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Black and Gold: Four Decades of the Boston Bruins in Photographs Hardcover – September 9, 2008
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From the Inside Flap
Black and Gold is a pictorial romp through four decades of one of the NHL's great Original Six franchises-a personal history of the Boston Bruins as seen through the lens of Steve Babineau, team photographer for 35 years.
Over his long career, Babs, as he is known, has captured over one-third of the history of this storied franchise with his work. He has seen many of the greatest in the organization and has photographed them all for the record: Bobby Orr, John Bucyk, Phil Esposito, Terry O'Reilly, Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Gerry Cheevers, Don Cherry and the Lunchpail Gang, and many more.
In glorious color and classic black and white, Black and Gold lovingly captured four decades of Bruins history and the team's characters in over 300 photographs,many of them never published before.
With veteran hockey journalist, broadcaster, and author Rob Simpson, Babs shares his memories and best-loved moments with the team: from growing up a Bruins fan, to his own early hockey playing day, getting interest in photography and coming to work for the Bs, and eventually documenting the team and its plays through four decades. Black and Gold is an up-close and personal look at the Bruins plays, coaches, and fans, as well as the old Boston Garden and the characters who inhabited it.
As well as Babs' perspective on the Bruins—from the stands, the penalty box, the press box, and the arena rafters—Black and Gold features interviews with many former Bruins, coaches, and general managers, peppering the pages with great first-hand stories and anecdotes on what it means to be a Bruin and share in the great tradition of the franchise; and on the hundreds of blueliners, scorers and playmakers, grinders and enforcers, goalies, and coaches that passed through the organization in the four decades that Babs caught on film.
Thirty-five years and some 1,700 games have gone by since Babineau shot his first game back in the 1973-74 season, and he's still counting. Black and Gold is a fitting testament to that great career, and to those who fill its pages.
This stunning collection of photographs, magical moments, and commentary from the last four decade swill be sure to bring back memories for very Bruins fan who bleeds black and gold.
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"Black and Gold" comes up a little better than that. The entire package is a good tribute to the Boston Bruins in a 35-year-span than ended in 2008.
The centerpiece of the book is the work of Steve Babineau, who served as the team's photographer for that era. Babineau became part of the furniture after a while, always around to take pictures and even available to do a little skating after practice if the players needed a body.
But it's not just a picture book. Rob Simpson provides a ton of interviews of former players and coaches about the Bruins' franchise, which mesh pretty nicely with the photos.
While the Bruins didn't win any Cups during those years, they did have some very good players. John Bucyk, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Terry O'Reilly, Ray Bourque and Cam Neely get their own chapters. The last few sections go into wider groups -- coaches, goalies, defensemen, forwards, etc. The enforcers even get their own chapter. The introduction in the text is a little odd in that it defends the role of fighters in the game; it seems like something out of another book.
Obviously, this book would have been a little different had it been written now. A Stanley Cup sure changes the editorial perspective.
There isn't a whole lot of critical analysis here. In other words, everyone quoted loved playing for the Bruins and was never happier as a hockey player than when he wore the black and gold. At $34.95, it's also a little pricey for some and a pretty quick read.
Even so, it's fair to say that any Bruins' fans will thoroughly enjoy this book, which ought to have sold plenty of copies on the Bruins' souvenir stands and at Boston-area bookstores. That target audience certainly will give "Black and Gold" an extra star.