August 06, 2014

1948-49: Maple Leafs Hat Trick

The Three Stars:

Maple Leafs Three-Peat: Even though Nick Metz and captain Syl Apps retired before the season started, the Toronto Maple Leafs become the first NHL team to three-peat as Stanley Cup champions. They stumbled through the regular season with a 22-25-13 record, finishing 4th. But then they oust Boston in five games and sweep Detroit in the Final.

Bill Durnan with Turk Broda
Four Rangers Injured In Car Crash: Six days before the start of the regular season four New York Rangers players are injured in a car crash. Buddy O'Connor breaks several ribs. Frank Eddolls severed a knee tendon. Edgar Laprade breaks his nose and Bill Moe has lacerations to his head. Somehow a fifth player - Tony Leswick - escapes uninjured.

Brick Wall Named Durnan: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Bill Durnan sets a modern day record (since broken) for shutout streak at 309 minutes and 21 seconds. The streak included 4 consecutive shutouts.

Season Highlights:

  • Bill Durnan also has a new rule change unofficially named after him. The 'Durnan Rule' states goaltenders can not wear a C or an A as a team captain.
  • Detroit defenseman Bill Quackenbush becomes the first defenseman to win the Lady Byng trophy. He went penalty free in 60 games.
  • Conn Smythe tries to "buy" Maurice Richard and lure him away from Montreal.
  • A vicious stick fight between Montreal's Ken Reardon and Toronto's Cal Gardner leaves a black mark on the game.
  • Sid Abel surprises with a lead-leaguing 28 goals and finishes third in league scoring. He is named the winner of the Hart Trophy as MVP.
  • A pair of Conacher brothers finish as runners up to Abel with 26 goals apiece. Chicago's Roy Conacher is joined by brother Jim thanks to a trade from Detroit after just 4 games in the season season. Roy wins the Art Ross as league scoring champ.
  • The New York Rangers tried something new by bringing in a rookie named Pentti Lund, a rare player born in Finland. He actually grew up in Ontario. Regardless, he won the Calder Trophy as top first year player.

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