Why did the pre-Orr Bruins struggle so much in the 1960s?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by ChrisK97, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. ChrisK97

    ChrisK97 Registered User

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    After a hot-and-cold stretch of hockey in the 1950s (3 Stanley Cup Final appearances, 3 winning records), Boston went into a brutal stretch up until Orr/Espo arrived.

    The first year of this stretch was after a solid 2nd place finish in 1959. Bronco Horvath had a career year where he barely missed out on the Art Ross Trophy, but their 28-34-8 record would not be good enough to make the playoffs (Detroit edged them out by 3 points)- and yet it would be their best record until 1967-68.

    The next 7 years: Never won more than 21 games (albeit in a 70-game schedule), never even coming close to a top 4 spot:

    1961: Last place, 23 points back of 4th place Detroit
    1962: Last place, 26 points back of 4th place NY Rangers
    1963: Last place, 32 points back of 4th place Detroit
    1964: Last place, 23 points back of 4th place Detroit
    1965: Last place, 26 points back of 4th place Toronto
    1966: 5th place (albeit only 1 point ahead of NY Rangers 48-47), 26 points back of 4th place Detroit
    1967: Last place, 28 points back of 4th place NY Rangers

    In 7 years, they were only 1 point from 7 straight last place finishes!

    It's not like their ownership was Bruce Norris-Detroit or Harold Ballard-Toronto bad, they didn't have 1950s Blackhawks level attendance/TV ratings problems.

    And yet there they were, going from punching above their weight in the 1950s to not even coming close to the postseason. As bad as things were for Edmonton post-Pronger and pre-McDavid, they came close to making the postseason at one point (Only 3 points out in 2007-08, only 6 points out in 2008-09). Or Florida's 2001-2011 drought where they had a close call in 2008-09.

    Why did things get so bad before things got so much better with Orr and Esposito as the decade came to a close?
     
  2. streitz

    streitz Registered User

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    Because all the other teams were better.



    Simple answer but think about it. Dynasties in Tor/Mtl. Hull/Mikita in chicago, couple good players in Detroit but even they way more then boston had.


    Rangers were weak that decade aswell.
     
  3. Fenway

    Fenway Administrator Sponsor

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    It's complicated but the franchise was cash poor after World War II mainly because people were staying home to watch TV. Televisions were very expensive and people stayed home to watch Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle and Groucho Marx.

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    Weston Adams sold the team to the arena owners which was controlled by Walter Brown in 1951 and bought the team back in 1964 when Brown died suddenly.

    Boston Garden-Arena Corporation - Wikipedia

    @Killion - The Bruins and Garden survived mainly because of the ice shows and the occasional boxing shows that Arthur Wirtz and James D. Norris sent them.

    The Bruins had decent teams in the 50's but what little profits they made went to keep the Celtics afloat.
     
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  4. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    I have read before in more than one place that the Bruins in the early/mid-60s were drawing more fans than the Celtics (which were in the midst of the greatest championship streak in N.A. sports' history), and had no trouble at all selling out the building despite the team's struggles. Is this wrong?
     
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  5. Fenway

    Fenway Administrator Sponsor

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    Very true

    The Boston Garden had a phantom capacity of 13,909 for hockey and basketball because of fire laws that were established after the Conocnt Grove fire in 1942

    [​IMG]

    The reality was that many Bruins and Celtics games had 20,000 people in the Garden.

    The Bruins of the 1960's outdrew the Celtics.

    It is important to factor in the Celtics has major TV coverage in the 60's while the Bruins TV coverage began in 1966-67.

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  6. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    1959 Bruins revamped and restructured their scouting and feeder system.

    This produced the stars of the mid 1960s - Orr, Parent, etc.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  7. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    Wow! Lowly 60s Bruins outdrawing the 60s Celtics is just mind blowing!
     
  8. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

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    1960-61 Bruins

    Top-3 scorers: Toppazzini, McKenney, Burns.
    Goalie: Gamble.

    1964-65 Bruins

    Top-3 scorers: Bucyk, Oliver, Fleming.
    Goalie: Johnston

    'Nuff said.
     
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  9. Fenway

    Fenway Administrator Sponsor

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    The Bruins actually started some home games as late as 9 PM in the 50's to avoid competing against Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan.
     
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