Everything you need to know about the one and only Cageface Kelly.

Last night was a big night for Chris Kelly. The Bruins and Caps were tied at zero for a full 60 minute hockey game and it looked like it was never going to end. Then at only 1:18 into the OT period, Kelly sent a slap shot past Holtby and it was over. Game 1 went to the Bruins and first star of the night went to a much deserving Chris Kelly. The man that wears #23 has gone from unsung hero to OT hero in one game. It seems like an appropriate time to drop some knowledge about our favorite cage wearing alternate captain.

Kelly has had a long and consistent career in professional hockey. He truly got his start in 1997, playing for the OHL’s London Knights, where he spent four seasons. Kelly showed his skill early, giving the Knights 9 goals and 26 points in 25 games as they headed to the OHL Final.

The Ottawa Senators drafted the 18 year old center in the third round at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Kelly spent 3 seasons with their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. He was given the title of Captain in his final two years at Binghamton and notched a 60 point season in his last year with them.

Kelly made his NHL debut on February 5th, 2004 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That very next season was his first full one in the NHL. He spent almost 6 seasons in Ottawa, with his role mainly being that of a defensive forward. His responsibility’s  were mainly killing penalties and checking. He averaged roughly 25-30 points every season of those six seasons with a career high of 15 goals happening in his 06-07 and 09-10 seasons.

Then the heavens opened up when the Ottawa Senators traded Chris Kelly to Boston during the 2010-2011 season in exchange for a second round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. When Kelly arrived in Boston, the general consensus among Bruins fans was “So?” He wasn’t a flashy type player, but Peter Chiarelli indeed works in mysterious ways. The remaining games of the regular season were subpar for Kelly, having only 2-3-5 totals in 25 games. Acquiring Kelly from Ottawa ended up being a vital move in the teams quest for the Stanley Cup. During the now historic playoff run, he notched 5 goals and 8 assists in 25 games. After colliding with the net in Game 3 against Montreal, Kelly sported the now legendary cage and produced a point per game while wearing it.

This season marked Kelly’s first full season with the Bruins, and he was awarded an “A” for his leadership and voice in the locker room. It proved to be a career season for Kelly, blowing past his career high of 15 goals with 20. He finished 3rd in the league in plus/minus with +33 and was the only Bruin to dress for all 82 games this year.  As you all know, he started the playoffs on the right foot when he scored the lone goal and OT winner in Game 1 of the Quarterfinals against the Caps.

We should all be extremely thankful that we have Chris Kelly. He’s extremely smart with the puck and is always in the right place at the right time. He has the capability to make those who play alongside him better. His linemate Benoit Pouliot had one of his best seasons, and its within reason to believe that Kelly has played a part in his success. Claude Julien has even compared Kelly to Patrice Bergeron in regards to his ability as a two-way player. Always humble, Kelly will never admit his success and gives credit to his teammates regardless of the situation.

You’ll never see Chris Kelly on the cover of an NHL video game, and you’ll never see him make an appearance at an All-Star Game. There will never be a “Kelly cam” and you’ll be lucky to hear anyone outside of the Boston media mention his name. But that’s alright with him. His quiet and unassuming nature is what makes him so different. He puts his team first and refuses to take sole credit for his accomplishments. He fits perfectly with the Boston Bruins and we can only hope that he stays around for a very long time.

Chris Kelly fun facts:

  • He regularly swindled his local Walmart during his teen years, breaking his hockey sticks and returning them to get new ones until he was banned
  • He drives a Mazda and enjoys listening to rap music that came out in 2004
  • He admits being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan in his early years and said that it was consistently a very sad time.
  • Before this season, he hadn’t dropped the gloves since his 2005-2006 season with the Senators. Since this season started, he has dropped the gloves 3 times
  • Speaking of fights, during his 2004 season with the Binghamton Senators, he dropped the gloves against current Flyer Maxime Talbot. Which is simply hilarious.
  • His four front teeth are fake, and he was even kind enough to speak with the media after losing them earlier this year.
  • He hated his cage, even though it kind of became a staple during the Montreal series of the 2011 playoffs
  • He’s bad ass, and if you think otherwise you can go away.
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