Peterborough, Ontario's George "Red" Sullivan played in 557 NHL games with Boston, Chicago and mostly the New York Rangers. He scored 107 goals and 346 points. He never won the Stanley Cup as a player, but the Stanley Cup ring he earned as scout for the 1972 Bruins was his most cherished possession.
"There is no feeling like it. Being part of that Bruins team really filled a void that I had as a player, never winning a Stanley Cup. There really is no words to explain how I felt when won the Stanley Cup," he told The Hockey News
Described as a "spirited centerman with a handy touch around the net," Sullivan liked the stir things up. He was known to run at goaltenders, with Jacques Plante being his favorite target.
He was also a man known to have a lot of fun.
"The most fun I had was playing in New York. I was a night person and New York had lots of action at night. And I liked the action. I was known as a guy who would break a few curfews now and then. But I always made sure I was ready to play the next game we had to play."
Sullivan didn't have too much fun the night Doug Harvey speared him.
"We were playing against the Montreal Canadiens and Doug Harvey, a man who I still like and have a great deal of respect for, speared me. I suffered an injury to my spleen," Sullivan explained.
"It was one of those situations where Harvey was paying me back for something I had done to him the night before. On this particular occasion, I had given it to him the night before when I kicked the skates right out from under him during a game. That's something you don't do. So I knew I was going to get it the next night. I just didn't expect to be speared, which is something you don't do either."
Sullivan understates the severity of the injury.
"It didn't end my career that night. But I think it had something to do with the fact that I retired a short time thereafter.
He did not mention that a Catholic priest was brought in to read him his last rights. Mind you, that may just be a legend nowadays.
Sullivan was an offensive star in junior and the AHL, serving as more of a set-up man than a shooter. He became more of a role player and penalty killer in the NHL, but still made solid offensive contributions. In his best season, 1958-59, he scored 21 goals and 63 points, second most on the Rangers behind Andy Bathgate.
Sullivan was also a leader, serving as team captain of the Rangers in the latter years of his career. He went to coach the Rangers, the Penguins and Capitals and was a long time scout.
This 1963-64 Topps card #17, a genuine Wayne Rivers rookie card.
Chances are you've never heard much about Wayne Rivers. The Hamilton, Ontario born right winger played 108 NHL games in the 1960s, mostly with Boston but also with St. Louis, New York and Detroit. He had a more notable five year career in the WHA with New York and San Diego, averaging close to a point a game.
But you can impress your friends and enemies by correctly naming Wayne Rivers as the answer to this obscure trivia question: Who scored the last regular season goal of the Original Six era?
The 1966-67 season came to a close on April 1st, 1967. There were three games on the schedule that night including Boston vs. Toronto. It was Rivers who scored the very last goal of that historic regular season. At 19:18 of the third period Rivers scored to make the final score 5-2.
While Rivers only scored 15 goals in the NHL, he was a notable goal scorer at every other level. He had 158 in the WHA, and another 251 in 490 games in the 1960s AHL.
The AHL in the 1960s must have been some great hockey. Remember, there was only 6 NHL teams so the talent level in the "A" must have been pretty high, right?
“The pace isn’t as fast in the American League where they play positional hockey, do a lot of passing and don’t skate as fast or as much,” Rivers said.
Murray first played for the Toronto Young Rangers (OHA) in 1940-41. He then went on to play for the Toronto Marlboros and the Royal Canadian Air Force of the OHA Sr. league.
In the pre-war days Murray was more interested in learning prices and parts than acquiring a higher knowledge of passes and pucks.
"I used to play for fun, just as a sideline. I don't believe the idea of playing professional hockey ever entered my head, even though my uncles Charlie, Roy and Lionel Conacher were All-Stars. The first time I gave it any serious thought was when I got out of the service and Harold "Baldy" Cotton talked to me about coming to Boston. Even then I wasn't sold on the idea, but I decided to take the chance and I have never regretted that I did. " Murray said during an interview in 1950.
Cotton who himself had a stellar 12-year NHL career was the Bruins "talent-tabber" and searched for prospects all around Ontario. He had his eyes on Murray for years. Murray walked into the Boston Arena for his first Bruins practice in the spring of 1945, a few days after receiving compassionate leave from the RCAF where he had been a coastal patrol pilot when his father passed away.
"When I came to Boston I was horribly out of condition, because I hadn't played very much in a year and a half. The Bruins put me with the Olympics (Boston's amateur team) to get into shape. I played half a dozen games with them,then got a crack at the Bruins " Murray remembered.
Murray especially remembered his first ever NHL game when he was paired with the legendary Aubrey "Dit" Clapper, a Hall of Famer.
" It was in Detroit, we lost, and late in the game I got my first chance to play. I went out on defense with Dit Clapper. "
One would think that Murray recieved a lot of instructions from his famous uncles while he was learning his way around the ice, but that wasn't the case.
" It doesn't seem to me that they were around much when I was little " Murray reflected. " At least I can't recall when they might have seen me play, before I joined the Bruins, that is. One or all of them might have seen me somewhere along the line, but I don't remember when. "
Although Murray's uncles gave him tips later in his career, it was his former teammates Dit Clapper and Jack Crawford who were his biggest benefactors.
"Dit gave me the benefit of his experience while I was playing with him, he was my partner for my first two years, and he always had advice and tips after he retired to the bench. Then I also learned a lot from watching Jack work. " , Murray said.
Murray wasn't a devotee of the "rock 'em and sock 'em" style of defensive play, although he threw his weight around effectively when it was necessary. At that time he boiled his playing theory down to one sentence.
"I figure my job is to try to stop the other team from scoring " he said, " and I try to do that in whatever way I can. "
Murray continued to patrol the Bruins blue line in unspectacular but steady fashion until 1952. He then winded down his career by playing four seasons (1952-56) for the Hershey Bears in the AHL, making the AHL 2nd All-Star team in 1955.
Murray was not nearly as skilled as his famous uncles but always gave an honest effort in the rink and was an important part of the post-war Bruins team.
However what does come as a bit of a surprise is that a player from that low level managed to play 4 years of professional hockey, including 115 NHL Games with the hometown Boston Bruins..
Frank was signed as a Free Agent by the Bruins on October 4, 1984. He was a skilled player - good skating and puck movement. He however was fragile blueliner who suffered a number of injuries that limited his effectiveness. His ailments included mononucleosis and a severely damaged shoulder. The injuries finally forced Simonetti to retire in 1988.
Simonetti scored 5 goals and 8 assists in those 115 games. While injuries made his pro career disappointing, it was a bit of a small miracle that he even made it to the bigs in the first place. Frank Simonetti is probably the only player from Norwich University to play 4 seasons in the NHL.
Simonetti has been very active in the Pan-Mass Bicycle Challenge, which has raised over $300 million to fight cancer.
Scott McLellan was hardly the most memorable Boston Bruins player. He played all of 2 games for the Bruins in 1982-83, the only two games of his NHL career. The Peterborough Petes graduate only played 2 professional seasons.
McLellan returned home to Toronto and became a key player in the city's condominium development scene. For 18 years Scott was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tridel Corporation. He is currently Senior V.P. at Plazacorp, Toronto. He is quickly helping Plaze become one of Canada's leading condominium developers.
According to Wikipedia, McLellan also doubled as a scout for the Boston Bruins from 1994 through 1999.