The 1950-51 NHL season was the 34th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens four games to one for the Stanley Cup to win their fifth Cup in seven years.
In order to provide better contrast when viewing teams on black and white television, the league had its six member teams pick what jersey (light or dark) they'd wear at home. Montreal chose their red jersey, the Rangers their blue while the other four teams adopted their white jerseys for use at home.
The biggest trade in NHL history at the time took place in July of 1950 with Sugar Jim Henry, Gaye Stewart, Bob Goldham, and Metro Prystai of Chicago going to Detroit for Harry Lumley, Black Jack Stewart, Al Dewsbury, Don Morrison, and Pete Babando, an exchange of nine players altogether.
Joe Primeau was named coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs with Hap Day kicked upstairs to assistant general manager. Toronto came flying out of the gate, undefeated in 11 games. Al Rollins had a great year, finishing with a 1.75 goals against average in 40 games. The Leafs had hoped to have Rollins share the Vezina Trophy with Turk Broda, but the league decided Rollins alone would be the recipient. The Leafs' .679 win percentage remains their all time best for a season, despite the fact that they were second in the league standings behind Detroit.
With the New York Rangers slumping this season, they hired a hypnotist, Dr. David Tracy, to help relax the team. The treatment remained in doubt and the Rangers lost to Boston November 12th. Asked why the treatment didn't work, Dr. Tracy said that he should have worked with the goaltender (Chuck Rayner) as he wasn't relaxed enough.
Montreal fans were excited when it was reported that two junior stars, Jean Beliveau and Bernie Geoffrion, would be given a trial in a December 16th game with the Rangers. The Canadiens played a 1-1 tie before 14,158 fans. Geoffrion scored the Canadiens goal in his debut.
Chicago was in third place at mid-season when bad luck struck. Their captain, Black Jack Stewart, ruptured a disc in his back and had to undergo surgery. He was finished for the season and his career was in jeopardy. Aggravating things were injuries to Gus Bodnar and Bill Gadsby. The Black Hawks won only two games in the second half and finished last.
In March, Rocket Richard ran into trouble in a game with Detroit. Richard was tripped and rose with a cut between the eyes. No penalty was called and Richard commenced an argument with referee Hugh McLean. He continued his argument too long and was given a misconduct penalty. Richard then skated to the penalty box and found Leo Reise of Detroit there to welcome him with derisive remarks which infuriated Richard, who then punched Reise, and when linesman Jim Primeau rushed to intervene, Richard took a poke at him and Richard was given a game misconduct. The Canadiens took a train to New York for a game against the Rangers, and the next morning, Richard encountered referee McLean and linesman Primeau in the lobby of the Picadilly Hotel. No punches were thrown, but Richard grabbed McLean by the tie and then Primeau intervened. Considerable profanity filled the air, but cooler heads separated the trio before fists could fly. NHL President Clarence Campbell took a dim view of the matter and fined the Rocket $500 for conduct prejudicial to the welfare of hockey.
The Detroit Red Wings got hot in the second half, overtaking Toronto and finished in first place again, becoming the first team with more than 100 points. Gordie Howe led the NHL in goals, assists, and points while goaltender Terry Sawchuk won the Calder Trophy as the league's best rookie. Sawchuk set a record for most wins by a goalie, as he was in net for all of Detroit's 44 victories.
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||44||13||13||101||236||139|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||41||16||13||95||212||138|
|New York Rangers||70||20||29||21||61||169||201|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||13||47||10||36||171||280|
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||43||43||86|
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||65||42||24||66|
|Max Bentley||Toronto Maple Leafs||67||21||41||62|
|Sid Abel||Detroit Red Wings||69||23||38||61|
|Milt Schmidt||Boston Bruins||62||22||39||61|
|Ted Kennedy||Toronto Maple Leafs||63||18||43||61|
|Ted Lindsay||Detroit Red Wings||67||24||35||59|
Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Al Rollins||Toronto Maple Leafs||40||2373||70||1.77||27||5||8||5|
|Terry Sawchuk||Detroit Red Wings||70||4200||139||1.99||44||13||13||11|
|Turk Broda||Toronto Maple Leafs||31||1827||68||2.23||14||11||5||6|
|Gerry McNeil||Montreal Canadiens||70||4200||184||2.63||25||30||15||6|
|Jack Gelineau||Boston Bruins||70||4200||197||2.81||22||30||18||4|
|Chuck Rayner||New York Rangers||66||3940||87||2.85||19||28||19||2|
|Emile Francis||New York Rangers||5||260||14||3.23||1||1||2||0|
|Harry Lumley||Chicago Black Hawks||64||3785||246||3.90||12||41||10||3|
|Marcel Pelletier||Chicago Black Hawks||6||355||29||4.90||1||5||0||0|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
All dates in 1951
The second seed Toronto Maple Leafs eliminated the fourth seed Boston Bruins in five games, and the third seed Montreal Canadiens upset first overall Detroit Red Wings in six, setting up a Leafs – Canadiens Stanley Cup final series, won by the Leafs 4–1.
|1||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 1 (One tie)Edit
Having last met in the 1949 Semi-finals, the Leafs dispatched the Bruins again by a 4-1 series score with one game ending in a tie, the last playoff tie in NHL history.
Game 1 at Maple Leaf Gardens saw two rookie goalies play their first career playoff game. The Bruins Jack Gelineau would record his only career playoff shutout in Game 1 while the Leafs Al Rollins had a fantastic regular season and won the Vezina Trophy. Game 1 wouldn't turn out well for Rollins who gave up a goal to Lorne Ferguson at 14:48 of the first period. Less than two minutes later, Rollins was knocked out of the series after a collision with the Bruins Pete Horeck. Veteran goalie Turk Broda, who'd retire the next season, stepped in for Rollins. Broda gave up a goal early in the third period to Woody Dumart and Gelineau stopped all 24 Leaf shots for a 2-0 win.
Game 2 at Toronto was a rough affair that had a very strange ending. After Bill Barilko put the Leafs up 1-0, he'd become involved in several incidents. The second period saw seven fights break out and Barilko received a game misconduct for a hit on Dunc Fisher that resulted in Fisher leaving the game on a stretcher. Johnny Peirson tied the game up at the 9:26 of the second. The game went scoreless in the third, resulting in overtime. The first OT period was also scoreless and it was 11:45pm on a Saturday night. The city of Toronto had a curfew law that prohibited professional sporting events from occurring on Sunday. As a result, the game ended after one overtime period and was declared a draw. The game is not officially counted in NHL game registers though the statistics in the game are. In OT, Johnny Peirson suffered a broken cheek and was lost for the remainder of the series.
Game 3 at Boston Garden saw the 36 year old Broda play brilliantly and shut the Bruins out. Cal Gardner opened the scoring at 3:02 of the second period on a solo rush. Stopped in front of the Bruins net by Bill Quackenbush and Murray Henderson, he managed to get off a shot as he was falling that eluded Gelineau. Fern Flaman got revenge for the Bruins trading him with a Power play goal on a point shot at 13:11. Max Bentley added a goal in the third period and the series was tied.
Game 4 at Boston saw the Leafs outlast the Bruins who opened the scoring at 7:50 of the first period with Dunc Fisher's only point of the series. The Leafs Sid Smith evened the score on the power play with the Bruins Bill Ezinicki in the box. Max Bentley put the Leafs up for good two minutes later. Barilko's second of the series in the third period finished a 3-1 win and a 2-1-1 series lead for the Leafs.
Game 5 at Toronto was held after a three day layoff. With Gord Henry replacing Jack Gelineau in the Bruins net, the Leafs dominated the ailing Bruins with two goals by Joe Klukay (including one shorthanded), Fleming Mackell and Ted Kennedy before Bill Ezinicki scored a consolation goal for the Bruins.
Game 6 at Boston saw the Leafs win the series with a 6-0 whitewashing of the Bruins with Gord Henry again in net. Klukay scored twice with individual markers by Kennedy, Mackell, Sid Smith and Tod Sloan. The Leafs took the series 4-1-1.
|1||March 28||Boston Bruins||2-0||Toronto Maple Leafs||1-0|
|2||March 31||Boston Bruins||1-1 (OT)||Toronto Maple Leafs||1-0-1|
|3||April 1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3-0||Boston Bruins||1-1-1|
|4||April 3||Toronto Maple Leafs||3-1||Boston Bruins||2-1-1|
|5||April 7||Boston Bruins||1-4||Toronto Maple Leafs||1-1-3|
|6||April 8||Toronto Maple Leafs||6-0||Boston Bruins||4-1-1|
Montreal Canadiens 4, Detroit Red Wings 2Edit
|March 27||Montreal Canadiens||3||Detroit Red Wings||2||4 OT|
|March 29||Montreal Canadiens||1||Detroit Red Wings||0||3 OT|
|March 31||Detroit Red Wings||2||Montreal Canadiens||0|
|April 3||Detroit Red Wings||4||Montreal Canadiens||1|
|April 5||Montreal Canadiens||5||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|April 7||Detroit Red Wings||2||Montreal Canadiens||3|
Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
|April 11||Montreal Canadiens||2||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||OT-Smith|
|April 14||Toronto Maple Leafs||2||Montreal Canadiens||3||OT-M. Richard|
|April 17||Montreal Canadiens||1||Toronto Maple Leafs||2||OT-Kennedy|
|April 19||Montreal Canadiens||2||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||OT-Watson|
|April 21||Montreal Canadiens||2||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||OT-Barilko (2:53)|
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 1
Playoff Scoring LeadersEdit
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Maurice Richard||Montreal Canadiens||11||9||4||13|
|Max Bentley||Toronto Maple Leafs||11||2||11||13|
|Sid Smith||Toronto Maple Leafs||11||7||3||10|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:||Detroit Red Wings|
|Art Ross Memorial Trophy:||Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:||Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:||Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings|
|Vezina Trophy:||Al Rollins, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings||G||Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers|
|Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings||D||Jimmy Thomson, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Bill Quackenbush, Boston Bruins||D||Leo Reise, Jr., Detroit Red Wings|
|Milt Schmidt, Boston Bruins||C||Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings (tied)
|Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings||RW||Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens|
|Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings||LW||Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1950-51 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Alex Delvecchio, Detroit Red Wings
- Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
- Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
- Dollard St. Laurent, Montreal Canadiens
- Danny Lewicki, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1950-51 (listed with their last team):
- Joe Carveth, Detroit Red Wings
- Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
- Wally Stanowski, New York Rangers
- Pat Egan, New York Rangers
- Buddy O'Connor, New York Rangers
- Bill Barilko, Toronto Maple Leafs
Regular Season Only
- Montreal: 502,403
- Toronto: 471,516
- Detroit: 400,731
- New York: 349,251
- Chicago: 330,341
- Boston: 308,650
An incredible video featuring the 1951 off-season activities of 15 NHL players in the days when most worked during the summer. Brief, excellent game footage of each is shown. Players featured are Ted Lindsay, Johnny Peirson, Bill Mosienko, Bill Gadsby, Bill Juzda, Leo Reise, Jack Gelineau, Edgar Laprade, Doug and Max Bentley, Chuck Rayner, Gus Mortson, Pentti Lund, Glen Harmon, Elmer Lach.
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 4th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
|1950–51 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game • 1951 Stanley Cup Finals|
|National Hockey League|