Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lunch at the Garden Club with Milt....

At the first of our lunches, I ate my clam chowder and listened to Milt, here's some of what he said.

"For so many years the league and the teams ignored American plyers, living here I went to a lot of college games and I knew there were American kids who could play in the NHL."

"I was 17, lived in a boarding house in Brookline, took the trolley to the Garden for practice. Wore a suit, a white shirt and tie everyday."

"The big road trip was out to Chicago on the train. On the way back we'd play the Wings and the Leafs. Sometimes we'd play Montreal too, then back to Boston."

"6 teams, 48 game season, played each other 8 times a year, 4 and 4."

"Montreal, it was always Montreal, still is isn't it?"

"We played a lot of cards on the train."

"I think Frankie Brimsek was the first American I had as a team mate. Frankie was a great goal tender. When he came up from the Reds in in 38-39 he had 6 shut outs in his first 7 games, if I remember correctly there were 3 or 4 players that made the NFL from Eveleth at that time."

Milt was the center on the Bruins' "Kraut Line" with wingers Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. All three of them grew up together in Kitchener, Ontario. They won two Stanley Cups together, After winning the cup in 40-41 they all joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served for the duration of WWII.

"Woody, Bobby and I finished 1-2-3 in scoring in 39 and we won the Stanley Cup. The Bruins wanted to cut our salaries from $4100 to $3700 for the next season."

I was introduced to Milt Schmidt in 1979. Milt died the other day at 98, the oldest living NHL player. Milt was the only player to Captain his team, coach his team and become the General Manager of his team. Milt had an incredible career,
  • Stanley Cup champion - all with Boston (1939 and 1941 as a player), (1970 and 1972 as general manager)
  • Finished his career with 229 goals and 346 assists for 575 points in 776 games.
  • At the time of his retirement, was fourth in NHL history in points scored and third in assists.
  • Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 1940, 1947 and 1951.
  • Named to the NHL Second All-Star Team in 1952.
  • Played in NHL All-Star Game in 1947, 1948, 1951 and 1952.
  • Won the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in 1996.
  • Was the last active NHL player who played during the 1930s.
  • In 1998, he was ranked number 27 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
  • Won the Hart Trophy in 1951
  • NHL Scoring Champion in 1940

  • Milt was one of the two greatest Bruins of all time. Milt said the greatest is Bobby Orr, Bobby says the greatest is Milt.

    Here they are being honored at a Bruins game, the 80th anniversary of Milt becoming a Bruin and Bobby's 50th. (Milt first noticed Bobby when he was 12 and took a personal interest in his development as a young player)

    I cherish the time I spent with Milt, I know you're skating again like you did when you were a 17 year old kid with the Bruins. It was an honor to get to know you.


    1. Great story Bob. Nice to read that The Bruins acknowledged him in so many ways following his retirement. My Team has always been The Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately, through most of my lifetime, their Vets have been ignored. Recent ownership, thank goodness, have encouraged recent management to regularly find ways to involve Leaf Alumni. For example, the other day, The Red Wing Vets played The Leaf Vets prior to The Centennial Classic outdoors in Toronto. Later The Alumni on both teams hung out in the dressing rooms with The Kids. I understand it brought some of them to tears. Only now do The Leafs understand what The Bruins understood many years ago......"Team Culture" means a lot.

      1. As Gm Milt pulled the trigger on the big trade with the Hawks, it brought Esposito, Freddie Stanfield and others to the Bruins beginning the "Big, Bad Bruins" era...then came Orr and the rest is history.

    2. Terrific post Bob. Great sense of an historic guy. Lucky you to have had the friendship.

    3. It's always good to meet your heroes. Nice post, Bob. Now get out there and sell some more trucks!