Saturday, May 23, 2009

Clint Smith - Oldest Living Ranger - passes away at age 95

Before the 1994 was 1940.

It was 69 years ago when the Rangers won their second-to-last Stanley Cup. It was decades before I was born - and long before Nugman's parents were born. It was more than 25 years before Jean Ratelle and the GAG line. It was before World War II for goodness sake.

This last week - the last living member of that 1940 Stanley Cup winning New York Ranger team passed away. He was Clint Smith. He was a NHL Hall Of Fame Player. He was 95 years old.

Smith played 11 years in the NHL and was with the Rangers from 1936 to 1943. He won the Byng trophy twice, in 1939 as a Ranger, and again in 1944 for the Chicago Blackhawks, where he finished his playing career. Here are his career stats:

Goals: 161 + Assists: 236 = 397 points in in 483 regular season NHL games.

Penalties in minutes: 24 (that's right just 24 minutes in penalties in 483 games)

Clint set what was at the time the record for most assists in a season with 49 (in 1944). He also is one of several players tied for the lead with 4 goals in a single period.

After his playing career ended, Smith coached in the USHL and the AHL. He was inducted in the NHL Hall Of Fame back in 1991.
Below is a close up of the 1940 Rangers' names inscribed in the Stanley cup. Clinton Smith's is the second name in the third line from the bottom.

There is one special distinction that Clint Smith will hold forever. Clint was playing when the idea of pulling your goalie first began. And, as it turns out, Smith holds the amazing honor of scoring the NHL's first-ever empty net goal. So, every time you see an empty netter sound the buzzer - remember that the shooter is just following in Clint Smith's skate-tracks - and raise your glass for a world champion Ranger for the ages.

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