The 1937-38 NHL season was the 21st season of the National Hockey League. Eight teams each played 48 games. The Chicago Black Hawks were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the final series.


Regular Season[edit | edit source]

Bill Dwyer could not come up with the capital required to retain his team and the NHL took full control of the New York Americans.

Dit Clapper scores, Howie Morenz Memorial Game, November 2, 1937.

The Howie Morenz Memorial Game, the NHL's second all-star game, was played November 2, 1937 and raised over $11,447, which, added to other contributions, established a fund of over $20,000 for the Morenz family. Prior to the start of the game, Howie Morenz's uniform and playing kit was auctioned and Joseph Cattarinich put down the winning bid of $500. The uniform was presented to Howie Morenz Jr. The NHL All-stars defeated a combined team of Canadiens and Maroons players 6-5.

Charlie Conacher was named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he had a big weekend at the expense of Chicago November 13 with a hat trick in a 7-3 win. He then scored 2 goals in a 3-3 tie. However, The Big Bomber ran into misfortune once more on November 18th in Montreal against the Canadiens when he dislocated his shoulder. The cycle of injuries had a cumulative effect on Conacher's nervous and physical condition and his doctor told him to retire from hockey. He did retire for the rest of the season, but would play again the next season, but was forever gone from the Leafs.

The New York Rangers lost their star center Neil Colville for a few games as the result of some horseplay that must have infuriated Lester Patrick. Defenceman Joe Cooper was pursuing a fad of slicing off neckties from teammates using a penknife. Colville threw up his hand only to receive a gash that required 11 stitches to close.

The New York Americans, with Ching Johnson and Hap Day to relieve Joe Jerwa and Al Murray on defence, were doing much better than usual. Earl Robertson, their new goaltender, was leading the Canadian Division in goaltending and ended up doing so at season's end. The Amerks also had Sweeney Schriner and Nels Stewart contributing in a nice way to the offence.

The Montreal Maroons, coached at first by King Clancy, settled into last place and president and general manager Tommy Gorman decided he'd take over as coach. He did even worse and the fans stayed away. Although the team did badly, one highlight was an 11-7 win over their rivals, the Canadiens, and Baldy Northcott had a hat trick in the game. There seemed to be nothing Gorman could do to revitalize the team and at one stretch the team lost 8 straight games. On March 17th, 1938, the Maroons played their last game against their rivals, the Canadiens. Russ Blinco became the first player to wear glasses during an NHL game. [1]

Detroit was the shockingly bad team of the American Division. After winning the Stanley Cup in 1937, they were reclining in the cellar of the Division. They had one bright moment when Carl Liscombe set a record for the fastest hat trick to this time (since broken by Bill Mosienko). Liscombe scored three goals in 1 minute and 52 seconds in a 5-1 win over Chicago.

On March 17th, 1938, Nels Stewart scored his 300th National Hockey League goal in a 5-3 loss to the Rangers.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

Canadian Division
Toronto Maple Leafs 48 24 15 9 151 127 57
New York Americans 48 19 18 11 110 111 49
Montreal Canadiens 48 18 17 13 123 128 49
Montreal Maroons 48 12 30 6 101 149 30

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

American Division
Boston Bruins 48 30 11 7 142 89 67
New York Rangers 48 27 15 6 149 96 60
Chicago Black Hawks 48 14 25 9 97 139 37
Detroit Red Wings 48 12 25 11 99 133 35

Scoring Leaders[edit | edit source]

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

Gord Drillon Toronto Maple Leafs 48 26 26 52 4
Syl Apps Toronto Maple Leafs 47 21 29 50 9
Paul Thompson Chicago Black Hawks 48 22 22 44 14
Georges Mantha Montreal Canadiens 47 23 19 42 12
Cecil Dillon New York Rangers 48 21 18 39 6
Bill Cowley Boston Bruins 48 17 22 39 8

Leading Goaltenders[edit | edit source]

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 W L T SO GAA
Tiny Thompson Boston Bruins 48 2970 89 30 11 7 7 1.80
Dave Kerr New York Rangers 48 2960 96 27 15 6 8 1.96
Earl Robertson New York Americans 48 3000 111 19 18 11 6 2.22
Wilf Cude Montreal Canadiens 48 2990 126 18 17 12 3 2.53
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 48 2980 127 24 15 9 6 2.56
Normie Smith Detroit Red Wings 47 2930 130 11 25 11 3 2.66
Mike Karakas Chicago Black Hawks 48 2980 139 14 25 9 1 2.80
Bill Beveridge Montreal Maroons 48 2980 149 12 30 6 2 3.00

Stanley Cup Playoffs[edit | edit source]

The Cinderella story of the century was the Chicago Black Hawks, who would barely made the playoffs, but proceeded to defeat the Canadiens, the Americans and the Maple Leafs to win the Cup with the record lowest regular-season winning percentage in the NHL.

Playoff Bracket[edit | edit source]

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
  C1  Toronto Maple Leafs 3  
    A1  Boston Bruins 0  
    C1  Toronto Maple Leafs 1
  A3  Chicago Black Hawks 3
  C2  New York Americans 2  
A2  New York Rangers 1  
C2  New York Americans 1
    A3  Chicago Black Hawks 2  
C3  Montreal Canadiens 1
  A3  Chicago Black Hawks 2  

Quarter-Finals[edit | edit source]

The New York Americans stunned the New York Rangers as Lorne Carr scored the winner in overtime in the third and deciding game.

The Canadiens beat the Hawks in game one of the quarterfinal, as Toe Blake had the hat trick. But Mike Karakas shut out the Canadiens in the second game and even though Georges Mantha appeared to win the game with a lucky goal in game three, Earl Seibert kept the Hawks from losing with a goal late in the game, and then the Hawks won the series in overtime.

Semi-Finals[edit | edit source]

In an upset, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Boston in the Series A Semi-Finals.

In the Series B Semi-Finals, it was Chicago and the New York Americans, who beat Chicago in game one 3-1. Game two was a great goaltenders battle between Mike Karakas and Earl Robertson. It appeared that the Americans were headed to their first Stanley Cup final when Nels Stewart scored with seconds left in the game, but referee Clarence Campbell disallowed the goal, saying Eddie Wiseman was in the goal crease. Cully Dahlstrom scored the goal that saved the Black Hawks. In New York, the deciding game saw Alex Levinsky of Chicago score the go-ahead goal, but the red light didn't go on. Investigation revealed that fans were holding the goal judge's hand so he could not signal the goal. Although the Amerks came close, they were unable to tie the score and the Black Hawks were in the finals.

Finals[edit | edit source]

see 1938 Stanley Cup Finals

NHL Awards[edit | edit source]

O'Brien Trophy: Toronto Maple Leafs
Prince of Wales Trophy: Boston Bruins
Calder Memorial Trophy: Cully Dahlstrom, Chicago Black Hawks
Hart Memorial Trophy: Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Gordie Drillon, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy: Tiny Thompson, Boston Bruins

All-Star Teams[edit | edit source]

1937-38 First Team NHL All-Stars.

First Team   Position   Second Team
Tiny Thompson, Boston Bruins G Dave Kerr, New York Rangers
Eddie Shore, Boston Bruins D Art Coulter, New York Rangers
Babe Siebert, Montreal Canadiens D Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks
Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins C Syl Apps, Toronto Maple Leafs
Cecil Dillon, New York Rangers

Gordie Drillon, Toronto Maple Leafs (tie)

Paul Thompson, Chicago Black Hawks LW Toe Blake, Montreal Canadiens
Lester Patrick, New York Rangers Coach Art Ross, Boston Bruins

Debuts[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1937-38 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last Games[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1937-38 (listed with their last team):

1938 Detroit Red Wings–Montreal Canadiens European tour[edit | edit source]

Normie Himes makes a save during the third game in Paris, France, April 29, 1938.

In April and May 1938, the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens played a nine-game exhibition series in England and France. It was the first time in the history of the NHL that its teams played games in Europe. The Canadiens won the series with a record of 5–3–1.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • As of 2020, this was the last season that a Toronto Maple Leafs player led the league in scoring.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

A minute worth of footage from the February 20, 1938 game won 3-2 by the Bruins over the New York Rangers. Fascinating footage including the Kraut Line in action, Milt Schmidt getting into a scrap, Eddie Shore with an open ice hit and a goal by Dit Clapper, assisted by Gord Pettinger on the Rangers Dave Kerr which would tie the game 2-2 at the 5:02 mark of the 3rd period.

Action from Game 1 of the 1938 Quarter-finals Rangers-Americans game on March 22, 1938. Two different views of a goal by Jack Beattie which tied the game in the second period are shown. The Americans won 2-1 in double overtime on a goal by John Sorrell.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Official NHL 75th Anniversary Commemorative Book, p.72.
NHL Seasons

1933-34 | 1934-35 | 1935-36 | 1936-37 | 1937-38 | 1938-39 | 1939-40 | 1940-41 | 1941-42

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