July 19, 2014

1930-31: Smythe's Gamble Pays Off Royally

Red Horner, King Clancy, Hap Day

The Three Stars

Smythe Gambles On King - Wins Royally - Toronto Maple Leafs manager Conn Smythe wins nearly $15,000 betting on Rare Jewel, a thoroughbred racehorse he owns. The horse, who legend has it was fed brandy before the race, was a 100-to-1 long shot to win. Smythe then borrows $20,000 and sends the $35,000 plus defenseman Art Smith and forward Eric Pettinger to Ottawa in exchange for the charismatic defenseman King Clancy. Clancy became the leader of the team that dominated the 1930s. And he continued shaping the franchise for decades later.

Howie Morenz, Aurel Joliat, Johnny Gagnon

Flying Frenchmen Win Stanley Cup - The Montreal Canadiens repeat as Stanley Cup champions, thanks to Cy Wentworth's overtime dramatics, Johnny "Black Cat" Gagnon's addition and the high flying Howie Morenz. "He's the hardest player in the league to stop," boasted Boston's Eddie Shore. Morenz led the league in scoring again this season (28-23-51) and won the Hart Trophy.

Cook Brothers with Frank Boucher

Legendary All Stars - The NHL begins the practice of naming first and second all star honours at the conclusion of the season. The inaugural class sure set the tone as every player would one day be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 1930-31 First All Star Team consisted of Charlie Gardiner in net, with Eddie Shore and King Clancy on defense; Bill Cook joined Montreal teammates Howie Morenz and Aurel Joliat up front. The Second All Star team included Tiny Thompson in net with Ching Johnson and Sylvio Mantha on the blue line. Frank Boucher and Bun Cook were joined by Dit Clapper. Even the coaches would one day get the HHOF nod - Lester Patrick and Dick Irvin.

Season Highlights:
  • February 14th, 1931 sees a rare occurrence as the officials award three assists on one goal. The official scoring lay is Charlie Conacher from Busher Jackson, Joe Primeau and King Clancy.
  • Charlie Conacher leads the NHL in goals with 30. Howie Morenz edges out Ebbie Goodfellow for the scoring title.
  • Philadelphia's Lowly Season - Coming off of a dreadful 5-36-3 season in 1929-30, the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise is transferred to Philadelphia and is rebranded as the Quakers. The team, who were owned by boxer Benny Leonard, posted an even more pathetic 4-36-4 season. That is a puny .136 winning percentage, the worst in NHL history. The team was outscored 184-76! Not even the City of Brotherly Love could get behind these losers, as this team was run out of town after just one season
  • On January 3rd, 1931 Montreal Maroons center Nels Stewart scores 2 goals in just 4 seconds!

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