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."
"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,
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.