In response to red75's comment:
In response to Bookboy007's comment:
red - I tend to forget Cowley, but then, it seems like the organization has mostly forgotten him. Lots of reasons to say objectively that he has to be there - leading scorer on two Cup teams (though he was out for most of the second playoffs and Schmidt was the one who drove the bus), top 10 scorer in 6/7 years including one scoring title by a mile and missing a second by a point. That has to make him one of the best of his generation, doesn't it? If I told you Seguin would be a top ten scorer for six of the next seven seasons, win one scoring title (no Bruin has done it since Orr in 74-75 - and if you say Thornton, someone should slap you), and lead the team to two Cups in that stretch - you'd probably make him a top 10 Bruin.
seo - I think even if you're talking objectively, you have to put Bourque at 2 or 3, even without Cups. He's the franchise's leading scorer by almost 200 points - he had nearly 500 more points in a Bruin uniform than Espo. Only Orr and Espo won more major trophies in Bruins history, and Bourque should have been the first defenseman since Orr to win the Hart (okay, that one isn't as objective as the others). He took them to two Cup finals, and, yes, turned around the much despised string of playoff futility against the Scabs. He was the gold standard at his position for more than a decade.
As for Shore - I put Schmidt above him because the man is still a Bruin. He gets a bump from 4 for all he's done for the franchise as a player, manager, and ambassador. If I take that out, I'd probably move Shore up.
I think Neely's impact was bigger than Clapper's or Hitchman's even with a short career. He re-defined a position. Teams continue to draft Lucics and Camaras and Tom Wilsons and Mark McNeills and Zack Kassians because they're looking for the next Neely. Middleton may be harder to defend, but I think comparing across eras, he and Clapper would be neck and neck. Cheevers over Thomson - well, red, you didn't have Tiny in your top 10 either! But I've always been a bit sceptical about the numbers for goalies in that era. Not reasonable, probably.
Thanks for the backup Book. I really think Cowley is the Bruins forgotten superstar. A true blue Bruin and an HHOFer that no one seems to recognize.
Far from a hockey historian, but I wonder how much "the war years" production hurt the perception of Cowley.
Average season from 1939-42: 41gp 11-32-43
Average from 1942-45: 44gp 27-42-69 (61% increase in production)
Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart, as well as, other NHLers served in the military during those years.
2009 THN article on top-10 Hockey War Vets
The War did put some pro athletes on temporary hold, that could of put up some amazing numbers. Not just the NHL but MLB also.