Big Bad Bruins vs Broad Street Bullies
I have been reading a lot of books lately, (Probert, Sanderson, Melrose, Schultz, Cherry, etc etc). And I absolutely love all these stories first hand.
What do you guys think? Who was actually, if you could crown, the toughest/scariest team in hockey to play against?
Here is a quote from Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff, page, 33.
Sorry if this had been posted/done before, but I'd really like to hear what your guys opinions are of the two toughest teams in history.
The famous documentaries...
The Broad Street Bullies
The Big Bad Bruins
The original BB Bruins were more of a gang up on a guy team and anytime their guy was losing the fight, 3-4 Bruins would come jumping into the fight and a guy like McKenzie would start to sucker guys!
The 3rd man in rule implemented in 1971 was because of the Bruins gang tactics! Overall they were not great fighters!
I'll acknowledge Cashman who was a lefty and got the jump on guys and Orr who was very strong and could throw a mean right. Ted Green was also a lefty but he was injured right before I began watching hockey in 1970 and I never saw the fighting Ted Green and can't give direct knowledge of his fighting!
Hodge was a mauler, Carlton was big but not a fighter, Bailey was ok, Sanderson was ok, Awrey was overrated, and McKenzie was a bullsh*t cheapshot artist!
The later Bruins under Cherry had much better fighters and were really tough especially in small Boston Garden!
The Schultz Flyers could really intimidate and the rules were such that they got away with murder. Schultz, Kelly, Kindrachuk and MacLeish were good fighters, Dupont was dirty, Clarke was dirty, Dornhoefer was dirty, Van Impe was dirty, Barber was dirty, and Saleski fit the McKenzie mode of cheapshot but crappy fighter! I would also mention that Ross Lonsberry was underrated and should be mentioned! The Flyers intimidated on volume and also gangland tactics and gutless officials!
Holmgren was big and a nasty player who hit hard and was crazy, Wilson was big and a nasty player and crazy and both these guys were probably better fighters than the earlier Flyers but the league was beginning to slowly change against the Flyers and they hurt themselves with all kinds of stupid penalties! Hoyda could also fight when he played as could Bridgman but with all these fighters the 1979 Rangers with just one fighter on their roster in Nick Fotiu destroyed the Flyers in five games outscoring them by a 28-8 score!
The 1979 Flyers were probably better fighters than the 1974 and 1975 Flyers but I predict that the Schultz led Flyers would of really gooned it up against the Rangers in 1979 knowing that Fotiu was all by himself!
The irony is the 1979 Flyers had better fighters but the 1974 and 1975 Flyers stuck together better and really knew how to goon it up!
Great Thread Cat Smasher!
There were alot of great teams from a lot of different eras in the NHL.
But if you want Historical Impact Franchises these were probably the two best. Plenty of tough guys, great fighters and a gang warfare mentality.
The other tradition they both shared was winning!!!
It shows what intimidation and grit gets you and unfortunately in today's hockey that has been forgotten.
If your matching these two teams against each other, you would have to look at several different eras.
The Bruins of the late sixties and early seventies were the reason why there was an adoption of the third man in rule. If you fought a Bruin and you were winning, you could be sure another Bruin would be interfering in your fight.
The Flyers, lead by Dave Schultz in the early to mid-seventies were the ultimate bullies, thriving on intimidation of not only players but the referees as well.
With the rule changes and new eras came bigger, tougher and better fighters from the late seventies on up.
The Bruins had the O'Reilly, Jonathan, Wensink, Secord, Cashman teams and about a decade latter, the Jay Miller, Lyndon Byers, Cam Neely, Gord Kluzak, Willi Plett teams.
All the while the Flyers were packing the Holmgren, Bridgman, Hoyda, Wilson, Jack McIlargey teams and later Dave Brown, Craig Berube, Rick Tocchet, Darryl Stanley, Scott Melanby teams.
My question would be which era or are we looking at the overall pie in the NHL?
I think Schmautz took over the Mckenzie role after Mckenzie jumped to the WHA. Cashman was regarded as one of the top fighters in the league and the bruins were really big and strong on their top 2 lines with Hodge, Espo and Bucyk. Not fighters but really big power forwards for their day. Vadnais could take care of himself. O'Reilly was coming on and would make himself into a top fighter and player. Looking back at the entirety of his career, he'd be the Bruin I really admire most.
Of course, later on they added fighting from Secord, Wensink, Jonathan. They swapped out Andre Savard for Pete McNab who was another big body who could play.
The Flyers were team tough. I've written about Schultz and his role, but basically the team went like this . . . nobody touches Clarke or the whole team would come after you. Their bench was their enforcer. Schultz was the instigator, Kelly and Dupont could take care of themselves, Saleski really couldn't, Bladon had good size and could fight. Later in the 70s, Schultz was moved out, they added some other guys, Holmgren and McIlharghy who could play, Harv Bennett and Hoyda not so much.
Two marquee franchises built of size and toughness, great to watch head to head. The rivalry between the two has picked up with the 0-3 comeback by the Flyers and then the bruins sweep the next year. The current Bruins are much more like the 70s version than the Flyers are. It's not a development I'm happy about.
Started watching the Bruins in 79-80. A lot of those Bruins teams were built and suited for the smaller Boston Garden ice surface. Lunch pail, dump and chase hockey. My favorite Bruins team was always the O'Reilly coached teams. I remember seeing an interview where Craig Berube sad he was nervous when he first played at the Garden.
Overall, and my bias may show but I am partial to the Bruins with: Taz, Jonathan, Wensink and the Flyers with: Jack Mac, Wilson, Holmgren, Bridgeman, Hoyda ---just me---------------
Im gonna have to go back and read some of the stuff you've written on Schultz etc.
That Broad Street Bullies doc they have on HBO Showtime is awesome!
Hypes me up, ive always been a big Flyers fan though.
Have you ever seen The Big Bad Bruins documentary that NESN put out?
I think it's called Bobby Orr and The Big Bad Bruins, think you'd like it.
I'll get to this tomorrow, this is great stuff, great thread Cat Smasher.
A right winger, who was small, dirty, and productive! Schmautz had really bad knees and when healthy was a really good player! He was one sick SOB with that stick like Vadnais was and VanImpe was!
Pretty unknowledgable reply compare to some of you guys but cherry's BBB probably beat out the broad street bullies in individual match ups and man to man but in an all out brawl I favor the flyers they're mob mentality and crazy tactics and dirtiness wins out
I've also written about all the players that Boston had in their farm system that were lost in the 1967 and on expansion drafts as well as the WHA and trades from so much talent!
The Bruins and Rangers had sick talent it was so deep and vast!
Just a few quick examples and I'm not including the WHA losses:
Those are just some of the guys that come to mind from Boston
Just a few players that come to mind!
I know MacLeish was involved in a 3 way deal . . . he went to Philly, Parent went to TO and the Bruins ended up with Mike Walton, who eventually jumped. Leach and I think Boldirev went to the Seals in the Vadnais deal, so some value did get moved around.
The Bruins got hard up for goaltending after Cheevers jumped, so they had to deal Fred Stanfield for Gilbert and inexplicably gave away Don Awrey and still made the finals in 73-74.
It was that monster Espo/Ratelle/Park deal that really brought an end to the classic BB Bruins with Orr being about finished at roughly the same time. I think Orr and Park played together only 10 games. That deal and the Gretzky to LA trade were the biggest shocks I can ever remember in the game. Earth shattering deals really.
Depending on which era you are talking about can mean a lot of different things. I don't even care to discuss the cup winning Bruins and their 3 on 1 mentality, they were just tough because they had 2 or 3 guys against 1 with Cashman being the only 1 who could hold his own by himself.
The later 70's Bruins were much easier to admire for me with Wensink, Jonathan, O'Reilly, etc. Sorry, I never admired Al Secord, he was a jerk off in my opinion. lol
I've always admired the Broad Street Bullies for what they did for the game. Snyder basically said that his team got pushed around too much and he was NEVER going to let that happen again and it started a streak of having a top 5fighter every single year up until Brashear left. It started with Schultz and then came Wilson, Cochrane, Brown, Berube, Kordic, Brashear, and so many upper echelon guys like Hoyda, Bridgman, Holmgren, Tocchet, Lindros, McCarthy, etc etc etc.
The Bruins also saw to it that they would be a tough team, at least for a while but went through a long stretch in the 80's and early 90's with little or nothing in the toughness department.
In head to head comparisons, I think the late 70's, early 80's Flyers were the toughest teams in NHL history. Sometimes with a gang mentality, they were active in bench clearing brawls but they could certainly hold their own in 1 on 1 fights with Behn Wilson leading the way, the guy was just a tank and they also had Holmgren, Bridgman, Cochrane, i mean it had to be awfully scary to have to go to the Spectrum for a lot of teams.
Similarly, Don Cherry's Bruins lacked for nothing in the toughness department and these 2 teams went tooth and nail when they'd meet but I really do think the Flyers got the best of it and were the better team usually, I don't know what the head to head record is for fighting or games won/lost but there is no doubt that this was a fiercesome rivalry and made for some of the most entertaining hockey us fans have ever seen and I love to go back and watch it.
I am much more a Flyer fan than Bruin fan, always have been, but my respect for Don Cherry's Bruins is not in doubt, you gotta love a team and a coach like that, it's a shame he didn't last longer in the league but he worked for a tool of an owner, what can you do?
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