Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by crobro, Apr 7, 2011.
did anyone see him play after 7 years removed from the game.did he contribute.
20 games 0 goals 5 assists
he was 41 years old and from what I remember his "comeback" didn't sit well with members of the Leafs
One thing I remember about that time was reading that some of the Leaf players thought that Brewer had been planted by Punch Imlach to spy on them. Such was the state of paranoia around the Leafs in those days.
The early '80s Ballard tried to recapture the Leafs '60s magic. Traded away most of his players from a good '70s teams, Bought back Punch Imlach and a few other cronies like Brewer. Brewer wasn't the player he was 2 decades earlier. Bad idea Harold!
I remember Jim Korn having that label as well....I am pretty sure Harold Ballard always had at least one "rat" in the dressing room during his tenure.
From the book The Power Of Two:
"The players were openly hostile to Carl. Borje Salming, his defence partner, refused to pass the puck to him. On one occasion in practice he was cut in a nasty collision with a goalpost after some of the players pushed him. The gash to his head required the work of a plastic surgeon......According to Brewer, on several occasions Floyd Smith told him that he couldn't play him 'now' because 'those guys won't even talk to you, let alone pass you the puck; they won't come back when you're on the ice either'"
The "spy" accusations seem somewhat ridiculous considering how much Brewer has done for player rights. He's one of the last people you would expect to be sucking up to Imlach.
But regardless, it's absolutely pathetic that the other players couldn't be professionals and leave any personal feelings aside when they were on the ice. What a screwed-up organization the Leafs were back then.
Punch Imlach's comeback did much more harm to the team than Carl Brewer's.
It was funny to see a bald guy playing as back then bald was a symbol of being old, not cool like it is today.
No kidding. Farcical. To think for even one minute that Brewer was Imlach's eyes & ears is to completely ignore his history with the club. Just pathetic.
Is there a picture of this somewhere?
There are people on these boards who have suggested (and I mean people with knowledge of hockey history) that Brewer's trouble-making with wanting a union and such is the reason he is omitted from the HHOF to this day.
Brewer was far from a "yes" man. The last you would expect.
pretty much this
Yeah, the more I read and learn about him as a player, and person, the greater I think his exclusion from the Hall is actually an outrage.
It's a little hard to hear Salming ostracized him as well, considering Salming had similar unwarranted treatment in his own direction... I think these guys lived in a bubble back then and earlier, and were just easier to manipulate. I'm always disappointed in Howe's actions against Lindsay in the 50s and 60s, as I think Howe is nothing if not a good guy, I just honestly think he believed what he was spoonfed by Jack Adams and other old guard NHL guys at the time.
Interesting observations. Having read various accounts of Brewers years with the Leafs in the late 50's through early 60's from various angles. I do know that he wasnt universally liked nor respected as a player due to an incident early in his career when he refused to fight & turtled. He was an agitator, yappy, but highly skilled & a great skater; as a person, quite the oddball.
Quite true he initially earned the enmity of the league in 57 with the Players Union, but it goes well beyond that as most know... He was the one who introduced Eagleson to Baun, Horton et al, forming the Blue & White Investment Club etc, and he felt responsible to a large extent for giving Eagleson his start, allowing him into the inner sanctum if you will, actual guilt, which turned to anger, pursuit & prosecution, though the main thrust of Brewers efforts targeted the NHL & the Pension Fund Scandal as you guys' are all familiar with & likely know more about than I might Im sure.
I think its important to remember that Brewer lead the fight against the league, won, they appealed, lost again. In the late 90's, post Brewers win, the league was back before the courts yet again, this time over the with holding of pension funds from Widows, and yes, no kidding, Orphans of deceased players. These losses & wounds are still relatively fresh in the minds of the league, so Id be surprised if under the current regime, Jacobs, Snider etc that they'd be looking to allow a Brewer induction. Maybe in 5-10yrs, but not just yet.
And then, what Category?. Builder, in terms of cleaning up a league created scam & mess?. Player?. Even amongst his own team mates on the Leafs he wasnt exactly Joe Popular, let alone around the rest of the league, nor was he superbly brilliant enough to warrant inclusion. So what to do what to do?...
Are you suggesting that he might be HHOF worthy as a player or perhaps as a player and his involvement with wanting a union as well?
Well thats just it. Brewer I believe lead either the Leafs or the entire league in penalties for a couple of years; wasnt exactly "committed" to playing during his prime; threatening to quit & go play Football at McMaster or whatever over a hundred bucks he felt he'd been cheated out of on his medical & so on. 1965 he gets into an argument with Johnny Bower in a practice that gets so heated he decides he's had enough of the Leafs, the NHL & hockey. Johnny Bower. The Pilsbury Dough Boy. Who loses their complete thread over Johnny Freakin Bower?. Be a real hard sell to get him in as a Player Im thinkin...
^^^ Great shots, thx 4 posting those.
With blue-and-white glasses (and especially red, blue and white) one could easily argue for that - which is why he's already in the Finnish HHOF. Even as it might seem like only a blip in his career, the influence he had in Finnish hockey (and by extension, the NHL with the influx of Finnish players that only started after his visit) was immense.
Brewer certainly had a direct influence in the development of Finnish players and their careers (like Riihiranta and Hagman) that then became the first players to make the leap over to North American professional hockey. It's easy to argue that this indirectly had an influence on the later generations - Kurri, Tikkanen and SelÃ¤nne grew up knowing that guys from Helsinki - just like them - really can play in North America, while for the earlier generation it was a complete fantasy.
To me, it's easy to see a scenario where Brewer doesn't come over, things take a different route, Finland would be a hockey nation comparable to Denmark or Norway and the NHL would never have heard Tikanese or seen Teemu lifting the cup.. I'd say that's building quite a bit in the NHL context too?
I have to somewhat disagree. The red, blue and white glasses sometimes overrate Brewers contributions to overall Finnish hockey.
In a way Brewer did save the hockey in Helsinki. Hockey was in big slump in there when he arrived. And I guess HIFK owns "royaltys" to Brewer for every ticket sold because he created the biggest brand in Finnish hockey. True he was a factor in building the self confidence of Finnish hockey. And did affect to many players career in positive way. He did seem to care about Finnish hockey. He did bring North-American flavour to our hockey.
But then again hockey was in good shape in different cities. What I have read about Brewer he didnÂ´t seem to be a great tactician. His hockey was pretty simplified. Did he really bring up some new great training methods? If all Finnish hockey would have just followed HIFKÂ´s path we would have been in problems.
Finnish hockey was melting pot of different hockey cultures and I personally believe that it was big factor to our future success. And it sometimes annoys me that Brewers one year get such big hype in this and lot of people who did years of hard work are left almost without credit.
He convinced the Finns to have a unique arena dimension in between the NHL and international standard.the Finnish model is the superior one.
I alluded to it earlier, but my argument mostly rests on mentality, the changing of which has been the story of the last 40 years in Finnish hockey.
Here was an all-star defender from the NHL and the Finns found out that he was only flesh and blood after all and they could keep up with him. Both in HIFK - where they saw it up close - and in other teams that got to play against him, undoubtedly selling a lot of tickets as in the process well.
But yeah, I'm biased and it's a bit OT anyway! Great man, in any case.
I only know of the acrimony between Imlach and the Leafs core group from the history books, but without knowing much about Brewer himself it's a little disappointing to hear that a team's leadership group would treat any teammate so poorly and unprofessionally. We've seen a lot of washed up slugs land on the Leafs over the past 20 years, but I have a hard time imagining any of them getting ostracized.
Maybe there was some justification in the end, but I can't help but think this looks really bad on guys like Sittler, McDonald,and the rest of the team that was dismantled in the early 80s. Is that a reasonable line of thinking?
There was a sort of group~think river of paranoia & fear running through that dressing room, entire organization under Ballard since the late 60's early 70's that hit its zenith, its peak in 79/80/81. Stockholm Syndrome.... and into that maelstrom comes Punch Imlach... amping things up even further.. disparaging comments made to the press about various players & the teams lack of leadership & character... demanding Sittler waive his no-trade clause... clearly on a mission to dismantle the team which rather than needing a complete dismantling merely required some upgrades beyond the core... that Brewer was Imlachs inside man, a plant, a spy....
Beyond ironically, the exact same thing Carl Brewer accused Bert Olmstead of being 20yrs earlier when he was acquired from the Habs. Olmstead as well treated like a Pariah by Brewer & others on the Leafs who couldnt stand Imlach; Olmstead appointed Assistant Coach (which he later begged off of). Bert Olmstead in many ways, from work ethic to knowing what it took to win Cups pointing the way coming from Montreal as he did though rather than receiving respect, let alone gratitude after the Leafs had won their 1st of 4 Cups in the 60's all he earned from Carl Brewer was contempt. Old school neanderthal. That he was Imlachs buddy & therefore his spy. Imlachs eyes & ears in the dressing room, inside-man.... the exact same things he himself found himself being looked upon as and accused of 20yrs later. When such seeds are planted within a dressing room they spread like wildfire. Seriously damaging. Unlike Montreal, Toronto did not age gracefully into the 70's. Everything dismantled, sold-off. You can trace the impact this had on the players & the resultant culture back to the arrival of Olmstead.
This disease, the rot took early post Conn Smythes exit within the culture of the Leafs franchise under Imlach, often said the team won those Cups not because of Punch Imlach but despite him. That what eventuated 20yrs later with his return a long train coming and entirely predictable. Complete & utter systemic dysfunction that echo's to this very day. Ballard, a malignant narcissist who couldnt be trusted to do the right thing or even to tell the truth about anything & get real further fanning the flames of discontent & revolt. 79/80, dropped into all of this the intellectual~eccentric~quixotic Carl Brewer. And while Sittler & his team mates did indeed react badly, unprofessionally, within the context of the times it is in fact understandable. No one who dealt with Ballard be it contract time or whatever really got away unscathed. Like Imlach, at times despicably mean spirited, viscous & beyond parsimonious. You have to deal with people like that day in day out, year after year after year, gonna take its toll, bough will break.... personally, I cut Sittler & the rest of them slack for how they reacted to Brewer. Just a total ****storm under Ballard, boiled right over with Imlachs return. Had they enjoyed stability, GM given his independence, entirely different welcome back for Brewer. So if your pointing fingers, maybe Carl Brewer shouldve pointed one at himself?... as in remember Bert Olmstead?
This is still slightly offtopic, but Brewer did have one conflict in Finland during his time with HIFK. It was between him and HIFKÂ´s star defenceman Juha Rantasila. Apparently Brewer decided to bench Rantasila from last game of the season to play a guy who hadnÂ´t played that much in that season. That escaleted to the point that Rantasila threatned to never play in HIFK if he wouldnÂ´t play in that game. At the end Rantasila played and Brewer benched himself.
What I found funny in this is that Rantasila is pretty much Mr. Players Union in Finland. He was key member when founding it (few years after Brewers time) and worked as "chairman" of the players union from 1973 to 1985.
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