January 5, 2017


Milt Schmidt, Hall of Fame Center for Bruins, Dies at 98 (Richard Goldstein, Jan. 4th, 2017, NY Times)

A superb skater and an outstanding stick-handler, the rugged Schmidt is best remembered as the center, and the key figure, on the Bruins' so-called Kraut Line of the late 1930s and 1940s: three childhood buddies of German descent who had played together in junior hockey and the minor leagues.

Schmidt and his linemates, left wing Woody Dumart and right wing Bobby Bauer, had grown up together in Ontario, and each signed with the Bruins' organization in the mid-1930s. While playing for the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League in the 1936-37 season, they were linked by their coach, Albert Leduc.

Schmidt recalled in a 2002 interview for the Hockey Hall of Fame: "He said: 'All of you fellas come from Kitchener-Waterloo. There's a lot of people of German descent from there. We gotta get a name for ya -- the Kraut Line.'"

The line made its debut in the last game of the 1936-37 season, and the three went on to finish atop the N.H.L. in points in 1939-40: Schmidt had 52 points in a 48-game season; Dumart and Bauer each tallied 43. The linemates spurred the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship in 1939, teaming with stars like Eddie Shore and Dit Clapper and the outstanding rookie goaltender Frankie Brimsek. The Bruins won another Stanley Cup title in 1941, with all but Shore still in the lineup.

Schmidt was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961. Dumart followed him in 1992, and Bauer was elected posthumously in 1996.

"Schmidt was the fastest playmaker of all times," Art Ross, his longtime general manager, was quoted as saying by Sports Illustrated in 1957. "No player ever skated at the tilt Schmidtty did and was still able to make the play."

Posted by at January 5, 2017 11:46 AM