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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Former Bruins Center Adam Oates One Of Four Players Elected To NHL Hall Of Fame In 2012

One of my earliest memories of watching Boston Bruins games on Channel 38 with the legendary announcers Derek Sanderson and Fred Cusick was seeing center Adam Oates dish out ridiculous assists to Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and numerous other teammates.

Today, Oates was rewarded with a spot in the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto. He'll be inducted along with Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Pavel Bure on November 18. The crazy part was that Oates was also named head coach of the Washington Capitals this afternoon as well. I bet that's probably never happened before in NHL history, haha talk about winning the day. This comes after he was an assistant coach for the New Jersey Devils who lost to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals earlier this month.

He was only on the Bruins for parts of six seasons (1992-97) but he deserves his spot along hockey's elite after a 19-year career on seven different teams (Red Wings, Blues, Bruins, Capitals, Flyers, Mighty Ducks and Oilers). His 1079 assists are the sixth most in NHL history and he also added 341 goals.

Oates had by far his best season in the NHL while he wore the Black and Gold in 1992-93 which is why I hope and pray that he'll wear a Bruins sweater in the Hall of Fame. Get this, he put up 45 goals and 97 assists for an absurd 142 points including 24 points on the power-play. He followed that up with his second-best season in 1993-94: 32 goals and 80 assists. He missed some of 1994-95 but he bounced back with 25 goals and 67 assists in 1995-96. Clearly the NHL was much more wide open then, sadly nobody puts up those kinds of numbers nowadays.

Obtained by the B's on February 7, 1992 after they dealt Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal to the Blues, Oates was traded out of town on March 1, 1997; he went to Washington along with Rick Tocchet and Bill Ranford for Jim Carrey, Jason Allison and Anson Carter. A four-time NHL All-Star (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997) he performed well in the playoffs too: 42 goals and 114 assists in 163 games.

Another childhood staple was buying and then constantly playing the NHL video games for Sega Genesis and winning way more than the Bruins did in real life at that point in time. Oates was always on the first line and he usually had the puck on his stick; true to form, he couldn't score at all but he sure could feed Neely, Bourque, Al Iafrate, Dave Reid, Shawn McEachern, Joe Juneau, etc. for some sweet one-timers which was one of the easiest ways to get goals.

Congrats to Adam on his new gig and his long overdue reward for an outstanding professional career. Funny aside: as far as I know his will be the first and only autograph I have of a sports Hall of Famer. Haha he appeared at the now defunct Herman's Sporting Goods at the North Shore Mall in Peabody when I was in grade school. I remember getting him to sign a black and white photo. Also, he had one of the great mullets in Bruins history: Greasy, long and curly. Just like the ladies love it.

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