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1945-46: NHL Stars Return From War

Kraut Line
The Three Stars:

Real Warriors Return To Ice: The end of World War II brings many of the NHL's best players back into action. Among the returnees are Boston's "Kraut Line" of Milt Schmidt, Woody Dumart and Bobby Bauer and goalie Frank Brimsek, Chicago's Bentley brothers Max and Doug, New York's Patrick brothers Muzz and Lynn and Toronto's Syl Apps and Turk Broda. However many returning stars find the adjustment back to the ice a tough one as many younger stars have emerged in their absence.

Montreal Wins Stanley Cup: Montreal had been the class of the NHL for the last three seasons but did not take home the Stanley Cup until 1946. The Habs defeat Boston in 5 games.

Babe Pratt's Gambling Scandal - Babe Pratt receives a lifetime suspension for his involvement with gamblers. He admitted in 1945-46 that he placed bets on games that he played in. Pratt insisted he only bet that his team would win. After promising not to do it again, Pratt was back on the ice after missing 9 games.

Season Highlights:
  • After scoring 50 goals in 50 games in 1945-46, Maurice "Rocket" Richard slumps to 27 goals.
  • Though the NHL would not expand for another 20+ years, interested groups from Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco inquire about icing a team.
  • Gaye Stewart scores an impressive 37 goals to lead the league but the Toronto Maple Leafs finish last in the league.
  • Art Ross leaves the Boston bench and Dit Clapper is named coach while continuing to play on defense.

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