Kennedy grew up dreaming of playing for the Leafs and idolizing the great Charlie Conacher. Needless to say, Kennedy was ecstatic when his dream suddenly became true. But come game time he was totally focused, and always played every game at the highest level. For Kennedy every game was played with a level of desperation as if it were game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Very few players in league history can have that said about them.
It was in the playoffs that Kennedy was at his best. Although he put up impressive scoring totals throughout his career, he was hockey's version of Mr. October.
Kennedy led the Leafs to an upset victory against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1945 Stanley Cup finals. The Canadiens were a powerhouse led by the unthinkable exploits of Rocket Richard. The Habs top line of Elmer Lach, Toe Blake and Richard - who scored 50 goals in 50 games that season - finished 1-2-3 in scoring during the year and were supposed to tear Toronto apart. But a wondrous defensive effort by a line centered by Kennedy (flanked by Bob Davidson and "Sudden Death" Mel Hill) kept the feared Punch Line at bay for much of the series. In the mean time Kennedy contributed a playoff leading 7 goals to capture the silver chalice.
In 1947 the Leafs captured another Stanley Cup, thanks Kennedy's cup winning goal against Montreal. The Leafs would repeat as champions in 1948, as Kennedy scored a playoff high 8 goals and 14 points. The following season Syl Apps - to that point probably the most revered Leaf in team history - retired and Kennedy, just 22, became the youngest captain in club history. Even without Apps, Kennedy would lead the Leafs to the first ever Stanley Cup "three-peat".
The Leafs would win again in 1951, making it 4 out of 5 years with the Cup. They were upset in the 1950 Stanley Cup final, otherwise they would have won 5 consecutive Cups and be remembered - as they should still be - as one of hockey's greatest teams.
Full Teeder Kennedy Biography
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