Bruins great Middleton headlines Mass. Hockey Hall class

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Bruins great Middleton headlines Mass. Hockey Hall class

Former Boston Bruins great Rick Middleton is still waiting for his call to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto after a dominant career in Boston, but Nifty has collected another honor while he waits.

Middleton headlines the newest class of the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame set to be inducted Nov. 14 at Lombardos in Randolph. Joining Middleton are Boston College All-American and US Olympian Tom Red Martin (Cambridge), Brown All-American and US Olympian Don Whiston (Stoneham), Boston College All-American Ed Butch Songin (Walpole), UNH and US Womens National Hockey Coach Karen Kay (Marlborough), Salem Evening News hockey scribe Bill Kipouras, ECAC and NCAA official Tom Lynch (Norwood) and Massachusetts Hockey Builders Charles Mike Tenney (Duxbury), Alan Doc Ashare (Newton) and Billerica Youth Hockey legend Joe Ferraro.

Middleton is the last Bruins player to win the Lady Byng Trophy and finished with 448 goals and 998 points in just over 1,000 NHL games with the Big Bad Bruins and the New York Rangers over a 14-year NHL career.

Past inductees read like a whos who of hockey heroes who over the past 50 years have helped position Massachusetts as the hotbed of hockey in the United States. Per a press release from the Mass Hockey Hall of Fame, the list is stock full of Olympic and Paralympic heroes, college and NHL stars, female pioneers, high school and college coaching legends, distinguished referees and media icons, as well as a cadre of dedicated, behind-the-scenes grassroots builders who have tirelessly spent decades furthering the development of the game in Massachusetts.

Inductees to the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame are chosen on the basis of accomplishments in the game of hockey, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to his or her teams or organizations in college, amateur or professional hockey, or on international teams representing the United States. Each nominee must have distinguished himself or herself by exceptional performance and outstanding character reflecting favorably upon the game of hockey in

Massachusetts, be in good public standing in the community, an appropriate role model for young hockey players and an exemplary representative of the game of hockey. Massachusetts Hockey, Inc., is a not-for-profit tax exempt organization which serves as the affiliate association of USA Hockey, Inc., and is the official governing body for the sport of hockey in Massachusetts. As such, its purposes and objectives are to develop, advance and encourage participation in the sport of hockey; to develop and encourage sportsmanship between all players for the betterment of their physical and social well-being; to develop and improve the standards of the sport; and to educate and train players, coaches, referees, managers, administrators and parents. For more information, visit www.masshockey.com.

A limited number of tickets (60) to the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Dinner are available and may be purchased by contacting Jim Prior at jimprior@easternjunior.com or (781) 938-4400.

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

David Backes on the Felger and Mazz show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and simulcast on CSN, tells fill-in hosts Jim Murray and Greg Dickerson there has also been some discussion with the Bruins of putting him on the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Watch the video above for more. 

Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

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Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

The Bruins lost a number of free agents on after the market opened at noontime. None bigger than Loui Eriksson signing a six-year, $36 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks to play with the Sedin Twins.

It’s the exact level of term and salary that Eriksson said he was looking for from the Bruins in contract negotiations around the trade deadline, but the Bruins never really moved from their offer of a four-year deal at comparable money.

The Bruins will miss the 30-goal production and solid all-around, two-way play from Eriksson as he heads to the West Coast, but they also traded in a passive player in Eriksson for an in-your-face, physical leader in David Backes on a five-year deal. 

Backes is much more of a Bruins-style player than Eriksson could have ever hoped to have been. That part of it is a win for a Bruins fan base that wants intensity and physicality from their players.

The Bruins also watched Jonas Gustavsson sign a one-year, $800,000 contract with Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers, Brett Connolly sign a one-year deal for $850,000 with the Washington Capitals, Zach Trotman signs a one-year deal for $950,000 and Lee Stempniak ink a two-year, $5 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes after being a non-contract training camp invite with New Jersey last season.

Sweeney had maintained as late as Thursday that he was still keeping ties with many of Boston’s free agents prior to the noon opening of the free agent market, but clearly that’s changed.

“We’ll continue to have talks and sort of figure out where things may go. We’ve had talks with a number of players to see what they would like to see as the opportunity here or what we see as a fit,” said Sweeney on the Torey Krug conference call on Thursday night. “I haven’t ruled absolutely any of that out; just haven’t found common ground and obviously it gets harder and harder as we go further along in the process.”