Skip to main content

1953: An Unexpected Challenge From Cleveland

The year is 1953. Jacques Plante is the new goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, playing 4 playoff games after just 3 games of NHL experience.

Plante would play the two opening games of the Stanley Cup finals, going 1-1 against the Boston Bruins. That's when coach Dick Irvin returned to regular goalie Gerry McNeil, who was hobbled by a bad ankle. McNeil went 3-0 with 2 shutouts and GAA of 0.99 while leading Montreal back to championship status.

The goalies were not the only heroes for Montreal. Rocket Richard scored 4 goals and 5 points in the finals. Boom Boom Geoffrion had a monster of a semi-finals, scoring 5-4-9 in the 7 game showdown with Chicago.

A surprise challenge for the Stanley Cup came from, Jim Hendy, owner of the AHL Cleveland Barons. Hendy reckoned the trophy was originally a challenge trophy and he tried to get through any loophole he could. The challenge was dismissed for two reasons: The Barons had not yet won their own league championship, and AHL teams were considered to lesser teams than NHL teams. The original Stanley Cup challenge rules stated that any challenger must be of equal caliber.

Comments

Paul said…
I'd say there was a third reason for the league's rejection of Cleveland's challenge, Joe: because the NHL had recently taken control of the Stanley Cup (in 1947, I belive) and now had the power to decide for themselves. An independent board of trustees would've been a far less biased judge of the Barons' merits, not to mention future challenges from the Winnipeg Jets or Red Army. Equal caliber or not, there was no way the League was going to allow an outside challenge.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M