The 1951-52 NHL season was the 35th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by sweeping the Montreal Canadiens four games to none.
Chicago, who had made a mammoth nine player deal the previous season, now decided to make the largest cash deal for players to this time by paying $75,000 for Jim McFadden, George Gee, Jimmy Peters, Clare Martin, Clare Raglan, and Max McNab.
On October 13, 1951, the Leafs played an afternoon pre-season versus the Chicago Blackhawks which was attended by her Highness, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The Princess asked Conn Smythe many questions about hockey while the Prince enjoyed the bodychecking. No goals were scored before the royal couple had to depart. The Leafs then played their home opener that evening against the Hawks but not before unfurling their Stanley Cup banner.
Conn Smythe offered $10,000 for anyone who found Bill Barilko, missing since August 26th. Barilko and Dr. Henry Hudson had left Rupert House on James Bay in the doctor's light plane for Timmins, Ontario after a weekend fishing trip and had not been found.
For the fourth straight season, the Detroit Red Wings finished first overall in the National Hockey League.
Montreal opened the season before a crowd of 15,100 fans as the Canadiens beat Chicago 4-2. Rocket Richard had a goal and Bernie Geoffrion had two. On the same night, Terry Sawchuk had his first shutout of the season as Detroit beat Boston 1-0.
Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were in attendance at the Montreal Forum, and Floyd Curry came alive with the hat trick and Richard scored two goals as Montreal beat the New York Rangers 6-1.
Inspired by the return of Black Jack Stewart to the lineup, Chicago had a rare trouncing of the Red Wings right at the Olympia, 6-2. During the game, Chicago's Gus Bodnar twisted his shoulder and Harry Lumley hurt a knee. Trainer Moe Roberts, who played his first game in the NHL for Boston in 1925-26, played the rest of the way in goal for Chicago and played quite well at age 46. Roberts would stand as the oldest person to ever play an NHL game until Gordie Howe returned to the NHL at age 51 in 1979.
Chicago wasn't drawing well and so they decided to experiment with afternoon games. It worked, as the largest crowd of the season, 13,600 fans, showed up for a January 20 game in which Chicago lost to Toronto 3-1.
Elmer Lach night was held March 8 at Montreal Forum as the Canadiens tied Chicago 4-4. 14,452 fans were on hand to see Lach presented with a car, rowboat, TV set, deepfreeze chest, bedroom and dining room suites, a refrigerator and many other articles.
On the last night of the season, March 23, 1952, with nothing at stake at Madison Square Garden, 3,254 fans saw Chicago's Bill Mosienko score the fastest hat trick in NHL history, 3 goals in 21 seconds. Lorne Anderson was the goaltender who gave up the goals to Chicago. Gus Bodnar also set a record with the fastest three assists in NHL history as he assisted on all three goals Mosienko scored. Chicago beat the New York Rangers 7-6.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||44||14||12||100||215||133||694|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||29||25||16||74||168||157||841|
|New York Rangers||70||23||34||13||59||192||219||532|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||17||44||9||43||158||241||627|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||47||39||86||78|
|Ted Lindsay||Detroit Red Wings||70||30||39||69||123|
|Elmer Lach||Montreal Canadiens||70||15||50||65||36|
|Don Raleigh||New York Rangers||70||19||42||61||14|
|Sid Smith||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||27||30||57||6|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEditAfter game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinal series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins a picture of Jim Henry and Maurice Richard is taken while they are shaking hands with Henry sporting a black eye and Richard bleeding around his left eye.
In the playoffs, Detroit finished 8-0, the first time a team had gone undefeated in the playoffs since the 1934-35 Montreal Maroons. The Wings scored 24 goals in the playoffs, compared to a combined 5 goals for their opponents.
|1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|3||Toronto Maple Leafs||0|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1951-52 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Leo Labine, Boston Bruins
- Real Chevrefils, Boston Bruins
- Kenny Wharram, Chicago Black Hawks
- Don Marshall, Montreal Canadiens
- Dickie Moore, Montreal Canadiens
- Wally Hergesheimer, New York Rangers
- Eric Nesterenko, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Leo Boivin, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1951-52 (listed with their last team):
- Bobby Bauer, Boston Bruins
- Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks
- Jack Stewart, Chicago Black Hawks
- Bep Guidolin, Chicago Black Hawks
- Turk Broda, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bill Juzda, Toronto Maple Leafs
Regular Season Only
- Montreal: 503,993
- Toronto: 467,356
- Detroit: 419,862
- New York: 376,645
- Chicago: 297,316
- Boston: 245,144
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 5th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- Ice hockey at the 1952 Winter Olympics
|1951–52 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game • 1952 Stanley Cup Finals|
|National Hockey League|