August 22, 2014

1964-65: Change On The Horizon

The Three Stars:

Fergie Gives Habs Punch They Need - The Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup thanks in large part to their new, intimidating star John Ferguson. The pugnacious Ferguson wins over fans with his eagerness to fight and hit, giving the Canadiens a refreshing new look that returns them to Stanley Cup glory. Ferguson's battles with the Chicago's Bobby Hull - who wins the Lady Byng trophy this season - in the Stanley Cup final are now legendary.

Swede Debut: In a precursor of the upcoming European invasion about to hit the NHL, Swedish forward Ulf Sterner becomes the first European-trained NHLer. He discards his helmet to try to fit in, but ultimately does not make the cut. After 4 games he is farmed out to the American League and he returns home at season's end.

Selke Out, Pollock In - The Montreal Canadiens replace retiring general manager Frank Selke with Sam Pollock. Selke exited the game as one of the most hallowed figures in NHL history, winning nine Stanley Cups, 6 of them with Montreal. Pollock would be the architect of a rising Habs dynasty.

Season Highlights:

  • The Habs also lose 33 year old Boom Boom Geoffrion who retires to coach the Quebec Aces of the AHL.
  • Rule changes - NHL mandates that all teams must dress two goalies - one on the ice and one actually dressed and on the bench - for playoff games. Rules prohibiting body contact on faceoffs are also introduced.
  • The Conn Smythe Trophy is created to honour the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Jean Beliveau is the inaugural winner.
  • Roger Crozier replaces Terry Sawchuk in net in Detroit. Crozier leads the NHL with 40 wins and 6 shutouts and is the last goalie in NHL history to appear in at least part of all of his team's games. He also wins the Calder Trophy.
  • Chicago rearguard Pierre Pilote breaks Babe Pratt's 21 year old record for points by a defenseman with 59.
  • Ted Lindsay makes an inspiring comeback. The 39 year old had retired 4 years earlier but returned to score 14 goals and 28 points in 69 games.
  • Jimmy Peters Jr. is called up from junior to play one game with Detroit where he centers a line with Lindsay and Gordie Howe. His dad Jimmy Peters Sr. centered Lindsay and Howe in the early 1950s for a while.
  • Stan Mikita repeats as NHL scoring champion with 87 points. He also was near the top of the PIM leaderboard! Norm Ullman leads all shooters with 42 goals.
  • Two goalies - Toronto's Johnny Bower (34 games played) and newly acquired Terry Sawchuk (36) share the Vezina trophy.

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