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    Bourque on Middleton: Can’t Believe it Took This Long to Retire His Number

    Ray Bourque joined Jimmy Murphy on the latest Bruins Beat to discuss Rick Middleton's number retirement ceremony.

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    BOSTON, MA - 1980's: Rick Middleton #16 (l), Terry O'Reilly #24 (c) and Ray Bourque #7 (r) of the Boston Bruins accept three star awards in pre game ceremoney before game at the Boston Garden. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    On Thursday night, Boston Bruins legend Rick “Nifty” Middleton will have his number 16 raised to the T.D. Garden rafters.

    Ray Bourque joined Jimmy Murphy on the latest Bruins Beat on CLNS Media to discuss how much Nifty deserves the ceremony.

    “It’s long overdue,” said Bourque. “I’m just happy it’s happening because he’s a very special player. One of the best players I’ve ever played with especially in Boston.”

    Middleton and Bourque played nine seasons together and were co-captains for three of those. Bourque points to becoming co-captains with Nifty in 1985 as one of the best moments of his illustrious career.

    “He was a great teammate and a great leader,” said Bourque. “Especially when we became co-captains together. I was asked to be captain and I really felt at that point, Nifty was the next guy on the list. He had both seniority and leadership. I was a young 25 or 26 years old and really blown away by the opportunity and the question of becoming captain for the Bruins.

    “The minute I was asked, I said ‘I don’t know. Rick Middleton should be captain of this team.'”

    From 1985-1988, Bourque and Middleton dawned the “C” together right above the Spoked-B on their jerseys. Bourque couldn’t stop talking about the impact Nifty had on his career.

    “He really helped me during a transition stage in terms of leadership and becoming the captain for many years with the Bruins,” said number 77. “I owe a lot to Rick in that case. He was a great teammate and such an easy-going and positive guy. A lot of fun to be around so playing that amount of years with Rick was a total blast.”

    Looking back, Bourque realizes how much fun they actually had together.

    “I shared a lot of special moments with Rick in terms of what we did with the Bruins,” he said. “But also played in a couple Canada cups with him. We shared a captaincy and I just saw him score some incredible goals. What a complete player.”

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