The Ballad of Eddie Shore and the Leafs
Well, the schedule is out and by now you've probably been over every inch of it. Play resumes in two days (and 5 hours, as of this posting...not that anyone's counting...) and then we've got a 48-game sprint over 99 days of the season to make the playoffs. After that it's a crapshoot pretty much. This is not the Bruins' first 48-game season, though. No, this will be lucky 48-game season number 13! So what happened in previous seasons?
The Bruins average 25.4-15.9-6.66 in 48-game seasons, grabbing 57.5 points. Only 2 of those seasons brought a losing record, and those 2 are the only ones where the Bruins failed to make the playoffs. This is in the pre point-for-loss age, remember. So let's take a look, shall we?
- 1931-32: Art Ross leads the team to a disappointing 15-21-12 season, good for last in the American Division. 24-year-old Dit Clapper leads the team in scoring with a whopping 39 points. Toronto beats the Rangers for the cup.
- 1932-33: Art Ross leads the team to 1st in the American Division on the strength of Vezina-winner Tiny Thompson and Eddie Shore's first Hart-worthy season. The Bruins lose to Toronto 3-2 in the semifinals, and Toronto then loses to the Rangers. Tough break.
- 1933-34: Eddie Shore creates the all-star game by damn near killing Toronto's Ace Bailey in a game. Art Ross, again, leads the team to a last place finish with an 18-25-5 record. A lot of those losses came during Eddie Shore's 16 game suspension.
- 1934-35: Eddie Shore wins the Hart Trophy for a second time. The Bruins, coached t. 26-15-6 by Frank Patrick, barely edge out the Chicago Black Hawks for 1st in the American Division, but lose to Toronto in the semifinals. The Montreal Maroons win the cup.
- 1935-36: Frank Patrick coaches the Bruins to 22-20-6 and you'll never guess who they lost to in the playoffs (hint: it's where Phil Kessel plays now). Tiny Thompson wins the Vezina again, and Eddie Shore snags his 3rd Hart Trophy. He probably would be grabbing a fourth, except that he ended Ace Bailey's career.
- 1936-37: Art Ross returns as coach and the Bruins ride a 23-18-7 record to second in the American Division. Nobody picks up any hardware. 24-year-old Bill Cowley misses 2 games but still leads the team with 35 points. Promising rookie Milt Schmidt goes 2-8-10 in 26 games. Bobby Bauer plays 1 game.
- 1937-38: Art Ross coaches the team to 30-11-7, good for first in the American Division. The Kraut Line plays most of the season together, and take up 3/5 of the top scorers on the team. Tiny Thompson gets another Vezina, Eddie Shore wins his fourth and final Hart Trophy. Eddie still holds the record for most Harts by a defensemen, and only Gretzky (9) and Gordie Howe (6) had more. The Bruins lose to Toronto in the playoffs. This is not a recording.
- 1938-39: After playing 5 games, Tiny Thompson, at age 35, is sold to Detroit. The Bruins got 15,000 and Normie Smith, who retired immediately. The Bruins were able to let him go because they had a stellar rookie goalie, Frank "Mr. Zero" Brimsek. Brimsek helps the Bruins lead the league in goals against. Bill Cowley (League assist leader) again leads the team in scoring, with Roy Conacher (league goal leader) and the Kraut Line rounding out the top five. The Bruins lead the league in scoring, averaging 3.25 goals/game. As usually happens when you both score a lot and don't get scored on much, the Bruins went 33-9-1 and beat the Rangers to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they trounced the Leafs 4-1 to win the second Stanley Cup in team history. Brimsek won the Vezina and the Calder.
- 1939-40: Cooney Weiland retires from playing and takes over as coach. A very good Bruins team again leads the league in scoring, as the Kraut Line all hit their early 20s and take the top 3 scoring spots on the team. Milt Schmidt leads the league in Points and Assists. In fact, the top 3 scorers in the league are the Kraut Line. Bill Cowley ties Gordie Drillon for 4th, meaning 4/5 of the top scorers were Bruins. Bobby Bauer won the Lady Byng. The Bruins finished first in the league with a 31-12-5 record, but lost to the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. The Rangers went on to win the Cup. It would be their last cup until that fucking asshole Mark Messier came along and ruined a perfectly good chant.
- 1940-41: Eddie Shore retires before the season to run his Springfield Indians full time. Bill Cowley is a scoring maniac (17-45-62, 18 more points than anyone in the league) and wins the Hart. Bobby Bauer picks up another Lady Byng. The Bruins go 27-8-13 to take first in the league again, and beat the Leafs and then sweep the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. Cooney Wieland steps down as coach after the season because he is still too close with the players he played with 2 years prior.
- 1941-42: Art Ross once again returns as coach of the Bruins. They ride the best GA in the league to a 25-17-6 record, finishing third in the league. They beat the Blackhawks 2-1, then lose to Detroit 2-1. Detroit goes on to win the first three games of the 7-game Finals, then lose their next four. Toronto becomes the first team in NHL/MLB/NBA history to come back from being down 0-3 in a series to win 4-3. Roy Conacher leads the Bruins with 37 points as Cowley is sidelined by injuries, playing only 28 games and not scoring as prodigiously as before in those games. The Kraut Line leaves for World War 2 mid-season, as well.
- 1995: Last season in the Gahden. Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Adam Oates, Don Sweeney, Ted Donato, Mats Naslund, etc, etc, etc. Brian Sutter coaches them to 27-18-3, 3rd in the northeast. Blaine Lacher is in net, and the Bruins lose in the first round to the New Jersey Devils, who go on to win the cup.
So there you go. The Bruins look poised to bring up the average, I think.