1953–54 NHL season

The 1953–54 NHL season was the 37th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Montreal Canadiens in the final to win the team's sixth championship.

1953–54 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 8, 1953 – April 16, 1954
Number of games70
Number of teams6
TV partner(s)CBC, SRC (Canada)
None (United States)
Regular season
Season championDetroit Red Wings
Season MVPAl Rollins (Black Hawks)
Top scorerGordie Howe (Red Wings)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsDetroit Red Wings
  Runners-upMontreal Canadiens
NHL seasons

League businessEdit

National Hockey League (NHL) team owners gave notice to terminate the professional-amateur agreement with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). The Canadian Press reported that the decision was to protect investments into amateur teams and to improve the financial return. The NHL proposed a new national junior ice hockey playoff format solely for teams sponsored by the NHL, instead of the existing Memorial Cup championship.[1] CAHA president W. B. George predicted that the NHL would not last three years without the CAHA, and stated that it would end the current system which allowed a three-game tryout for an amateur with a professional team.[2] In August 1953, the CAHA and NHL agreed in principle to a proposal that resumed east-west transfers of junior players, and increased the amount of profits to junior teams sponsored by the NHL.[3] At the semi-annual meeting, the CAHA agreed to distribute playoffs funds proportional to the profit on a series-by-series basis,[4] but rejected the request to resume transfers from west to east.[5]

Regular seasonEdit

The New York Rangers decided to drop Gump Worsley and went with Johnny Bower in goal this season. Bower did well, but not well enough to get the Rangers into the playoffs. However, the Rangers managed to come up with a fine rookie in Camille Henry who won the Calder Memorial Trophy.

On December 9, the Montreal Canadiens played the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens and the teams set a record of most penalties in a game. The trouble started when Montreal's Eddie Mazur got into a fight with Toronto's George Armstrong in the first period. Both received game misconduct penalties. Early in the second period, Bud MacPherson broke his stick on the ribs of Toronto's Ron Stewart. He chose not to retaliate until a more opportune time. It came at 18:12 of the third period when Stewart and MacPherson collided again. This time they pushed and shoved and the gloves came off and they began to pummel each other. Tom Johnson came to MacPherson's aid by putting a headlock on Stewart and Stewart threw a punch that landed on Johnson's jaw. Stewart pursued MacPherson again, now that he was in combat with Eric Nesterenko of Toronto and soon the benches emptied and everyone was fighting except Maurice Richard and Tim Horton who merely grabbed each other's sweaters. Referee Frank Udvari handed out 36 penalties, including 15 misconducts for a record 204 minutes in penalties. With almost 2 minutes left in the game, only 8 players from each team excluding the goaltenders Gerry McNeil and Harry Lumley, who did battle in the brawl, were permitted to finish the game. Almost forgotten was that Toronto won the game 3–0.

There were persistent rumours that the Chicago Black Hawks would fold due to the poor performance of the team and fans staying away in droves. NHL president Clarence Campbell discussed the problems with Arthur M. Wirtz and it was announced that the rumours were without foundation.

Campbell was busy this year imposing fines and suspensions. As a result of pushing referee Frank Udvari into the boards during a November 12 game, Bernie Geoffrion was fined $250. Later, in a December 20 game, he and Ron Murphy engaged in stick swinging which left Murphy with a broken jaw. Both players were suspended.

There was trouble brewing for Maurice Richard when he ghosted an article in the Samedi Dimanche newspaper, calling NHL president Clarence Campbell a dictator and took exception to Campbell's suspension of Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion for the stick swinging incident. Richard was required to post a $1000 bond and refrain from any more articles.[6]

The Detroit Red Wings were first overall in the National Hockey League for the sixth straight season.

Final standingsEdit

National Hockey League[7]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1 Detroit Red Wings 70 37 19 14 191 132 +59 88
2 Montreal Canadiens 70 35 24 11 195 141 +54 81
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 70 32 24 14 152 131 +21 78
4 Boston Bruins 70 32 28 10 177 181 −4 74
5 New York Rangers 70 29 31 10 161 182 −21 68
6 Chicago Black Hawks 70 12 51 7 133 242 −109 31


PlayoffsEdit

After losing four straight games to the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins general manager Art Ross, their manager from the day the Bruins came into the NHL, announced his retirement. He had been grooming Lynn Patrick to succeed him and Patrick took over as general manager.

Playoff bracketEdit

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
      
1 Detroit 4
3 Toronto 1
1 Detroit 4
2 Montreal 3
2 Montreal 4
4 Boston 0

SemifinalsEdit

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (3) Toronto Maple LeafsEdit

March 23 Toronto Maple Leafs 0–5 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period 08:21 – shMarty Pavelich (1)
15:48 – ppTed Lindsay (1)
No scoring Second period 06:01 – Tony Leswick (1)
17:39 – Gordie Howe (1)
No scoring Third period 14:01 – Marty Pavelich (2)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
March 25 Toronto Maple Leafs 3–1 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Sid Smith (1) – 09:16 First period No scoring
Gord Hannigan (1) – 17:41 Second period No scoring
Gord Hannigan (2) – pp – 02:16 Third period 04:52 – ppMarcel Pronovost (1)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
March 27 Detroit Red Wings 3–1 Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
Red Kelly (1) – 10:09 First period 19:11 – George Armstrong (1)
No scoring Second period No scoring
Tony Leswick (2) – 00:28
Marcel Pronovost (2) – 18:38
Third period No scoring
Terry Sawchuck Goalie stats Harry Lumley
March 30 Detroit Red Wings 2–1 Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Johnny Wilson (1) – 11:26 Second period 05:09 – Tim Horton (1)
Red Kelly (2) – 16:36 Third period No scoring
Terry Sawchuck Goalie stats Harry Lumley
April 1 Toronto Maple Leafs 3–4 2OT Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Tod Sloan (1) – 16:16 First period 00:09 – Gordie Howe (2)
12:54 – Gordie Howe (3)
16:35 – Glen Skov (1)
Ted Kennedy (1) – 01:33
Rudy Migay (1) – 09:11
Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period No scoring
No scoring Second overtime period 01:01 – Ted Lindsay (2)
Harry Lumley Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
Detroit won series 4–1


(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (4) Boston BruinsEdit

March 23 Boston Bruins 0–2 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 04:25 – Lorne Davis (1)
No scoring Third period 13:48 – Bernie Geoffrion (1)
Jim Henry Goalie stats Jacques Plante
March 25 Boston Bruins 1–8 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period 00:10 – Dickie Moore (1)
05:57 – Bernie Geoffrion (2)
06:28 – Bernie Geoffrion (3)
16:41 – Lorne Davis (2)
18:10 – Dickie Moore (2)
Fleming MacKell (1) – 13:02 Second period 01:19 – Jean Beliveau (1)
No scoring Third period 05:03 – Paul Meger (1)
13:38 – pp – Jean Beliveau (2)
Jim Henry Goalie stats Jacques Plante
March 28 Montreal Canadiens 4–3 Boston Bruins Boston Garden Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Butch Bouchard (1) – 00:16
Bernie Geoffrion (4) – 02:15
Butch Bouchard (2) – 06:53
Second period 00:40 – Cal Gardner (1)
Dickie Moore (3) – 18:30 Third period 10:18 – Doug Mohns (1)
16:09 – Milt Schmidt (1)
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Jim Henry
March 30 Montreal Canadiens 2–0 Boston Bruins Boston Garden Recap  
Floyd Curry (1) – 11:36 First period No scoring
Dickie Moore (4) – pp – 02:06 Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period No scoring
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Jim Henry
Montreal won series 4–0


Stanley Cup FinalsEdit


April 4 Montreal Canadiens 1–3 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period 13:44 – ppTed Lindsay (3)
Bernie Geoffrion (5) – pp – 12:16 Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period 01:52 – ppDutch Reibel (1)
07:13 – shRed Kelly (3)
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
April 6 Montreal Canadiens 3–1 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Dickie Moore (5) – pp – 15:03
Maurice Richard (1) – pp – 15:28
Maurice Richard (2) – pp – 15:59
First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 06:37 – ppAlex Delvecchio (1)
No scoring Third period No scoring
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
April 8 Detroit Red Wings 5–2 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
Alex Delvecchio (2) – 00:42
Ted Lindsay (4) – 17:06
First period No scoring
Johnny Wilson (2) – 04:57 Second period No scoring
Metro Prystai (1) – pp – 07:59
Gordie Howe (4) – 11:32
Third period 07:19 – shTom Johnson (1)
15:02 – Dollard St. Laurent (1)
Terry Sawchuck Goalie stats Jacques Plante
April 10 Detroit Red Wings 2–0 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Johnny Wilson (3) – 02:09 Second period No scoring
Red Kelly (4) – 19:53 Third period No scoring
Terry Sawchuck Goalie stats Jacques Plante
April 11 Montreal Canadiens 1–0 OT Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
No scoring Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period No scoring
Ken Mosdell (1) – 05:45 First overtime period No scoring
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
April 13 Detroit Red Wings 1–4 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 12:07 – Bernie Geoffrion (6)
13:07 – Floyd Curry (2)
14:25 – Floyd Curry (3)
Metro Prystai (2) – 05:11 Third period 10:06 – Maurice Richard (3)
Terry Sawchuck Goalie stats Jacques Plante
April 16 Montreal Canadiens 1–2 OT Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Floyd Curry (4) – 09:17 First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 01:17 – ppRed Kelly (5)
No scoring Third period No scoring
No scoring First overtime period 04:29 – Tony Leswick (3)
Jacques Plante Goalie stats Terry Sawchuck
Detroit won series 4–3


AwardsEdit

The James Norris Memorial Trophy made its debut this season and its first winner was Red Kelly of the Detroit Red Wings. The Norris Trophy goes to the top defenceman each year and was named in honour of James E. Norris,[6] owner of the Detroit Red Wings franchise from 1932 until his death in 1952.

Award winners
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Camille Henry, New York Rangers
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Al Rollins, Chicago Black Hawks
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with best goals-against record)
Harry Lumley, Toronto Maple Leafs
All-Star teams
First team   Position   Second team
Harry Lumley, Toronto Maple Leafs G Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Bill Gadsby, Chicago Black Hawks
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs
Ken Mosdell, Montreal Canadiens C Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Ed Sandford, Boston Bruins

Player statisticsEdit

Scoring leadersEdit

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, Pts = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 33 48 81 109
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 37 30 67 112
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 70 26 36 62 110
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 54 29 25 54 87
Bert Olmstead Montreal Canadiens 70 15 37 52 85
Red Kelly Detroit Red Wings 62 16 33 49 18
Earl Reibel Detroit Red Wings 69 15 33 48 18
Ed Sandford Boston Bruins 70 16 31 47 42
Fleming Mackell Boston Bruins 67 15 32 47 60
Ken Mosdell Montreal Canadiens 67 22 24 46 64

Source: NHL[8]

Leading goaltendersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes played; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals against average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 17 1020 27 1.59 7 5 5 5
Harry Lumley Toronto Maple Leafs 69 4140 128 1.86 32 24 13 13
Terry Sawchuk Detroit Red Wings 67 4004 129 1.93 35 19 13 12
Gerry McNeil Montreal Canadiens 53 3180 114 2.15 28 19 6 6
Jim Henry Boston Bruins 70 4200 181 2.59 32 28 10 8
Johnny Bower New York Rangers 70 4200 182 2.60 29 31 10 5
Al Rollins Chicago Black Hawks 66 3960 213 3.23 12 47 7 5

CoachesEdit

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1953–54 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last gamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their last game in the NHL in 1953–54 (listed with their last team):

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Coleman, Charles L. (1976), Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol III, Sherbrooke, QC: Progressive Publications
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2.
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Duplacey, James (2008), Hockey's Book of Firsts, North Dighton, MA: JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1969), 50 Years Of Hockey, Winnipeg, MAN: Greywood Publishing, ASIN B000GW45S0
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
Notes
  1. ^ Wheatley, W. R. (June 11, 1953). "NHL, CAHA To Sever Relations". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 22. ; Wheatley, W. R. (June 11, 1953). "National Loop Terminates Agreement". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. p. 6. 
  2. ^ "Predicts Short Life For N.H.L." Medicine Hat News. Medicine Hat, Alberta. June 11, 1953. p. 5. 
  3. ^ Lougheed, G. W. (August 8, 1953). "NHL, CAHA To Redraft Agreement". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 24. 
  4. ^ "New Amateur Financial Set-up Now Arranged". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 11, 1954. p. 14. 
  5. ^ "West-East Transfers Banned". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 11, 1954. p. 14. 
  6. ^ a b Dryden 2000, p. 56.
  7. ^ "1953–1954 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
  8. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 149.

External linksEdit