Wednesday, March 23, 2016

1971-72 Boston Bruins Ted Green Jersey

Beginning his junior hockey career with the St. Boniface Canadiens of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League during the 1956-57 season, defenseman Ted Green announced himself as a tough customer when he racked up 76 penalty minutes in a mere 17 games, an average of five minutes per game. No doubt many of those minutes were earned five minutes at a time!

In 1957-58, Green played in 23 games with 97 penalty minutes and then ramped that up to 120 minutes in 25 games of the 1958-59 season, a 4.8 per game average this time. After playing 9 playoff games for St. Boniface, Green was then loaned to the Winnipeg Braves for their run to the 1959 Memorial Cup championship. That season he also played in a single game for the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League, a sneak preview to the 70 games he played for the Warriors in 1959-60, where he added some offense to his game with 8 goals and 28 points while amassing 109 penalty minutes.

He was claimed from the Montreal Canadiens organization by the Boston Bruins in the summer of 1960. Green spent the majority of the 1960-61 season back with the Warriors, playing 57 games while adding 127 penalty minutes, which by themselves would have been a new career high for Green, but he also played 11 games for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Eastern Professional Hockey League, where he added an additional 30 penalty minutes. He also made his NHL debut with Boston, playing in a single game, but adding another 2 minutes to his combined season total of 159.

The next season Green became a full time NHLer and never played another game in the minors for the rest of his long career.

His first full season in the NHL saw Green play in 66 games, scoring his first league goal on his way to a total of 3 with a final total of 11 points. He also asserted himself as a force in the NHL with 116 penalty minutes as the rookie finished second only to Lou Fontinato and remained a regular fixture in the top five each year for the next seven years.

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Ted Green's rookie card

"Terrible Ted" would play in every one of the Bruins games for the next three seasons as both his penalty minutes and points rose every year, reaching 8 goals and 35 points and a career high 156 penalty minutes in 1964-65.

Prior to the 1965 season, Green played in his first NHL All-Star Game, which in those days was held prior to the start of the season with the defending Stanley Cup champion taking on an all-star squad made up of players from the other five of the Original 6 teams.

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A focused Ted Green

Green was limited to just 27 games during the 1965-66 season and only 47 the season after that. He rebounded with 72 games in 1967-68 along with 133 penalty minutes, the second highest of his career, as well as 43 points, thanks in part to the Bruins roster which by now included Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk and Bobby Orr and took advantage of the expansion of the NHL by six teams that season. The combination of Boston's talent-laden roster and decidedly weaker expansion clubs saw Boston set a team record for goals with 259, 77 more than the previous season and 39 more than the previous team record. Boston also returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1959 and allowed Green to make his postseason debut after eight seasons.

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Green set a career high the following season with 46 points from 8 goals and 38 assists in 65 games before he added another 9 points in 10 playoff games. In January, Green also played in his second NHL All-Star Game, which had moved the middle of the season and was now an East vs West format.

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Green was now an assistant captain for the Bruins

It was during the preseason in 1969 that Green was involved in a grotesque, violent incident in Ottawa when he and rookie Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues. The pair collided early in the game and Green turned and viciously swung his stick at Maki, but failed to connect. Maki immediately retaliated and connected with full force in a sickening blow to Green's helmetless head, which left him laying in a heap on the ice with his skull fractured by his right temple.

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A sequence of photos of the stick fight that nearly ended Green's career

Green would undergo five hours of surgery and a followup operation later, leaving him with a metal plate in his head and his career presumed over.

Both players were charged with assault and were fined $300 by the league. Maki was suspended for 30 days and Green 13 games "if and when he returns to hockey".

Green would miss the entire 1969-70 season while recovering from his injuries while his teammates would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

Miraculously, Green returned to the Bruins for the 1970-71 season, but was a changed player. He picked up where he left off offensively with 42 points, but his penalty minutes limited to 60.

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Green returned to the NHL in 1970-71, now
wearing a helmet to protect the plate in his head

Green played in 54 games for the Bruins in 1971-72 with 17 points and only 21 penalty minutes. The Bruins entered the playoff paired against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who they defeated in six games. They then swept the St. Louis Blues to advance to the Finals against the New York Rangers. Boston won in six games to capture their second Stanley Cup in three years and earn Green his name on the cup.

It would prove to be his final game with the Bruins, as Green was lured away by the New England Whalers of the brand new World Hockey Association. The veteran Green was named the Whalers first team captain and immediately equaled his career best with 46 points from a career high 16 goals and 30 assists.

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Coach Jack Kelley and team captain Ted Green

New England won the Eastern Division with a league high 94 points. The Whalers ousted the Ottawa Nationals, then did the same to the Cleveland Crusaders and then defeated the Winnipeg Jets, all three series by 4 games to 1, to claim the first WHA championship. They did not, however, get to hoist the AVCO World Trophy, because it hadn't been finished yet!

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Green celebrates the Whalers championship with the Eastern Conference trophy

The Whalers again won the Eastern Conference title in 1973-74 with Green contributing both his veteran leadership as well as 33 points. After one more season with New England, Green was traded to the Winnipeg Jets.

He played four seasons for Winnipeg beginning with the 1975-76 season. During his four seasons with the Jets, he added a consistent 4-5 goals and 25-28 points his first three seasons. The Jets would win the (now completed) AVCO World Trophy in his first season with Winnipeg in 1976 and again in 1978.

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Green played one more season in Winnipeg, limited to just 20 games, before retiring. His career totals with Boston in the NHL were 620 games with 48 goals and 206 assists for 254 points, 1,029 penalty minutes and a Stanley Cup. While in the WHA, he played 452 games with 42 goals and 138 assists for 180 points as well as 304 penalty minutes and three AVCO World Trophies in addition to the Memorial Cup he won as a junior back in 1959.

He later became an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers and was part of the staff for their Stanley Cup dynasty of five championships.

Today's featured jersey is a 1971-72 Boston Bruins Ted Green jersey from the season the Bruins won the only Stanley Cup of Green's career. The Bruins reintroduced a black jersey, after wearing either white or gold the previous two seasons, and wore this through the 1973-74 season, which included both of their Stanley Cups in the early 1970's.

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Boston Bruins 1971-72 jersey photo Boston Bruins 1971-72 B jersey.jpg

Today's first video is Green's speech upon being inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Next, Terrible Ted earns another five minutes in the box for this fight with Peter Mahovlich of the Montreal Canadiens.

Finally, a look back at the Bruins 1972 Stanley Cup victory.

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