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July 23, 2014

1934-35: Howie Morenz Traded!

The Three Stars

Big Names Traded - A hard salary cap of $62,500 per team and $7000 per player forces NHL clubs to make hard decisions about some big name veterans. Lorne Chabot, Lionel Conacher and Alex Connell all are on the move, but the most shocking trade comes when the Montreal Canadiens move the legendary Howie Morenz to Chicago. The Stratford Streak had won two scoring titles, three Hart Trophies and three Stanley Cups with the Habs, and was the NHL's all time leading scorer at the time.

Ottawa Senators Move to St. Louis - Following three last place finishes and a one year hiatus, the struggling Ottawa Senators - winners of four Stanley Cups in the NHL era - move to St. Louis where the team is rebranded as the Eagles. The team's fortunes do not improve as the Eagles finish last place at 11-31-6. The franchise folds completely the following season.

Introducing The Penalty Shot - A penalty shot is introduced, but it is a little different than nowadays. The shot is taken from inside a 10 foot circle located 38 feet in front of the goal. The goalie could not advance more than one foot from his goal line when the shot is taken. Goalies have a huge advantage, stopping 25 of 29 penalty shots. The first penalty shot takes place on November 10th, 1934 as Toronto's George Hainsworth stops Montreal Canadiens' Armand Mondou. The first successful penalty shot comes three days later when St. Louis defenseman Ralph "Scotty" Bowman (no, not that Scotty Bowman) scores on Alex Connell.

Season Highlights:
  • Long before Wayne Gretzky immortalizes the number 99 in hockey, three players wear the number for the first time. Three Montreal Canadiens call ups all wear the number in their sporadic games - Joe Lamb, Deese Roche and Leo Bourgault. The theory is the Habs carried the sweater as a spare for such call ups, so all three were given the exact same sweater when they arrived.
  • Charlie Conacher not only defends his NHL scoring title with 57 points including a career high 36 goals, but he plays three minutes of shutout goaltending when he relieves George Hainsworth for a spell due to an injury requiring stitches.
  • Eddie Shore becomes the first defenseman to win more than one Hart Trophy in his career. This award comes only a year after the Ace Bailey incident.
  • Lorne Chabot wins his only Vezina Trophy. Injuries would hamper him throughout the rest of his career.
  • Busher Jackson scored 4 goals all in the same period!
  • The defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago fire their coach/manager Tommy Gorman anyway. So what does he do? He heads to Montreal to work for the Maroons, who, thanks to players like Alex Connell and Baldy Northcott, win the Stanley Cup for the last time in their existence.

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