The year is 1932. The Toronto Maple Leafs, comfortable in their new $1.5 million Maple Leaf Gardens, are challenging the New York Rangers for the Stanley Cup championship. Because the circus is in Madison Square Gardens, the Rangers second home game of the series (game 2) has to be played in Toronto.
The Leafs are led by nicknamed superstars like Busher Jackson, the Big Bomber Charlie Conacher, Gentleman Joe Primeau, King Clancy, Red Horner, Ace Bailey and Baldy Cotton.
The Rangers counter with the best line in hockey - Frank Boucher centering brothers Bill Cook and Bun Cook.
But the Kid Line of Primeau, Conacher and Jackson prove to be too much, sweeping the Rangers in three straight games. The Kid Line combined for 8 goals and 16 points, with the Big Bomber leading the way. Conacher finished the playoffs with 6 goals and 2 assists in seven games. Needless to say Murray Murdoch, who was assigned by the Rangers to shadow Conacher, had a long series.
Primeau, the elegant assist king at center ice, remembered being more relieved than elated when the Leafs hoisted their first Stanley Cup.
"To win the Stanley Cup, it's the top prize and the feeling you get is a little hard to describe. It's a great feeling but it's mixed with a feeling that you're so doggone glad it's over with. You have spent so much of yourself by this time, you're glad you don't have to spend any more. You have this combined feeling: You have this sense of accomplishment after reaching what you have been driving for so long, and you have this feeling of relief - like a load off your shoulders - that now you are going to be able to get some rest," said Primeau.
Leafs coach Dick Irvin was coaching in his second consecutive Stanley Cup finals, having taken Chicago on an unsuccessful Cup bid in 1931. However championship celebrations were non-existent for the coach, who had to rush back to western Canada where his infant son, future hockey broadcaster Dick Irvin, Jr., was seriously ill.
You can watch a rare video clip of the 1932 Stanley Cup playoffs here.
The series ended in controversy for the New York Rangers and their goaltender John Ross Roach. Described as something of a playboy, Roach's poor performance was coupled with his going AWOL during practice on the day before game one.
The Rangers had had enough, and coach Lester Patrick gravely announced "Roach is through for next season." Toronto's King Clancy added "If your goalkeeper had done that, I'd have kicked his head off."
Poor J. R. Roach was humiliated by the ordeal, yet he still had to play the series. Trying to restore his battered reputation was not easy, though. With his pride showing he tried as hard as ye could, but the Leafs' potent offense triggered an avalanche of goals