Cast And Crew: On the bright side, 22-year-old Boston center Dave Creighton scored two goals on the first day of 1953, when the Bruins beat Toronto 5-1 at the Garden, and he was named the game’s first star when it was all over. He’d been stretchered off by then: in the third period, Fern Flaman dragged him down and fell on him, breaking his right fibula near the ankle. Dr. Thomas Kelley plastered it up in the rink and sent him to spend the night at home in Newton. Next day (above) he was in at the Somerville Hospital for an x-ray. That’s teammate Ed Sandford with him, on the left, alongside Dr. Walter Whitaker; Bruins’ goaltender Sugar Jim Henry; and Dr. Kelley.
The game’s other casualty was Toronto captain Teeder Kennedy, 27. He got into a fight in the second period with Boston captain Milt Schmidt, sparking a scene that The Boston Globe described as “the biggest free-for-all in more than two years.” A Donnybrook, a tussle, a melee, the tumult, take your pick. “Schmidt got across a couple of stiff jolts to Kennedy’s face,” The Globe’s Tom Fitzgerald wrote, “and it looked like the officials were going to gain control, when diversions set in.”
Leo Labine was one of those. He went to Schmidt’s aid, and Jimmy Thomson slashed him. Warren Godfrey struggled with Ron Stewart. Schmidt punched Kennedy and “flipped him to the ice,” which his head inevitably hit. The Leafs’ Dr. Hugh Smythe attended Kennedy’s injuries when he regained consciousness, including a fractured right collarbone.
Actually, no: later x-rays showed that it was a complete shoulder separation and torn ligaments. Kennedy, a teetotaller, drank the brandy they gave him at the hospital (“made me woozy,” he told reporters) before flying home next day to Toronto for the surgery that would end his season.
His wife Doreen was there to meet the plane at Malton Airport. Kennedy wore a cast on his shoulder when he debarked, and a slight bump on the head, under his fedora. “It’s the rub of the green,” he told the reporters who were waiting. “There was nothing dirty about it. Schmidt and I were battling, and they tell me I landed heavily on the ice on my shoulder and side of my head. They also told me Milt took one look and called for aid from the Leaf bench. It could have happened to him, instead of me.”
The captain was the third Leafs’ center to go down, joining Max Bentley (lower back strain) and Rudy Migay (torn knee ligaments) on the sidelines. “This is the first such injury I’ve had in hockey,” Kennedy said, “and also the first liquor I’ve had. I don’t think much of either.”
(Photo: William Meikle)