Skip to main content

1919-20: The Phantom Of Hockey

The dormant Quebec Bulldogs returned after a 2 year hiatus to make their National Hockey League debut in the 1919-20 season. Though they were able to reclaim many of their former players such as Joe Malone, Harry Mummery, Jack McDonald and Tommy Smith, they had a dreadful season, finishing with just 4 wins in 24 games.

But it was not for a lack of effort from Joe Malone, the NHL's first superstar. He had scored 51 goals in just 28 games the previous two seasons while playing for the Montreal Canadiens, including an astonishing 44 goals in 20 games in 1917-18. He returned to Quebec and again led the league in goals, scoring 39 in 24 games! He added 10 assists for 49 points to lead the entire NHL in scoring for the second time in 3 years back in the days before there was an Art Ross Trophy.

One night Malone scored an astonishing 7 goals in one game - a NHL record never equalled. On January 31st, 1920 he scored all seven goals against goaltender Ivan Mitchell of the Toronto St. Patricks (who had changed their name from Arenas this season). Quebec won the game 10-6.

The handsome Malone became hockey's answer to Babe Ruth - the superstar who they could sell to the public.

Years later Frank Selke Sr. described Malone for those of us who never got to see him play.

"He might have been the most prolific scorer of all time if they had played more games in those days. It was amazing the way Joe used to get himself in position to score. In that respected his style was similar to Gordie Howe's. Joe was no Howie Morenz as far as speed was concerned but he was a clean player like Dave Keon and Frank Boucher. On the other hand, Joe never took a backward step from anybody."

Charles Coleman, one of the earliest hockey historians, dubbed Malone as "The Phantom."

"Malone was a tricky stick handler, deceptive skater and always a clean sportsmanlike player. He stood out in an era that was featured by rough play," he wrote.

Malone was not the only great goal scorer that season. Newsy Lalonde of the Montreal Canadiens scored 6 goals in a wild 14-7 win over Toronto on January 10th. Lalonde would finished with 36 goals.

But this was to be the year of the Ottawa Senators, as their dynasty began it's rise. They won both halves on the NHL regular season, meaning that their would be no NHL playoffs this year. The Senators were given the O'Brien Cup. Jack Darragh played goal scoring hero in a tight 5 game series victory over the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHA to win the Stanley Cup.

1920 was big year for hockey outside of the professional ranks as well.

The inaugural hockey tournament at the Olympics was held - with hockey and figure skating introduced at the Summer Olympics (because the winter Olympics were not created until 1924). Canada, represented by the Winnipeg Falcons, won that tournament easily.

The Memorial Cup was also introduced to crown Canada's national junior champions. The Toronto Canoe Club won the first title.


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