JAMES C. HENDY
AS THE 1938-39 hockey season fades in the distance, fans from Halifax to Victoria are engaged in one of their
favorite pastimes—selecting all-star teams. This is possibly the one sure way in which anyone can be perfectly certain of becoming involved in a long and sometimes bitter dispute.
Every fan, man or woman, boy or girl, has his or her favorites, and even though they may have gained their knowledge of the relative ability of the players through the sports section of the daily paper, or over the radio, they will go to the mat with you if you venture an opinion.
Not being desirous of taking on its thousands of readers in combat, Maclean s editors leave the selection of their team up to the seven pilots of the National Hockey League clubs, so that if anyone reading this takes exception, he will have to address a letter to the joint managers, which we shall be happy to forward.
Each manager selects two full teams plus a third line, a utility player, and the man whom he considers the outstanding rookie of the season. The votes are tabulated, and the consensus of opinion is used as Maclean's all-star team. Perhaps you can pick a squad to beat it. We wouldn’t try.
This year’s teams present eleven new faces. Some of them are youngsters who have come up during the j>ast season or two. Several are veterans who have been battling in the hockey wars for the past decade and now, at an age when many players are beginning to fade, are playing their best hockey.
Goal-tending honors were taken this season by Earl Robertson, agile guardian of the cords for the New York Americans. Robbie displaced “Tiny” Thompson, who had won top ranking in three out of the past four seasons.
Thompson had to be content this season with a place on the second team, and he had to share this sjx>t with young Frankie Brimsek, the sensational United-States-born youngster who came up to the big show after only one season in the minors, to displace one of the greatest goalies of all time in the Boston cage.
Shore Still Tops
nPHE defensemen were headed by the one and
only Eddie Shore, who |*>lled seventeen points, to lead Art Coulter of the Rangers by seven points and Earl Seibert of Chicago and his team mate. Dit Clapper. Boston, by eight and nine points respectively. “Babe” Siebert, Montreal Canadiens’ stalwart, missed by a single point, after having been on top for the past few seasons.
Syl Apps, the Toronto Maple loafs’ work horse, who skyrocketed to fame when he jumped from the amateur ranks to the majors in the fall of 1936, continued to lead all the centres by a wide margin, and retained his position as pivot by polling twenty out of a possible twenty-one points. Team mate Gordie Drillon tied Apps in the matter of points and is back on right wing, while “Toe” Blake of Canadiens moves up from last season’s second team to this year’s starting line.
The second line is composed of Neil Colville, Rangers, Bobby Bauer, Boston, and Alex Shibicky, also of the New York sextet. All are newcomers to all-star ranks, but in the opinion of the managers they are up to stay for several seasons.
The National Hockey League All-Star team for 1938-39 was selected for Maclean's by the following committee:
Arthur Ross, Manager, Boston Bruins Conn Smythe, Manager, Toronto Maple Leafs Lester Patrick, Manager, New York Rangers Jack Adams, Manager, Detroit Red Wings Red Dutton, Manager, New York Americans Paul Thompson, Manager, Chicago Black Hawks Jules Dugal, Manager, Montreal Canadiens
To the seven N.H.L. team managers Maclean's extends sincere thanks for their co-operation.
Our third line—and if hockey continues to speed up play, we may soon see some teams with four complete lines—is as strong as usual. The competition was particularly keen for positions on the third trio, and after placing Milt Schmidt, Boston pivot of the famous “sauerkraut line,” the pilots couldn’t decide between Bryan Hextall and Mac Colville for right wing, and Tommie Anderson and Johnny Gottselig for the port-side spot.
For their utility man, the leaders selected “Flash” Hollett, colorful Boston Bruin, who is equally at home on the defense or forward line.
This season’s crop of rookies has been so brilliant that one veteran suggested it might not be a bad idea to “plow a few under.” The man whom three of the managers seemed to like best, though, was Frank Brimsek, Bruin goalie; with Roy Conacher, Boston left wing and third of the famous Conacher clan to make a name for himself in the National League, and Gus Giesebrecht, Detroit centre, splitting the other four votes.
A New Goalie
rT'HE average fan who attends a few games a season, or Jthe hockey follower who gains his knowledge through what he hears or reads, might wonder why Robertson has been placed on top by the managers. They only see the large number of goals scored against the Americans this season. But the close observersand the pilots’ bread and butter depends upon just how close they pay attention to what transpires on the ice—look deeper than the figures. They know that Robbie has had practically no defensive support this season. They realize that during a game he is called upon to make many stops which might go for goals against other net minders, and we don’t think they made any mistake in selecting the Bengough, Sask., veteran.
It was away back in the fall of 1928 that Robertson went to Victoria, B.C., for his first fling at professional hockey. After a season and a half there, the Victoria arena burned down and Robbie finished the season in the California League. Players who knew him then say he was just as good at that time, but it is almost impossible for a goal tender to break into the majors, and Robbie had to be content to wander from the California circuit back to the Prairies, where he played with Duke Keats’ Edmonton club. Then came a fling in the International League, and it was while in this circuit, three seasons ago. that a chance came for him to go into the nets for the Detroit Red Wings during the Stanley Cup finals. The rest is history. Robbie proved that he was major-league timber and the Americans purchased him for the 1937-38 season.
Possibly no one is better qualified to express an opinion on a goalie than Neis Stewart. The veteran centre, having scored more goals than any other player, thinks that if Robertson had the Boston or Ranger team in front of him, the opposing team would never score. This may also give you an idea of just what a strong defense means to even the greatest net guardians in the game.
Our defense couldn’t very well be improved upon. Eddie Shore, who seems to improve with age from a defensive standpoint, has shone even on a team which can produce such guards as Clapper, Portland, Crawford and Hollett. Brimsek calls him his assistant goalkeeper, and in one game Eddie was credited with getting in the w-ay of as many shots as both goalies combined ! Although he doesn’t rush nearly as frequently as he did a few years ago, he is still
Continued on page 50
Hockey’s All-Stars 1938-39
As picked by team managers of the N.H.L.
E. Robertson (Americans) E. Shore (Boston)
A. Coulter (Rangers)
S. Apps (Toronto)
G. Drillon (Toronto)
H. Blake (Canadiens)
Position Goal Defense Defense Centre R. W. L. W.
Continued from page 12
one of the most feared men in hockey once he starts for the other end of the ice with the puck at the end of his stick.
Shore’s running mate on the all-star team is Art Coulter, captain of the New York Rangers and the man to whom the Blue Shirts look so frequently for support. A strong blocker and a dangerous rusher, Coulter is one of the most aggressive men in the game and at the same time one of the cleanest players. His absence in the Blue Shirt line-up usually means more to the rest of the club than any other two men, or at least so his team mates claim.
'"PHERE are many who claim that Syl k Apps is without doubt the hardest working player in hockey. Other players think that Apps would be tops with any line, and that any player who happens to he on his wings cannot help but shine. This big fellow never seems to tire. Up and down, up and down, he moves, making plays and breaking them up with equal skill. Although a deadly sniper himself, he is also without a peer as a playmaker, and when the rest seem to be tiring, that is the time he seems able to get that extra “kick” into his play which makes him stand out.
Apps has as his wings, team mate Gordie Drillon and Hector “Toe” Blake, pride of the Montreal Canadiens. Drillon, after being out for a number of games through in juries, has been moving along in his oldtime form, and the way he picked up and passed rival sharpshooters in the run down to the wire was reminiscent of a great race horse running over a field of platers. 1 )rillon has his critics who claim he doesn't backcheck sufficiently, and without Apps he might not shine so brightly. The answer to that criticism is that he scores goals, and when a pass comes to him he knows what to do with it. If you will watch him closely you will find that not many of his “checks” are breaking away on any scoring sprees.
Blake was one of the few bright spots during the regular season for the wearers of the bleu-blanc-rouge. He is a steady reliable worker who on occasion really gets rolling, and when he does there isn't much the opposing goalie can do about it except turn around and pick the rubber out of the twine.
Robertson, Shore and Coulter on the defense; Apps, Drillon and Blake on the forward line. What a combination of age, shrewdness and experience, plus the fire and dash of youth! The defense roughly averages 31 years, against twenty-four for the forward line. It would be pretty hard to beat such a combination.
Strong Second Team
OUR second team would be a match for the starting outfit, and might give it many a shellacking.
With Tiny Thompson and Frank Brim-
sek to share the net-minding job, and with Earl “Si” Seibert, fastest breaking defenseman in the game, teamed up with Dit Clapper on the defense, it would be a very difficult task for any team to score many goals.
Thompson's name will be remembered in hockey as long as the game is played. For years he has been the standout goalie, and after more than ten years service in the cage his presence on the team is a further tribute to his ability.
By a strange coincidence, the player who shares goal-tending honors with him on the second team is the player who succeeded him in the Boston nets. Frank Brimsek graduated from the same high school as Mike Karakas, Chicago goalie. After a year at St. Cloud Teachers College in Minnesota, he moved to Pittsburgh, where he played amateur hockey for two seasons in the Eastern Amateur League. Last season when Art Ross. Boston manager, was looking around for a youngster of promise to put in the Providence Reds’ cage. Herb Mitchell, former Bruin and well-known minor league manager, was so strong in his praise of Brimsek that Ross signed him without having seen him in action.
Brimsek more than lived up to the reputation which he had built up in amateur ranks, and this season Ross decided to give him a trial when injuries forced Thompson to miss the opening games of the season. It took Ross only a couple of games to discover that he had a player available who even then was almost the equal of Thompson and lacked only experience. When Detroit went seeking a capable replacement lor Normie Smith and made Boston an offer for Thompson, Ross was quick in taking it, even though he disliked parting with Tiny. For a while the fans “rode” Brimsek, but the little Czech stood up well and in a few games had them “pulling” for him almost as strongly as they had for Thompson.
Earl Seibert has been the most consistent of all players. Where Shore and Thompson have failed to land a spot on the all-stars during a particular season, Seibert has always been on the team. In 1933-34 Earl was on his first team, and this makes the fifth successive season that the big Kitchener hoy has been on the second all-star team. When Seibert pounces on the rubber in his own defense zone and starts up the ice, he is one of the hardest men in the game to stop, and usually the player who gets in his way is nursing a bruise for the rest of the game. Although he has been playing hockey for many years he is only twenty-seven, and should have many more good seasons ahead of him.
Dit Clapper, like Babe Siebert, who has been on several of Maclean s teams, was formerly a forward. In fact, in the opinion of Red Dutton, he is one of the three greatest right-wingers the Americans’ manager ever saw. Red places Clapper in the same ranking with Bill Cook and Chuck Conacher, and it is particularly pleasing to his thousands of admirers to see the big fellow doing an even better job on the back line.
The second line is composed of three of the hardest-working forwards in the game. Neil Colville, the silver-thatched Edmonton youngster, is a truly great hockey player who has yet to reach his peak. The same can be said for Bobby Bauer of the Bruins and Alex Shibicky of the Rangers, who have been placed on his right and left flank on this mythical team.
A grand general on the ice. Colville is also tops as a back-checker and can deal out a body check which has few equals in hockey. Bauer is one of the three Kitchener youngsters Art Ross came up with last season. Speedy and a clever stick-handler, Bauer has come to the fore with a rush, and as he is only twenty-three should be on top for a long time.
Alex Shibicky is not only Colville’s port wing on the all-star team but also on the Rangers, and the Winnipeg boy has an excellent chance to lead the league in his
specialty scoring goals—this season. Shibicky isn't the play-making type, but he attends to his duties on left wing, and when he once gets in scoring position there are few goalers who can beat him. Shibicky is another one of Lester Patrick's "wrongside" wingers. Patrick seems to take particular delight in taking a left-handed shot and making a right wing out of him. He did it with Cecil Dillon and also with Bryan I lextall. In Shibicky’s case he reversed the procedure by making Alex, who gets away his shots from the right side, a left-winger.
The Third Line
A MAJOR-LEAGUE hockey team is as strong as its third line, and nowadays a team doesn’t get very far without three equally balanced lines. All the top teams will be found to have trios which are almost equally effective, and therefore, in having the managers select its all-star team, Maclean's uses a third line.
Thç pilots couldn’t seem to make up their minds this season. They were pretty much agreed on Milt Schmidt, who, incidentally, is Kitchener’s third contribution to this year’s all-star team, for centre, but they differed greatly in their choice of wings. The final tabulation showed Tommie Anderson of the Americans and Johnny Gottselig of Chicago tied for left wing, and Mac Colville and Bryan Hextall of the Rangers deadlocked for the starboard job. We are going to let you decide which ones you prefer, but no matter which one may be your choice, you can’t be wrong.
Schmidt is another of those big kids Ross likes to see cavorting around the ice. He is shifty, brainy and a clever playmaker. Gottselig. Regina-born left wing, has long been famous as one of the finest stick-handlers in hockey. There aren’t many things Johnny can’t do with the rubber once it's on the end of his stick, and he is one of the most valuable men in the league when his club is shorthanded. Anderson is a hockey player’s hockey player. This sturdy ex-cowpuncher, although born in Scotland, was brought up in the Alberta foothills. He is one of the most selfless players in the game and frequently sacrifices scoring chances of his own to cover up team mates through his superb back-checking. Ihisseason Iommie has been really "hot.” and is not only breaking up as many plays as in the past but has been getting more than his share of ixnnts. Neis Stewart, who pivots the line on which Anderson plays, thinks he is the best left-winger he has ever played alongside.
Hextall and Mac Colville, the latter the younger brother of Neil, both hold down right-wing berths with the Rangers. Hextall is one of the game’s best goal scorers. Like Shibicky. his specialty is scoring goals, and he lias a shot which keeps rival goalies on their toes whenever he is on the ice. Mac is a useful two-way player who loves the heavy going. Not as big as brother Neil, he nevertheless welcomes a scrap, and he seems particularly pleased if his opponent towers over him.
A utility man is a necessity on a modern hockey club. Sometimes such a player works in regularly with the team. At other times he is held in reserve, but with every dub having one or more players on the injured list practically throughout the season, he can usually be found getting more than his share of work. F lasli Hollett, whose fame on the lacrosse field is almost as great as his hockey reputation, is an ideal man for such a position. Although used fairly regularly on Boston’s defense, he has spent a good part of the season on the forward line.
Brimsek, on his showing in goal, is undoubtedly entitled to the honor of being the season’s outstanding rookie, but he had a battle on his hands to beat out Roy Conacher and Gus Giesebrecht.
So that brings us to the end of the 193839 all-stars. Some may think it possible to select stronger combinations, but we are satisfied to go along with the judgment of
the seven men who handle the reins of the The complete team and those receiving top teams in the hockey world. honorable mention follow:
FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
Player and Team Points Position Player and Team Points
E. Robertson, Americans........17*
E. Shore, Boston...............17
A. Coulter, Rangers............10
S. Apps, Toronto..............20
G. Dr ilion, Toronto............20
H. Blake, Canadiens...........16
Goal C. Thompson and F. Brimsek
Detroit — Boston........8
Defense E. Seibert, Chicago............ 9
Defense A. Clapper, Boston............ 8
Centre N. Colville, Rangers...........10
R.W. R. Bauer, Boston..............11
L.W. A. Shibicky, Rangers..........10
Third line: M. Schmidt, Boston (8) Centre; B. Hextall, Rangers. M. Colville. Rangers (3) Right Wing; T. Anderson, Americans, J. Gottselig, Chicago (7) Left Wing.
Utility: W. “Flash” Hollett, Boston (6).
Outstanding Rookie: F. Brimsek, Boston.
Goal Tenders: D. Kerr, Rangers.
Defensemen: A. C. Siebert, Canadiens; J. Portland, Boston; J. Crawford, Boston; W. Buswell, Canadiens; A. Wiebe, Chicago; E. Heller, Rangers; E. Goodfellpw, Detroit.
Centres: N. Stewart, Americans; W. Cowley, Boston; C. Smith, Rangers; J. Gottselig, Chicago.
Right Wings: L. Carr, Americans; J. Gagnon, Canadiens; A. Shibicky, Rangers;
W. Dumart, Boston.
Left Wings; W. Dumart. Boston; P. Thompson, Chicago; M. Schmidt, Boston.
Utility: D. Schriner, Americans; M. Barry, Detroit; S. Howe, Detroit; R. Davidson, Toronto; N. Stewart, Americans.
Outstanding Rookie: R. Conacher, Boston; G. Giesebrecht, Detroit.
* Points are awarded on the following basis; Three for a first-team vote; two for a second-team vote; one for a third-team vote. Twenty-one points represents a perfect score.