Last time on the Bruins League of Nations here at Cup of Chowder, we looked at the best player from each of Canada's provinces. Turns out we have a lot of Great Canadians in our team's history, and that is really cool! Today we're going to take a look at the best from the rest of the world.
Bruins League of Nations: World Edition
USA - Frank "Mr. Zero" Brimsek
Like every other Bruins fan should be, I am a huge Tim Thomas fan. Tim Thomas played a huge, nay, MASSIVE role in bringing the Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. Therefore, he was definitely in contention for best US-born Bruin.
Brimsek, however, brought two cups to the City of Boston. He's the first US-born player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not only that, but he won the Calder Trophy after posting ten (TEN!) shutouts in his first NHL season (hence the nickname "Mr. Zero.").
He played his entire career except the last season (which, in what has become a very weird pattern, he spent with the Blackhawks) with the Bruins, and ended his career with a 252-152-80 regular-season record, and a regular-season 2.70 GAA. Plus, you know, two Stanley Cups. That's a big deal.
United Kingdom - Ken Hodge
Another two-time Cup winner, this time from the Bobby Orr era, Hodge was the fourth-highest scorer in the league two times - each time, behind three of his teammates. He played on a line with Phil Esposito, and in fact came over from the Blackhawks as part of the deal that brought Espo to Boston.
Hodge may have spent most of his childhood in Toronto, but he was born in Birmingham in the UK. He also had a swimming pool in his backyard in Lynnfield in the shape of his Bruins number, 8. And, he scored 800 points through 880 career NHL games. Not bad for one of the UK's few NHL players.
Slovakia - Zdeno Chara
Getting away from Canada, we don't actually end up deviating too far from Puck Daddy's version of this. Zdeno Chara is far and away the greatest Slovakian to ever play for the Bruins. Granted, there haven't been too many. (Sorry, Miro Satan.)
Between his Stanley Cup ring, constantly being in contention for (and winning) the Norris Trophy, his off-the-charts amazing fancy stats (seriously, ONE GOAL allowed when he and Bergeron were on the ice last year, don't expect that to be any less stunning anytime soon) and the fact that he's constantly cited as the toughest player to play against in the NHL, Chara is arguably one of the best defensemen that has ever played for the Bruins.
Czech Republic - WHAT, NO JAGR? David Krejci
The golden stick-winning centerman is definitely the greatest thing to come out of the Czech Republic for Boston. Again, the Stanley Cup doesn't hurt; but also, no other Czech Bruin has come close to putting up the numbers Krejci's had. He's represented his country in World Juniors, World Championships AND the Olympics, and will likely do so again next year.
Drafted in 2004, Krejci's since played six full seasons in the NHL, all with the Bruins. He has 91-218-309 totals through 424 NHL games. Can't wait to see him hit that 100 goal mark next season. So, sorry former Bruins Tomas Kaberle, Ivan Huml, Petr Kalus, Vladmir Sobotka and Jaromir Jagr - Krejci takes this one, hands down.
Finland - Tuukka Rask
Boston hasn't had a lot of Finns. Luckily, the one they have now is really, really good. Which is really awesome, thanks, Toronto - if Rask weren't a Bruin, our choice for the League of Nations would be, like, Petteri Nokelainen or something. It certainly wouldn't be Hannu Toivonen, that's for sure....
Another possibility: Jarmo Kekelainen. That's pretty much it. Yikes. Thanks for being great, Rask.
Germany: Marco Sturm
Yes, please argue with me that Seidenberg deserves it more. You will lose this argument, because did Seidenberg ever do this???
Nope, nope he didn't, argument over. Sturm had a pretty great five seasons with the Bruins until his knees disintegrated, scoring 110 goals and 87 assists for 197 points in 301 games. Not bad for a team that was largely terrible until the end of those five years.
Russia - Sergei Samsonov
I am a little biased here (I am a LOT biased here, let's be real) but Samsonov is definitely far and away the greatest Russian to ever play for the Bruins. Granted, there are only about 13 of them total and the next best one is Sergei Gonchar, so...
Samsonov was drafted by the Bruins 8th overall in the 1997 entry draft, in which they also got Joe Thornton. It made for such hilaribad photos as this one, which is great in and of itself. Samsonov finished his Bruins career with 164 goals, 212 assists, and a trade to Edmonton which brought back the pick that was used to draft Milan Lucic. Thanks for everything, Sergei!
Sweden - PJ Axelsson
Blah blah Mats Thelin played 163 games, something something Michael Thelven played 207 games, whatever, those two added together does not even come close to PJ Axelsson's majestic 797 GAMES PLAYED in a Bruins uniform. PJ Axelsson, that stalwart of the fourth (and occasionally third) line, suffered through all the terrible late-nineties/early-2000s Bruins years and uniforms (we don't like #teampooh because it's pretty, ok).
He even got to go in the shootout, sometimes!
Axelsson could score, could fight when necessary, and was decent against tougher competition. What more can you ask for from a bottom six forward?