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July 16, 2014

1927-28: Lester Patrick Saves The Day


The Three Stars:

44 Year Old Rangers Patrick Plays In Net - Lester Patrick should go down in history as one of the top 5 most influential people in the history of the game. But he is mostly remembered for the night he, as a 44 year old manager of the New York Rangers, donned the pads of his injured goalie and backstopped the Rangers to a Stanley Cup victory. When Montreal Maroons' Nels Stewart strikes Rangers goalie Lorne Chabot in the eye with a shot in game 2 of the Stanley Cup final, things look bad for the Rangers. Already down 1-0 in the best of 5 series, they have no back up goalie. So Patrick steps in, stops 17 of 18 shots and wins the game 2-1 in overtime! Farmhand Joe Miller takes over the rest of the way, leading the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup title.

Helmets Become An Issue - Though helmets would not be mandated until the late 1970s, the pressure to use helmets becomes prevalent in this season. Chicago superstar Dick Irvin suffers a fractured skull while referee Lou Marsh and former star Barney Stanley advocate the use of fiber helmets. Ultimately the idea falls on deaf ears.

The Curse of Muldoon - Pete Muldoon puts his mythical hex on the Black Hawks. Muldoon coached the Hawks in their first season to a 19-22-3 record. When he was fired he allegedly said "I'll make sure you never win an NHL title!" The Hawks would have to wait 40 years for their first regular season championship.


Season Highlights
  • NHL president Frank Calder speaks out against any accusation that the racism banning black athletes in sports such as Major League Baseball does not exist in hockey. "Pro hockey has no ruling against the colored man, nor is it likely to ever draw the line," Calder says.
  • The NHL adopts a new model of net and puck, both redesigned by Art Ross.
  • Duke Keats is suspended indefinitely after swinging his stick at a fan.
  • At the 1928 Olympics Canada captures it's third straight gold medal, outscoring opposition 38-0 in three games. Conn Smythe managed the team but could not travel overseas for the Olympics due to business interests in Canada.
  • On March 31st, 1928, Gordie Howe is born.

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