Before the Boston Bruins game against the New York Islanders on Thursday, there was a pretty special moment as far as team history goes.
Rick Middleton, who ranks third in team history in goals scored with 402, had his number retired by his old team. That's right, Nifty's No. 16 cannot be worn by any other Bruins play ever again now.
Middleton played for the Bruins in 12 seasons and had five seasons with the team where he put up more than 90 points. Needless to say, he had quite the career. Even though he really did earn it, Middleton was still thrilled to receive the honor, it seems.
"I've had four months to think about it, and I hate repeating myself, but honestly, I believe it is the biggest honor that certainly a retired athlete can get in his career,'' he told reporters, including ESPN, who actually covered hockey for once, on Thursday night.
As for his best season, it's hard to pinpoint one. The guy put up 51 goals during the 1981-1982 season, so that's pretty good.
Here's what his former teammate, Hall of Famer John Bucyk, said about him to the Boston Globe.
"You don't see that kind of talent anymore," he said. "He was playing keepaway out there. And he did that as a penalty killer, too. He'd get the puck and you'd think we were the ones with the power play."
So yeah, that's some high praise from another top notch player, showing you just how good of a career Middleton had in Boston.
And in case you were wondering who the last player to wear No. 16 for the Bruins was, the answer is Kaspars Daugavins (2013). You might be asking yourself: who? And all we can say is: exactly. Doesn't matter. No one can wear it ever again.