Monday, December 28, 2009
Born on this date in 1960, Ray Bourque played 21 seasons in the NHL and currently holds the records for most goals, assists and points by a defenseman in league history.
He won the Norris Trophy five times and capped off his career by winning the Stanley Cup in the final game he ever played. His jersey #77 has been retired by both his long time club the Boston Bruins, as well as the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he won the Stanley Cup.
With the World Junior Tournament now taking place, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at the international career of Bourque.
He first appeared for Team Canada in the 1981 Canada Cup as a 20-year-old after only two seasons in the NHL and took home a silver medal while contributing 1 goal and 4 assists in 7 games while wearing sweater #8.
He also skated in the 1984 Canada Cup, scoring 4 assists in 8 games. Canada emerged victorious after defeating the Soviet Union 3-2 in overtime before capturing the title by defeating Sweden in the best of three finals 2-0 by scores of 5-2 and 6-5.
Bourque was a member of the NHL All-Star squad that took on the Soviet Union in Rendez-vous '87, a two game series that took the place of the usual NHL All-Star Game that year and scored a goal in Game 2.
His final Canada Cup appearance was in 1987 and was an assistant captain of the squad and again wore #7. Canada defeated Czechoslovakia 5-3 in the semi-finals and won a thrilling best of three final over the Soviet Union after losing Game 1 in overtime 6-5. Canada avoided elimination by taking the Soviets by an identical 6-5 score, only this time in two overtimes. The final game was a nail-biter, with Canada winning by yet another 6-5 score on a goal with just 1:26 remaining in the game. Bourque would finish the tournament with 2 goals and 6 assists for 8 points in 9 games played, good for sixth overall and first among defensemen.
The 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan was Bourque's final tournament for Team Canada, where he contributed 1 goal and 2 assists in 6 games.
Today's featured jersey is a 1984 Team Canada Ray Bourque jersey. This jersey is remarkable in it's stark simplicity, with it's one color crest, lacking even sleeve numbers.
Bourque wore #8 during the 1981 tournament and the "A" as assistant captain in 1987 In addition, all players wore Labatt Canada Cup patches on their right chest during the 1987 and 1991 tournaments, making this configuration of Team Canada Bourque jersey unique to the 1984 tournament.
This basic jersey style was used by Canada in all the Canada Cups, starting in 1976 through the final one in 1991, with it's main crest mimicking the Canada Cup trophy, which was not really a "cup" in the proper sense.
Here are the goals from the dramatic final game of the 1987 Canada Cup. Careful viewing will confirm #7 Bourque playing in the game on a couple of occasions. Don't be fooled by #77 Paul Coffey.