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June 30, 2017

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PAGE 12 BOSTON POST-GAZE'I-I'E, JUNE 30, 2017 HOOPS, and HOCKEY by Richard Preiss in the HUB Happy 4 of July~ Willard vs. Dempsey For. this 4 of July, I thought I would share a few photos of three memorable Heavyweight Championship fights that pro- vided for some fireworks on Independence Day. All took place in the first half of the 20th Century. First was the fight between Jack Johnson and James J. Jeffries that took place in Reno, Nevada, in 1910. Jeffries, who had retired as undefeated champion six years earlier, came back after a suitable "White Hope" could not be found to challenge Jack Johnson. Though Jeffries out- weighed Johnson by nearly 40 pounds, the match proved to be no contest with Johnson stop- ping Jeffries in the 15th round of a scheduled 45-round bout. Next, we.have Jack Dempsey wresting the title from cham- pion Jess Willaxd in a brutal match that ended when Willard was unable to answer the bell for the fourth round. Again, it was the smaller man who pre- vailed as Willard outweighed Dempsey by over 50 pounds. And finally, Jack Dempsey is in another 4th of July title fight, this time against Tommy Gibbons in Shelby, Montana. This fight did not contain many fireworks as Gibbons was more intent on lasting the distance than he was on winning. What does make this fight interesting is it shows Dempsey's excellent abilities as a boxer. The bout is famous for another thing. The town of Shelby went bankrupt financing the match. I hope everyone has a Happy 4th and a wonderful summer/ Johnson vs. Jeffres Dempsey vs. Gibbons Willard vs. Dempsey Ticket to Jeffries - Johnsonflght Dempsey vs. Gibbons FORMER Bs POSSIBLY ON THE MOVE -- Its summertime and the living is -- perhaps in transition. Some of the latest topics on the internet concern a couple of former Bruins players -- Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr. Thornton, who was drafted first overall by the Bs in 1998, was eventually traded by Bos- ton to the San Jose Sharks on November 30, 2005. It was a good landing place for Jumbo Joe -- so good, in fact that he never left -- spending every season with the Sharks through this past spring, Now 38 (my how time does fly), the veteran center is an unrestricted free agent and is said to be in talks with the Los Angeles Kings. Thornton amassed some 970 points in his 11 1/2 seasons with the Kings. That total represents the ma- jority of his career production. In 1,446 NHL games, the big center has 1,391 points 384 goals and 1,001 assists. Add in the playoffs and he has been good for 123 additional points {27 goals and 96 assists in 160 playoff games). He still had enough gas in the tank for 50 points this past season (seven goals and 43 assists) over the course of 79 games. That, however, was his lowest point total since his rookie year when he joined the Bs as a teenager at the start of the 1998-1999 campaign. The possible move to L.A. has a back-to-the-future tinge to it. During his playing days, Kings general manager Rob Blake was a teammate of Thornton's at San Jose from 2008-2010. In addition, Blake's senior advisor in Los Angeles is none other than Mike O'Connell, who was general manager of the Bru- ins when Thornton played on Causeway Street. Speculation has about seven or eight additional NHL teams expressing some interest in Thornton, so it's possible that Jumbo Joe may wind up his career playing for another team. He may not leave the Bay Area, but his relationships with Blake and O'Connell are two reasons why he might and why L.A. might be an eventual landing spot ff he does. Also on the market is the Age- less One -- Jaromir Jagr. As we went to press, he remained un- signed by the Florida Panthers, although he has reportedly been involved in extensive talks with Florida management. When he signs -- whether it be with Florida or some other franchise -- it will be the 244 NHL season for the durable for- ward,, who wasa member of the Pittsburgh Penguins team that eliminated the Rick Bowness coached Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals way back in 1992 and went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. Yes, he has been playing that long-- and he still does play all season long. He was one of three Florida forwards to see action in all 82 regular season games in the most recent campaign. All while he continued his status as the oldest player in the NHL, turning 45 this past February. He had decent stats, too, scoring 16 goals and adding 30 assists for a total of 46 points. Jagr is a realist and does not ask for a long-term, guaranteed contract. He knows at his age that no general manager would ever offer him one. So, for the last few years, he's been content to sign one or two year deals. It enables him to do what he loves -- continue to play hockey -- without putting a general man- ager in a bind via a long-term deal. It's worked out for both sides over the years and there's no reason it can't work again. If things don't work out with Florida contract-wise, another possibility is with the expan- sion Vegas Golde.n Knights franchise. If he wound up there, he would join former Florida teammate Reilly Smith, a former Bruin who was traded by the Panthers to the Knights on June 21st. But wherever it is, number 68 will be playing the NHL come this October. That's something you can bet on. CONGRATULATIONS -- to former Bruins Dave Andrey- chuk and Mark Recchi on their election to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Andreychuk, who played for the Bruins in the 1999-2000 season; went to Colorado as part of the Ray Bourque trade, later played with Buffalo, and then Tampa Bay where he served as captain when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Currently serving as Tampa Bay's Vice-President for Corporate and Community Affairs, he had been the only player with at least 600 career goals (he finished with 640) not in the Hall. Mark Recchi is well-known and warmly remembered in this area as the seasoned veteran who capped his NHL career by winning the 2011 Stanley Cup with the Bruins in his final sea- son as a player. Although he had won the Cup on two other occasions, this one seemed the most fulfill- ing because it enabled him to conclude his playing days by capturing the ultimate prize. It was the best way to cap a 22- year career. When he played in the 2011 Stanley Cup, he was the last active NHL player from the 1980s. Following his playing days, Recchi served as a consultant with the Dallas Stars. In July 2014, he was hired by the Pittsburgh Penguins as a player development coach. You might say things developed quite nicely after that with the Pens winning consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. He was promoted to Director of Player Development a week after the Pens claimed their latest Cup. In addition, another player with ties to New England was also elected to the Hall. Paul Kariya won the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman at the University of Maine, amassing 100 points {25 goals, 75 assists) while leading the Black Bears to the 1993 NCAA Champion- ship. Although he would go on to have a fine NHL career, he's best remembered around here for that single superior season.