September 04, 2014

1977-78: Who's The Boss?

The Three Stars:

Bossy Shatters Rookie Record: Mike Bossy, drafted 16th overall by the New York Islanders easily wins the Calder Trophy as top rookie when he shatters the rookie goal scoring record with 53 goals. He is the first rookie to score 50 goals in his inaugural season. Bossy bested Rick Martin's old record of 44 goals, set in 1971-72.

Linseman Challenges Draft and Wins: Though the WHA's Birmingham Bulls sign 19 year old junior star Ken Linseman to a contract, he is refused permission to ply by WHA president Howard Baldwin. Both the WHA and NHL had agreements with amateur hockey in Canada not to sign or draft players under the age of 20. However Linseman challenges the agreement in court and wins - opening the door a mass of junior players signing in the WHA and being drafted by the NHL.

John Ziegler Becomes President of NHL. Clarence Campbell retires as NHL President after 31 years on the job. John Ziegler, an American lawyer in unanimously selected as his replacement.

Season Highlights:
  • Don Cherry's Boston Bruins had a strong run through the playoffs, ousting Chicago and Philadelphia with only one loss. But Montreal remained their nemesis, as the Habs won a third straight Stanley Cup by beating Boston in six games. Blueliner Larry Robinson, with 17 assists, won the Conn Smythe Trophy.
  • Guy Lafleur wins another scoring title with 132 points, beating out Bryan Trottier (123) and Darryl Sittler (117). He also leads the league in goals with 60. At the end of the season he accepts his second consecutive Hart Trophy as league MVP and his third straight Pearson Trophy as MVP as voted by the players.
  • The NHL introduces the Frank J. Selke trophy to honour the best defensive forward. Bob Gainey of Montreal wins the inaugural award, and the next three as well!
  • Ken Dryden wins his third straight Vezina trophy with a GAA of just 2.05
  • Philadelphia defenseman Tom Bladon has a night to remember when he scores 4 goals and 8 points against Cleveland on December 11th, 1977. His record for most points by a defenseman in one game still stands.
  • Times are exciting in Toronto with Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Tiger Williams and goaltender Mike Palmateer giving Leafs fans hopes of a return to greatness.
  • In the WHA Quebec's Marc Tardif runs away with the scoring title scoring 65 goals and 154 points. Ulf Nilsson (89 assists, 126 points) and Anders Hedberg (63 goals and 122 points) pace the Winnipeg Jets along side the legend Bobby Hull (46 goals, 117 points). The Jets win the Avco Cup championship, but then lose Nilsson and Hedberg in an offseason bidding war with the New York Rangers.
  • The Howe family grows disenchanted with the ownership in Houston and Gordie, Mark and Marty jump to the New England Whalers. Gordie paces the team with 96 points but is grounded by the Jets in the Final.

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