December 01, 2012

Harry Smith

We might as well finish our look at the Smith brothers from Ottawa. Hockey Hall of Famers Tommy and Alf had another brother who was a noted hockey player. No, he was never inducted into the Hall of Fame, though there is some suggestion he was every bit as good as his brothers. He just got himself into trouble a lot.

The original hockey history book The Trail of the Stanley Cup gives us a nice look at Harry Smith, the good:

He looked very much like his brother Alf and had a lot of his fighting characteristics. He was a much better player than Alf during his two years with Ottawa and might have been the equal of his brother Tommy, if he might have behaved.

In his first year with the Senators he was a ball of fire and he topped both Russell bowie and Frank McGee in scoring. He was a spectacular star in the famous two-game playoff with the Wanderers for the championship and Stanley Cup. Wanderers had won the first game 9-1 and no odds were quoted on the chances of Ottawa overtaking that lead. nevertheless, in the return match at Ottawa, the Senators tied the round before losing by two goals. This great comeback included five goals by Harry Smith who was personally congratulated at rinkside by the Governor General. This was the high point of Harry's career.

His talent was undeniable. The guy was a goal scoring machine. But his act wore thin. His attention to the defensive and team game was all but non-existent. He enjoyed a little too much of the night life, as the pudgy Smith was criticized for his lack of athletic conditioning. He was even released from Haileybury due to his lack of conditioning.

He was also physically undisciplined. He was suspended in Manitoba for rough play. In Pittsburgh he attacked a fan with his stick. Mind you, the fan did attack him with a chair. He even attacked a referee and that ended up in court.

But the man could score goals. He led four different leagues in goal scoring at one time or another. He also led everyone in playoff goal scoring in both 1906 and 1909 - both times he won the Stanley Cup.


Anonymous said...

Harry Smith was a superstar that team's in his era tried to sign...he was a goal scoring and fighting machine!

Absolutely afraid of no-one he was the equivalent of Sprague Cleghorn for toughness and had the scoring abilities of his brother Tommy.

For him to be denied entry into the Hockey Hall Of Fame when lesser talents enter before him is unacceptable!

Anonymous said...

One of the greatest players of his generation. Super tough a la Sprague Cleghorn (the ultimate tough guy) with the goal scoring abilities of his brother Tommy.

Harry belongs in the Hockey Hall Of Fame with his two brothers Alf and Tommy. Lesser talents are there ahead of him! SHAME!

Anonymous said...

Harry Smith and Odie Cleghorn are the two overlooked players from the early days of pro hockey that definitely deserve their place in Hockey Hall.