.
Middleton completed his profession third all-time amongst Bruins objective scorers with 402, trailing solely Bucyk (545) and Esposito (459), and is fourth in factors for the workforce with 898.
Info from The Related Press was used on this report.