It’s Fleet Week in NYC, and I have to tell you a story about that. I used to buy tickets to all the Rangers’ playoff series because I had so many friends who always asked me for them. You had to buy strips of tickets for all possible series.
So this one year, the Rangers played the Flyers, lost the first two in Philly, came home and lost Game 3 at MSG. Now nobody wanted the tickets. Nobody.
Before Game 4, I was outside the Garden trying to sell them. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon during Fleet Week, so the city was crawling with sailors. I didn’t want to get into any trouble scalping, but a bunch of Navy guys in uniform had approached me about my tickets, so I asked a NYPD officer if it was OK if I sold my tickets for face value. He said I probably shouldn’t, but when I told him I was stuck with them, and that these sailors wanted to go to the game, he said, “OK.”
The only problem was the sailors didn’t have enough cash. So the cop agreed to walk us to a nearby ATM. So here I am crossing 33rd Street and Broadway with two sailors and a cop, thinking, “My God, I’m in the Village People.”
Some sad news yesterday. Clint Smith, the last member of the 1940 Rangers Stanley Cup team, died at age 95. I remember so clearly when he came to the Garden a few times, including the 75th anniversary season, and how guys like Messier, Graves, Leetch and Richter (the usuals) treated him with such respect.
Here is the AP’s story
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Hall of Fame player Clint Smith, a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy while with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers, has died. He was 95.
Smith died Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks announced Thursday. He played 11 years in the NHL with New York (1936-43) and Chicago (1943-47) and was the lone surviving member of the Rangers’ Stanley Cup-winning team in 1940. Teammate Alf Pike died in March.
Smith was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound center won the Lady Byng Trophy in 1939 and 1944, an award given for skill and gentlemanly play. He had only 24 penalty minutes in 483 regular-season games. Smith had a four-season stretch in which he wasn’t called for a penalty.
In the 1943-44 season, Smith set an NHL record with 49 assists while playing on a line with future Hall of Famers Bill Mosienko and Doug Bentley. The trio set a league scoring record by producing 219 total points.
Smith also shares the NHL record for most goals in a period with four, set on March 4, 1945, against Montreal. He played his early hockey in Saskatchewan before moving to Vancouver in 1933 to play for the Vancouver Lions of the North West Hockey League. He led the league with 25 goals in his rookie season.
Following his NHL career, Smith played with the Tulsa Oilers of the USHL and was chosen as the league’s most valuable player in 1948. He was a player-coach for the St. Paul Saints of the USHL and a full-time coach with the Cincinnati Mohawks of the American Hockey League in 1952.
Smith returned to Vancouver in 1953 to play old-timers hockey.He was founding member of the British Columbia Hockey Benevolent Association, also known as the Canucks Alumni. He held various positions within the organization, including president.
Smith also retained ties to the Rangers organization throughout his life and took part in the team’s 75th anniversary celebration nine years ago at Madison Square Garden.
Funeral plans were not immediately announced.
Another sad note yesterday. Wayne Allwine died at age 62. He was the voice of Mickey Mouse.