Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bruins Sweaters of the Past #9: Bob Schmautz

BOSTON BRUINS (1974-75-1979-80)
Born: March 28, 1945 in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan
Games Played: 354 Goals: 134 Assists: 161 Points: 295 PIM: 444

Bob Schmautz was a hard-driving, fast-skating, sharp-shooting left winger for the Bruins whose hard luck injuries prevented him from ever reaching the 30- or 40-goal plateau while wearing the black and gold, though he could have reached those totals in several seasons had he not missed more than 90 games in his four full seasons in Boston with a variety of injuries to both knees, his right heel (broken when he crashed into the boards skates-first), shoulder and back.

Schmautz starred for his hometown Saskatoon Blades in major junior before becoming property of the Chicago Blackhawks. Exposed in the 1967 Expansion Draft after being a role player in Chicago, he was picked up by St. Louis, eventually traded to Montreal (for whom he never played) and then sold to the Vancouver Canucks, where he enjoyed his only 30-goal campaign, lighting the lamp 38 times in 1972-73 for the dreadful Canucks.

He was acquired by Harry Sinden and the Bruins the following season for rookie Chris Oddleifson (who was sold high after a four-goal performance against the California Golden Seals) and Fred O'Donnell.

Schmautz soon became a character guy for those Big, Bad Bruins teams under Don Cherry who came close, but never could close out a Stanley Cup championship. Schmautz played the most games of his Bruins tenure in 1975-76, appearing in 75 of 80 contests and scoring 28 goals and 62 points. His best year was marred by injuries when he scored 27 markers in just 54 contests, missing 26 games and preventing him from possibly reaching the 40+ goal plateau.

A clutch scorer, Schmautz scored 26 goals in 70 playoff games for the Bruins, tallying in overtime against Montreal in 1978, a memorable goal at the Boston Garden.

He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers during the 1979-80 season for prospect Dan Newman (who never played for Boston). Schmautz was actually traded twice that year, starting the season in Boston and ending it with the moribund Colorado Rockies (coached by Cherry). The following year, he closed out his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring 27 goals before retiring at age 36 in 1981.

This sweater was worn by Schmautz in 1976-77, when he posted his best year in Boston. It is made by Champion, who produced a few of the sweaters worn by the Bruins that year, while many were recycled Wilson durene models from the 1975-76 season, when the B's wore the Massachusetts Bicentennial Patch. The Bruins bear head patches were worn for the first time in 1976-77.

The particular sweater is hammered- with multiple repairs, holes, red board paint and various pulls. The nameplate is not original- restored using a darker, newer shade of mesh material that doesn't match the worn and faded black mesh on the sweater body. It is a size 44, owing to the fact that Schmautz was listed at only 5-9 and 155 pounds when he played. Most NHL players today wear size 58 or 60. Even Al Secord, who was considered one of the "bigger" and "badder" Bruins of the same era wore a size 52. After the 1977 season, the Bruins wore mesh sweaters manufactured by Stall & Dean until 1981, when they switched to Champion and Sandow SK models.

Still, this sweater is a rare throwback to the 1970's and was likely worn from the beginning of that year through the end by Schmautz.

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