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Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5--Milt Schmidt

Milt Schmidt

Like the other members of the line, Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer, Schmidt was a Kitchener native and by rights should have been a Toronto Maple Leaf his whole life. The Leafs had already signed Bauer and sent him to Syracuse, and assistant general manager Frank Selke suggested to Conn Smythe that they sign Bauer's teammates, Dumart and Schmidt, the latter of whom was playing junior at age 14. Smythe wasn't convinced, and when Bauer attended Boston's training camp in Quebec City in the fall of 1935, he brought his friends with him. They never left the Bruins.
Schmidt was considered to be the ultimate two-way player of his day, a Trottier or Steve Yzerman of the 1940s. He was small but determined. He was a strong skater and clever puck distributor but also a great finish. As beautiful as he was to watch on the offense, the Bruins long time captain took equal pride in the defensive zone, and was not afraid to get his nose dirty. While he usually played cleanly, one reporter described his play as "angry."
Midway through the 1954-55 season, Schmidt retired as a player and took over the head coaching job for the Bruins, a position he held until 1966 with the exception of one season, 1960-61. His coaching record never matched his playing success, however and when Washington entered the NHL in 1974, he became that franchise's general manager and coach during the team's leanest years. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

Received this blue signed card IP at one of the Original Six tournaments.

Not as nice as the one over at Shoebox Legends, also celebrating Milt's birthday.

But I did get to meet Milt and chat with him a bit.

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