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July 18, 2014

1929-30: Goal Rush!

The Three Stars:

Goal Rush! - Alarmed by the decrease in scoring, which led to a record low average of 2.9 goals per game in 1928-29, the NHL introduces rule changes that allow forward passing in all three zones, but not over either blue line. The impact is immediate and enormous. The goals-per-game average jumps dramatically to 5.9 while shutouts drop from 120 to just 26. A month into the season the NHL actually invokes a sudden new rule to prohibit attacking players from crossing the opponents before the puck does - essentially what we now know as offside.

Weiland Smashes Morenz's Scoring Record - Cooney Weiland of the Boston Bruins doesn't just break the points scoring record - he shatters it! The slick center with the funny name scored 73 points (43-30-73). That's 22 more than Howie Morenz's record mark of 51. Weiland's mark would stand for another 11 years. Weiland (43) and teammate Dit Clapper (41) lead the NHL in goals and lead the Bruins to an incredible 38-5-1 record. Boston set several records that season, including most points (77), wins (38), goals (179), longest winning streak (14 games) and highest winning percentage (.875). Yet, somehow, the fail to win the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens win the first of back-to-back championships.

Clint Benedict Becomes First Masked Man - Though Jacques Plante often gets credit for introducing the protective face mask to the goaltending world in the 1950s, Montreal Maroons goalie Clint Benedict actually was the first to experiment with the mask way back in 1930. Benedict suffered a badly broken nose on January 8th, 1930 thanks to a shot off of the stick of Howie Morenz. When Benedict returned to the lineup against the New York Americans on February 20th he wears a leather mask with a big nose piece. The mask lasted just one game - a 3-3 tie - before he discarded it. "The nose piece proved to be the problem, because it obscured my vision," said Benedict.

Season Highlights:
  • While Boston was at one end of the winning spectrum, the Pittsburgh Pirates were at the bottom. Pittsburgh goalie Joe Miller suffers through 35 losses in 43 starts. He allowed 179 goals against for a GAA of 4.08.
  • Also eclipsing Morenz's previous record of 51 points was Frank Boucher (62), Clapper (61), Bill Cook (59), Hec Kilrea (58), Nels Stewart (55). Morenz himself scored 50.
  • The New York Rangers become the first NHL team to travel by airplane. They hired the Curtis-Wright Corporation to flyer them to Toronto on December 13th, 1929 for a game the following day vs the Leafs. The Rangers lost, however, 7-6.
  • The Detroit Cougars change their name to Detroit Falcons.
  • High Sticking penalties are introduced
  • On December 19th, 1929 history is made as two defensemen - Pittsburgh's Johnny McKinnon and Toronto's Hap Day - both score 4 goals in the same game. Day actually had to be convinced to play for the Leafs that season as he was also a successful pharmacist.

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