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The 1955-56 NHL season was the 39th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup as they beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.

League BusinessEdit

At a governors meeting in December, a discussion took place concerning the uniforms worn by officials. It was contended that the present orange and black uniforms were confusing to players and fans, particularly when red uniforms are worn by either of the participating teams. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the existing uniforms showed up black on television. It was unanimously agreed that officials uniforms shoud be changed to black and white vertical stripes.

With Montreal frequently racking up two or three goals on any one power play, NHL President Clarence Campbell said he'd like the penalty rule revised to a penalized player returning to the ice when a power play goal is scored on a minor penalty. The Canadiens were the lone club to vote against the new legislation.

Regular SeasonEdit

Sawchuk congrats-12Oct1955

Terry Sawchuk congratulated after his first win as a Bruin, October 12, 1955.

Boston Bruins GM Lynn Patrick made a huge trade in June 1955 in which veteran Ed Sandford, Real Chevrefils, Warren Godfrey and two others were sent to the Detroit Red Wings for Terry Sawchuk, Vic Stasiuk, Marcel Bonin and Lorne Davis. Sawchuk was the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and was seen as the solution to the lack of an elite Bruins goaltender since Frank Brimsek was traded in 1949. Stasiuk would immediately blossom in Boston and become a member of the famed "Uke Line" with John Bucyk and Bronco Horvath two years later. Patrick would re-acquire Chevrefils in 1956 and Sandford would retire in 1956. Only Godfrey played significant time for the Red Wings. The trade was a major coup for the Bruins and led to another big trade two years later.

The streak of seven straight seasons at the top of the NHL held by the Detroit Red Wings' dynasty came to an end as the Montreal Canadiens were tops. The Canadiens set a new record for wins in a season with 45. The Canadiens had a new coach, their one-time great former All-Star left-winger, Hector "Toe" Blake.

Dick Irvin, formerly the coach in Montreal, whom Habs' GM Frank Selke Sr. found a little truculent, took over as coach in Chicago, but could not get them out of the cellar, though they did improve. It was sort of a homecoming for Irvin as he started his coaching career with Chicago in 1930.

HighlightsEdit

When the Chicago Black Hawks went to the Montreal Forum on October 22, Irvin was presented with a set of silver flatware by William Northey, representing the Canadian Arena Company. In the game itself, rookie Henri Richard scored two goals as Montreal shut out Chicago 6-0.

On November 5, Jean Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds as Montreal beat Boston 4-3. The record for fastest hat trick still was held by Bill Mosienko with three goals in 21 seconds.

On January 11, a crowd of 15,570 delighted fans at Madison Square Garden watched the Rangers trounce the Canadiens 6-1. Pete Conacher was a star for the Rangers with two goals. Lou Fontinato and Maurice Richard had a gala fight and Fontinato knocked out Richard with a punch that required several stitches above Richard's eye.

14Jan1956-Pronovost Schmidt

Bruins coach Milt Schmidt congratulates Claude Pronovost after shutting out his own team, January 14, 1956.

The Boston Bruins were without Terry Sawchuk for the January 14, 1956 in Montreal and planned to start John Henderson in the nets. However, Henderson had equipment problems leaving Boston without a goalie. Canadiens practice goalie Claude Pronovost (brother of Wings Marcel Pronovost) was loaned to the Bruins and he proceeded to shut his own team out, 2-0. Pronovost made 31 saves and also took a delay of game penalty.

Montreal routed the Rangers 9-4 on February 18 as Beliveau had a hat trick and Richard two goals. The Rocket was incensed when referee Louis Maschio gave his brother Henri Richard a misconduct penalty and his teammates had to cool him off.

8Mar1956-Rollins Hergesheimer

Wally Hergesheimer scores on Al Rollins to make it 5-3 Rangers in the last Hawks home game played in St. Louis, March 8, 1956.

With poor attendance at home and having played three home games in Indianapolis during the 1953–54 season, and six home games in St. Louis in the 1954–55 season, the Chicago Black Hawks played another five home games in St. Louis in 1955-56 but for the last time. The New York Rangers won 6-4 in the last Chicago home game played in St. Louis on March 8, 1956. They also played the Boston Bruins in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 23, 1955 in a 3-3 tie.

Beliveau set a record for goals by a center when he scored his 45th goal on March 15. Maurice Richard was hurt in this game when he fell over Hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote's skate and went headlong into the goal. He required stitches and was taken to hospital for X-rays. The Rocket was back in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day as the Canadiens trounced the Rangers 7-2 and Richard had the hat trick.

The Bruins went into the last game of the season tied in points with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last playoff spot. Both teams had an identical 23-33-13 record. The Leafs last game was against the second place Red Wings while the Bruins faced last placed Chicago. The Black Hawks were spoilers, beating the Bruins 3-2, while the Leafs shutout the Red Wings 2-0.

Rookie Glenn Hall had a fabulous year with 12 shutouts and a 2.11 goals against average for the powerful Detroit Red Wings. He received the Calder Memorial Trophy over Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard.

Final StandingsEdit

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA
Montreal Canadiens 70 45 15 10 100 222 131
Detroit Red Wings 70 30 24 16 76 183 148
New York Rangers 70 32 28 10 74 204 203
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 24 33 13 61 153 181
Boston Bruins 70 23 34 13 59 147 185
Chicago Black Hawks 70 19 39 12 50 155 216

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Teams that qualify for the playoffs are indicated in bold.

Scoring LeadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 70 47 41 88 143
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 38 41 79 100
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 38 33 71 89
Bert Olmstead Montreal Canadiens 70 14 56 70 94
Tod Sloan Toronto Maple Leafs 70 37 29 66 100
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 19 47 66 59

Leading GoaltendersEdit

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

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 64 3840 119 1.86 42 12 10 7
Glenn Hall Detroit Red Wings 70 4200 147 2.10 30 24 16 12
Terry Sawchuk Boston Bruins 68 4080 177 2.60 22 33 13 9
Harry Lumley Toronto Maple Leafs 59 3527 159 2.70 21 28 10 3
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 70 4200 199 2.84 32 28 10 4
Al Rollins Chicago Black Hawks 58 3480 172 2.97 17 30 11 3

Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit

see 1956 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff BracketEdit

  Semifinals Finals
                 
1 Montreal Canadiens 4  
3 New York Rangers 1  
    1 Montreal Canadiens 4
  2 Detroit Red Wings 1
2 Detroit Red Wings 4
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 1  

Boston Bruins April 1956 Tour of NewfoundlandEdit

1956April-Bruins Exhibition team

Bruins team for the April 1956 Exhibition tour of Newfoundland.

In April 1956, the Bruins travelled across the island of Newfoundland, on an exhibition good-will tour playing in five arenas. Some Bruins played for the opposing team, including Terry Sawchuk playing goal for a team from Corner Brook. During the tour, the Bruins made hockey history by playing on an outdoor rink with artificial ice in the town of Bay Roberts on April 9, 1956. This would be just the second recorded outdoor game by an NHL team. [1]

NHL AwardsEdit

First Half WinnersEdit

Calder Memorial Trophy: Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gump Worsley, New York Rangers
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings

WinnersEdit

Prince of Wales Trophy: Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy: Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Memorial Trophy: Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

Award VotingEdit

All-Star TeamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers D Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Tod Sloan, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Bert Olmstead, Montreal Canadiens

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1955-56 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1955-56 (listed with their last team):

GalleryEdit

VideoEdit

Over nine minutes of highlights beginning with a minute of the Rangers-Canadiens Semi-finals then goals of all five games of the 1956 Stanley Cup Finals.

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit


NHL Seasons

1951-52 | 1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60

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