1943–44 NHL season

The 1943–44 NHL season was the 27th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams played 50 games each. The Montreal Canadiens were the top team of the regular season and followed it up with the team's fifth Stanley Cup championship.

1943–44 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 30, 1943 – April 13, 1944
Number of games50
Number of teams6
Regular season
Season championMontreal Canadiens
Season MVPBabe Pratt (Maple Leafs)
Top scorerHerb Cain (Bruins)
Stanley Cup
ChampionsMontreal Canadiens
  Runners-upChicago Black Hawks

League business

In memory of Frank Calder, the former NHL President who died in 1943, the league's Board of Governors donated the Calder Memorial Trophy to be awarded to the NHL's top rookie.

Rule changes

For the start of this season, the NHL added the centre red line, which allowed players to pass the puck out of their defensive zone into their half of the neutral zone. This was done in an effort to increase the speed of the game by reducing off-side calls. "This rule is considered to mark the beginning of the modern era in the NHL," according to the NHL's Guide and Record Book. In 2005, 62 years later, the two-line pass would be legalized for similar reasons.

Regular season

The Montreal Canadiens had turned the corner and now Tommy Gorman and Dick Irvin had a team to make the fans happy. Bill Durnan solved the goaltending woes, but not before Gorman had all kinds of problems signing him. Durnan knew his worth, and wanted a handsome sum. Just before the first game, Gorman agreed to his contract demands. He was worth every penny, as he ran away with the Vezina Trophy and the Canadiens lost only five games all year, finishing first by a wide margin. The new and more familiar "Punch line" of Elmer Lach, Toe Blake, and Maurice Richard dominated the offence and Richard had 32 goals. He replaced Joe Benoit, who did his duty to his country by joining the armed forces. Richard, in fact, was dubbed by teammate Ray Getliffe the nickname that would be his legend "The Rocket".

When Paul Bibeault came back from the Army, he found his job lost to the best goaltender in the NHL, Bill Durnan. Montreal agreed to loan him to Toronto, where he played very well, leading the Leafs to third place and leading the NHL with five shutouts. Gus Bodnar, a crack centre, was the top rookie, and for the first time, a team produced Calder Memorial Trophy winners in consecutive years. In fact, Bodnar scored the fastest goal by a rookie in his very first game. It took him only 15 seconds to score on Ken McAuley, Ranger goaltender, in a 5–2 win over the war-weakened Rangers.

The Rangers had plunged to last place the previous year and Lester Patrick was so discouraged that he wanted to suspend operations for the year. This year the Rangers lost Clint Smith, Lynn Patrick, Phil Watson, and Alf Pike. The most unbelievably inept team iced for the Rangers this year. Things were so desperate that coach Frank Boucher had to come out of retirement to play some. But the Rangers set a modern-day record of 6.20 goals against, giving up 310 goals in 50 games. One night when Lester Patrick went behind the bench to coach the team with Frank Boucher attending a brother's funeral, the Rangers were demolished 15–0 by Detroit as the Red Wings set a modern-day record of most goals by a team in a single game. It was a horrifying experience for Patrick. Only a week later Syd Howe set a modern-day record of 6 goals in a game in a 12–2 conquest of the hapless Rangers. The Rangers won only 6 games all year and finished a distant last, 26 points behind fifth-place Boston.

Chicago started with sub-par goaltending, but then president and general manager Bill Tobin decided to bring back Mike Karakas, who had been demoted to the minors in 1939–40 for his lackluster play. Karakas was just what the Black Hawks needed, as he played well and recorded three shutouts and got the team into the playoffs.

In Boston, the Bruins lost star forward Bill Cowley to injury after the first 36 games. At that point in the season Cowley was on pace to set a new standard in scoring for the NHL. After the first 36 games he had scored 30 goals – 41 assists – 71 points before going down to injury. However, the scoring title would still eventually end up in Boston as linemate Herb Cain picked up the slack, scoring 82 points over the course of the 50-game schedule and setting a new record for points in the regular season.

Final standings

National Hockey League[1]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1 Montreal Canadiens 50 38 5 7 234 109 +125 83
2 Detroit Red Wings 50 26 18 6 214 177 +37 58
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 50 23 23 4 214 174 +40 50
4 Chicago Black Hawks 50 22 23 5 178 187 −9 49
5 Boston Bruins 50 19 26 5 223 268 −45 43
6 New York Rangers 50 6 39 5 162 310 −148 17

Playoffs

Playoff bracket

Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
      
1 Montreal 4
3 Toronto 1
1 Montreal 4
4 Chicago 0
2 Detroit 1
4 Chicago 4

Semifinals

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Toronto Maple Leafs

The Montreal Canadiens finished first in the league with 83 points. The Toronto Maple Leafs finished third in the league with 50 points. This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams with the teams splitting the two previous series. They last met in the 1925 NHL Championship where Montreal won a two-game total goals series 5–2. Montreal won this year's ten game regular season series earning fifteen of twenty points. Maurice "Rocket" Richard was named first, second, and third Star of the game after scoring all 5 Montreal goals in game two, the first player to have this honour.

Montreal won series 4–1

(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (4) Chicago Black Hawks

The Detroit Red Wings finished second in the league with 58 points. The Chicago Black Hawks finished fourth with 49 points. This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams with the teams splitting the two previous series. They last met in the 1941 Stanley Cup Semifinals where Detroit won in two games. The teams split this year's ten-game regular season series.

Chicago won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Finals

This was the sixth playoff meeting between these two teams with Chicago winning three of the five previous series. They last met in the 1941 Stanley Cup Quarterfinals where Chicago won in three games. Montreal won this year's ten game regular season series earning eighteen of twenty points.

Montreal won series 4–0

Awards

Award winners
O'Brien Cup:
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
Chicago Black Hawks
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Gus Bodnar, Toronto Maple Leafs
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Clint Smith, Chicago Black Hawks
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
All-Star teams
First team   Position   Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Paul Bibeault, Toronto Maple Leafs
Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks D Emile "Butch" Bouchard, Montreal Canadiens
Babe Pratt, Toronto Maple Leafs D Dit Clapper, Boston Bruins
Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins C Elmer Lach, Montreal Canadiens
Lorne Carr, Toronto Maple Leafs RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks LW Herb Cain, Boston Bruins
Dick Irvin, Montreal Canadiens Coach Hap Day, Toronto Maple Leafs

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Herb Cain Boston Bruins 48 36 46 82 4
Doug Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 50 38 39 77 22
Lorne Carr Toronto Maple Leafs 50 36 38 74 9
Carl Liscombe Detroit Red Wings 50 36 37 73 17
Elmer Lach Montreal Canadiens 48 24 48 72 23
Clint Smith Chicago Black Hawks 50 23 49 72 4
Bill Cowley Boston Bruins 36 30 41 71 12
Bill Mosienko Chicago Black Hawks 50 32 38 70 10
Art Jackson Boston Bruins 49 28 41 69 8
Gus Bodnar Toronto Maple Leafs 50 22 40 62 18

Source: NHL[2]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts

Player Team GP Mins GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 50 3000 109 2.18 32 5 7 2
Paul Bibeault Toronto Maple Leafs 29 1740 87 3.00 13 14 2 5
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 26 1560 79 3.04 12 9 5 3
Connie Dion Detroit Red Wings 26 1560 80 3.08 17 7 2 1
Jimmy Franks Detroit Red Wings 17 1020 69 4.06 6 8 3 1
Benny Grant Toronto Maple Leafs 20 1200 83 4.15 9 9 2 0
Hec Highton Chicago Black Hawks 24 1440 108 4.50 10 14 0 0
Bert Gardiner Boston Bruins 46 2460 212 5.17 17 19 5 1
Ken McAuley New York Rangers 50 2980 310 6.24 6 39 5 0

Coaches

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1943–44 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note who played their last game in the NHL in 1943–44 (listed with their last team):

See also

References

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2.
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X.
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5.
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9.
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1.
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1.
Notes
  1. ^ "Standings: 1943–1944". National Hockey League. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  2. ^ Dinger 2011, p. 148.

External links

1943–44 Boston Bruins season

The 1943–44 Boston Bruins season was the Bruins' 20th season in the NHL.

1943–44 Chicago Black Hawks season

The 1943–44 Chicago Black Hawks season was the team's 18th season in the NHL, and they were coming off a 5th-place finish in 1942–43, failing to qualify for the playoffs.

The Black Hawks would once again finish just under .500, with a 22–23–5 record, good for 49 points, and 4th place in the NHL. The Hawks 178 goals would rank them just ahead of the New York Rangers for 5th in the league, while the 187 goals they let in ranked 4th. The team would qualify for the playoffs, as they would have 6 more points than the 5th place Boston Bruins.

Doug Bentley would have another huge season, breaking the Black Hawks record for points in a season, which he set in the 1942–43 season, by earning 77 points, along with a club record 38 goals, which led the NHL. Clint Smith, who the Black Hawks acquired from the Rangers in the off-season, would set a club record with 49 assists, and win the Lady Byng Trophy. Bill Mosienko would have a break out season with 32 goals and 70 points. Earl Seibert would anchor the defense, leading all defensemen with 33 points and had a team high 40 penalty minutes.

In goal, the Hawks would begin the season with Hec Highton in goal, however, after a 10–14–0 start, and a GAA of 4.50, the Hawks would trade him to the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League for former Hawks goaltender Mike Karakas. Karakas would put together a 12–9–5 record with a 3.04 GAA, helping Chicago clinch the final playoff spot.

The Black Hawks would have a first-round playoff date with the second place Detroit Red Wings, who finished 9 points better than Chicago in the regular season, in a best-of-seven series. The Hawks and Wings would split the opening two games in Detroit, and Chicago would take a 2–1 series lead by shutting out the Red Wings in game three. The Black Hawks would dominate game four, winning 7–1 and take a commanding 3–1 series lead. Chicago would then complete the upset in game five, defeating the Wings 5–2 in Detroit, and earn a spot in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1941. Their opponent would be the Montreal Canadiens, who dominated the NHL with 83 points, 34 points better than the Hawks in the regular season. Chicago would prove to be no match for the powerful Canadiens, as they would sweep the Black Hawks, including a Stanley Cup clinching win in overtime in the 4th game, to win the 1944 Stanley Cup.

1943–44 Detroit Red Wings season

The 1943–44 Detroit Red Wings season was the 18th season of the Detroit NHL franchise. The Red Wings qualified for the playoffs, losing in the first round to the Chicago Black Hawks.

1943–44 Montreal Canadiens season

The 1943–44 Montreal Canadiens season was the club's 35th season, 27th in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team would win the Stanley Cup for the fifth time. Bill Durnan would join the club as its new goaltender and he won the Vezina Trophy in his rookie season.

1943–44 New York Rangers season

The 1943–44 New York Rangers season was the 18th season for the team in the National Hockey League (NHL). During the regular season, the Rangers had a 6–39–5 record and compiled 17 points, the fewest of any team in franchise history. New York finished in last place in the NHL.

1943–44 Toronto Maple Leafs season

The 1943–44 Toronto Maple Leafs season was Toronto's 27th season in the National Hockey League (NHL).

1944 Stanley Cup Finals

The 1944 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven series between the Chicago Black Hawks and the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens would win the series 4–0 to win their first Stanley Cup since they defeated Chicago in 1931.

Bob McDonald (ice hockey)

Robert Daniel McDonald (January 4, 1923 – October 29, 1977) was a Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played in one National Hockey League game for the New York Rangers during the 1943–44 NHL season. He was born in Toronto, Ontario.

Dean Prentice

Dean Sutherland Prentice (born October 5, 1932) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey left winger who played in the National Hockey League for 22 seasons between 1952–53 and 1973–74. Over his NHL career, Prentice played for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota North Stars.

Prentice played 1378 career NHL games, scoring 391 goals and 469 assists for 860 points.

Dean and his wife June have two daughters, Kelly and Kerry.

His brother, Eric, played 5 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1943–44 NHL season. Former Alberta premier Jim Prentice is Dean's nephew (and Eric's son).

Don Raleigh

James Donald Raleigh (June 27, 1926 – August 21, 2012) was a professional ice hockey player who played centre.

Frank Boucher

François Xavier "Raffles" Boucher (October 7, 1901 – December 12, 1977) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and executive. Boucher played the forward position for the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers in the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Vancouver Maroons in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). Frank later became coach and the general manager of the New York Rangers.

George Abbott (ice hockey)

George Henry Abbott (August 3, 1911 – December 31, 1996) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played in one National Hockey League game for the Boston Bruins during the 1943–44 NHL season. He was born in Loughborough Township in Frontenac County and was raised in Sydenham.

Hec Highton

Hector Salisbury Highton (December 10, 1923 – September 28, 1985) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender who played twenty-four games in the National Hockey League with the Chicago Black Hawks during the 1943–44 NHL season. On January 7, 1944, he was sent to the Providence Reds of the American Hockey League with Gord Buttrey and $10,000 for goaltender Mike Karakas. He retired in 1951 after a stint with the Pacific Coast Hockey League.

James Jamieson (ice hockey)

James "Jimmy" Jamieson (March 21, 1922 – December 26, 1985) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played in one National Hockey League game for the New York Rangers during the 1943–44 NHL season.

Lloyd Mohns

Lloyd Warren Mohns (July 31, 1921 – January 24, 2005) was a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played in one National Hockey League game for the New York Rangers during the 1943–44 NHL season.

Nakina Smith

For the Canadian ice hockey player born 1992, see Dalton Smith.

Joseph Dalton "Nakina" Smith (July 26, 1913 – March 19, 1982) was a professional ice hockey player.

Smith played hockey for 19 seasons, including ten games in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings during the 1943–44 NHL season.

Punch line (ice hockey)

The Punch line was a famous ice hockey line for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1940s. It consisted of Elmer Lach at center, Toe Blake on left wing, and Maurice Richard on the right side.

During their time together, they led the Canadiens to two Stanley Cup victories. During the 1944–45 NHL season, the three finished first (Lach), second (Richard), and third (Blake) in scoring for the league. They would also form the forward line for the first all-star team in that same season. Richard would be the first team all-star right wing for all but one year while with Blake and Lach.

Rudy Zunich

Rudolph Ralph John Zunich (November 24, 1910 – March 14, 1974) was a professional ice hockey defenseman who played in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings for 2 games during the 1943–44 NHL season. He was held pointless, but he did register a minor penalty. Although Rudolph never registered a point in the NHL, he went on to pursue the life of a hockey coach.

Walt Farrant

Walter Leslie "Whitey" Farrant (August 12, 1912 – October 2, 1977) was a Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played in one National Hockey League game for the Chicago Black Hawks during the 1943–44 NHL season.

March 21 Toronto Maple Leafs 3–1 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
Moe Morris (1) – pp – 06:07
George Boothman (1) – pp – 18:35
First period No scoring
Jackie Hamilton (1) – 12:24 Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period 02:49 – shToe Blake (1)
Paul Bibeault Goalie stats Bill Durnan
March 23 Toronto Maple Leafs 1–5 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Reg Hamilton (1) – pp – 08:30 Second period 01:48 – Maurice Richard (1)
02:03 – Maurice Richard (2)
16:46 – Maurice Richard (3)
No scoring Third period 01:00 – pp – Maurice Richard (4)
08:51 – Maurice Richard (5)
Paul Bibeault Goalie stats Bill Durnan
March 25 Montreal Canadiens 2–1 Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
Glen Harmon (1) – 09:57 First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 08:06 – George Boothman (2)
Ray Getliffe (1) – 09:43 Third period No scoring
Bill Durnan Goalie stats Paul Bibeault
March 28 Montreal Canadiens 4–1 Toronto Maple Leafs Maple Leaf Gardens Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Gerry Heffernan (1) – 15:55
Toe Blake (2) – 18:45
Second period No scoring
Murph Chamberlain (1) – pp – 12:57
Murph Chamberlain (2) – 19:48
Third period 09:53 – ppTed Kennedy (1)
Bill Durnan Goalie stats Paul Bibeault
March 30 Toronto Maple Leafs 0–11 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period 16:02 – Ray Getliffe (2)
17:39 – Phil Watson (1)
No scoring Second period 00:27 – Maurice Richard (6)
10:33 – shMurph Chamberlain (3)
No scoring Third period 02:27 – Butch Bouchard (1)
07:58 – Toe Blake (3)
08:37 – Toe Blake (4)
09:17 – Maurice Richard (7)
10:33 – Ray Getliffe (3)
11:34 – Buddy O'Connor (1)
15:41 – pp – Murph Chamberlain (4)
Paul Bibeault Goalie stats Bill Durnan
March 21 Chicago Black Hawks 2–1 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period 12:18 – ppSyd Howe (1)
No scoring Second period No scoring
Bill Mosienko (1) – 07:12
Doug Bentley (1) – 07:56
Third period No scoring
Mike Karakas Goalie stats Connie Dion
March 23 Chicago Black Hawks 1–4 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
No scoring Second period 03:00 – Joe Carveth (1)
19:10 – ppSyd Howe (2)
George Allen (1) – 11:18
Mud Bruneteau (1) – 16:06
Third period 00:21 – Don Grosso (1)
Mike Karakas Goalie stats Connie Dion
March 26 Detroit Red Wings 0–2 Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period 11:06 – Joe Cooper (1)
No scoring Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period 11:30 – Clint Smith (1)
Connie Dion Goalie stats Mike Karakas
March 28 Detroit Red Wings 1–7 Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Stadium Recap  
Carl Liscombe (1) – 06:00 First period 04:44 – Doug Bentley (2)
11:09 – ppBill Mosienko (2)
16:54 – Clint Smith (2)
No scoring Second period 01:42 – Clint Smith (3)
15:30 – Doug Bentley (3)
19:18 – Doug Bentley (4)
No scoring Third period 19:57 – Fido Purpur (1)
Connie Dion Goalie stats Mike Karakas
March 30 Chicago Black Hawks 5–2 Detroit Red Wings Olympia Stadium Recap  
Doug Bentley (5) – pp – 18:23 First period 06:59 – Bill Quackenbush (1)
No scoring Second period No scoring
Johnny Gottselig (1) – 03:37
Doug Bentley (6) – 08:10
Doug Bentley (7) – 12:30
George Allen (2) – 18:56
Third period 08:40 – Joe Carveth (2)
Mike Karakas Goalie stats Connie Dion
April 4 Chicago Black Hawks 1–5 Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
No scoring First period 08:37 – Phil Watson (2)
Clint Smith (4) – pp – 10:11 Second period 06:35 – ppToe Blake (5)
10:58 – Ray Getliffe (4)
No scoring Third period 04:47 – Murph Chamberlain (5)
18:07 – Ray Getliffe (5)
Mike Karakas Goalie stats Bill Durnan
April 6 Montreal Canadiens 3–1 Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period No scoring
Maurice Richard (8) – 13:00 Second period No scoring
Maurice Richard (9) – 12:16
Maurice Richard (10) – 15:33
Third period 19:59 – John Harms (1)
Bill Durnan Goalie stats Mike Karakas
April 9 Montreal Canadiens 3–2 Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Stadium Recap  
No scoring First period 05:14 – George Allen (3)
Toe Blake (6) – 02:02 Second period No scoring
Mike McMahon (1) – 05:47
Phil Watson (3) – 06:42
Third period 04:19 – John Harms (2)
Bill Durnan Goalie stats Mike Karakas
April 13 Chicago Black Hawks 4–5 OT Montreal Canadiens Montreal Forum Recap  
George Allen (4) – 05:12 First period 08:48 – Elmer Lach (1)
John Harms (3) – pp – 07:30
George Allen (5) – pp – 09:12
Doug Bentley (8) – 10:09
Second period No scoring
No scoring Third period 10:02 – Elmer Lach (2)
16:05 – Maurice Richard (11)
17:20 – Maurice Richard (12)
No scoring First overtime period 09:12 – Toe Blake (7)
Mike Karakas Goalie stats Bill Durnan
1943–44 NHL season
Teams
See also
1910s
1920s
1930s
1940s
1950s
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.