October 28, 2010

Milt Schmidt: 75 Years of Excellence

On Thursday night the Boston Bruins will honour Milt Schmidt's 75 years of service to the organization.

He is the only man in Bruins history to serve the club as player, captain, coach and General Manager. He figured in four of the team's five Stanley Cups - as a player in 1939 and 1941 and as the team's GM in 1970 and 1972. A four time NHL All Star, he won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1951, and the Art Ross scoring title in 1940. He centered the famed "Kraut Line" which became the first line in NHL history to finish 1-2-3 in the league's scoring race (1939-40), and missed three years of his career from 1942-45 while serving in World War II with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Time has eroded the legacy of Milt Schmidt, Mr. Boston Bruin. He last played in 1955, in a long forgotten era that was vastly different than hockey today. With little video evidence of his greatness to preserve his stature, modern fans who do know of Schmidt have to do some heavy research and understanding of the players and the era.

Thanks to the memories of the decreasing old time fans, writers and most importantly on ice peers, Schmidt is still recognized as one of the greatest players in NHL history. In 2000, The Hockey News assembled 50 hockey experts to definitively rank the top players of all time. Milt Schmidt came in at number 27, ahead of the likes of Paul Coffey, Henri Richard, Bryan Trottier, Patrick Roy and Boom Boom Geoffrion.

In fact, only two players of Schmidt's approximate era ranked ahead of him. Eddie Shore and Howie Morenz. Contemporaries such as Syl Apps, Charlie Conacher, Dit Clapper, Bill Cook and Max Bentley finished below Schmidt. Scmidt's legendary rivals, namely Elmer Lach, Sid Abel and Ted Kennedy, all Hall of Famers, didn't even make the list.

Read the full Milt Schmidt biography

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