The 1956-57 NHL season was the 40th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Boston Bruins four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.

Regular Season[edit | edit source]

On October 1, it was announced that Dick Irvin had resigned as coach of Chicago due to ill health. He was suffering from bone cancer and had been ill for two years and had been hospitalized in Montreal. Irvin had been several days late to training camp. Tommy Ivan took over as coach. Later in the season, it was reported that Irvin had undergone minor surgery for anemia at Ross Memorial Hospital. Irvin died on May 15, 1957.

Dave Trottier, the former Montreal Maroons star, died November 13, 1956 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was 50 years old.

Ted Lindsay, Detroit's star left wing, became the fourth player to score 300 career goals on November 18 when he picked up two goals in an 8-3 pasting of the Montreal Canadiens. The other players to reach this prestigious mark were Nels Stewart, Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe (who played opposite Lindsay for most of the latter's career).

On January 5, the Rangers and the Black Hawks played an afternoon game at Madison Square Garden where the Rangers beat the Black Hawks 4-1. This game was broadcast on the Columbia Broadcast System network (CBS). Glen Skov spoiled Lorne "Gump" Worsley's would-be shutout with a goal in the third period.

Montreal beat Toronto 2-1 at the Forum in Montreal on January 10 and moved into first place. The game was hard-fought and referee Frank Udvari found it necessary to rule with an iron hand that angered the fans. Fans thought he was being filthy, calling chippy penalties against the Habs and deliberately failing to call hooking and holding penalties by the Maple Leafs. The blow-off came in the last two minutes of the game. Maurice Richard received a high-sticking penalty. At 18:14, knowing his Maple Leafs were in danger, Toronto coach Howie Meeker pulled goaltender Ed Chadwick for six attackers. Here, Dick Duff scored the tying goal, causing Richard, arguably the most popular and maybe the most outstanding player in Canadiens history, to go berserk and commence a heated argument with Udvari, and Richard banged his stick on the ice. He might have attacked Udvari if his teammates hadn't restrained him. Fans threw programmes, paper cups, hats and other debris and the game was held up. When it did resume, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion set up Don Marshall for the winning goal with a mere 6 seconds left to play. Although the fans were pleased with the outcome, an angry hum commenced as the players and officials left the ice. Udvari had to be escorted to his dressing room by police and ushers. A large part of the crowd now directed its attention to NHL President Clarence Campbell seated in his box seat and he became the target of jeers and threats. The situation began to show some of the aspects of the Richard Riot of two years previous when Richard had been suspended for an attack on an official. It was at least 30 minutes before Campbell was able to leave under police protection.

Terry Sawchuk had been playing well and was a candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy, when he came down with mononucleosis. He came back too soon and by January 16, he announced his retirement from hockey, a temporary one as he would be back in Detroit next season.

Glenn Hall wasn't as good as the previous season, but led the Detroit Red Wings to first place. Hall had played only two games prior to 1955-56, but had shown such promise Sawchuk was sent off.

Rule Changes[edit | edit source]

At the start of this season, the NHL changed the way power plays work. Prior to this season, a team could score as many goals as they wanted in a two minute power play with the penalised player remaining in the penalty box. The NHL changed it so that when a goal is scored on a two minute power play, the power play is finished. The reason for this was because the Montreal Canadiens were so dominate on the power play, the NHL needed a way of ensuring parity. The previous season saw the Canadiens score 26% of all the league's power play goals. Oddly enough, the number of power play goals league-wide actually increased from 251 to 265 after the rule changed. Montreal though, scored 10 fewer power play goals.

Final Standings[edit | edit source]

National Hockey League GP W L T Pts GF GA
Detroit Red Wings 70 38 20 12 88 198 157
Montreal Canadiens 70 35 23 12 82 210 155
Boston Bruins 70 34 24 12 80 195 174
New York Rangers 70 26 30 14 66 184 227
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 21 34 15 57 174 192
Chicago Black Hawks 70 16 39 15 47 169 225

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 Leaders[edit | edit source]

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 44 45 89 72
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 70 30 55 85 103
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 69 33 51 84 105
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 27 50 77 60
Ed Litzenberger Chicago Black Hawks 70 32 32 64 48

Leading Goaltenders[edit | edit source]

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 61 3660 122 2.00 31 18 12 9
Glenn Hall Detroit Red Wings 70 4200 156 2.23 38 20 12 4
Terry Sawchuk Boston Bruins 34 2040 81 2.38 18 10 6 2
Don Simmons Boston Bruins 26 1560 63 2.42 13 9 4 4
Ed Chadwick Toronto Maple Leafs 70 4200 186 2.66 21 34 15 5
Al Rollins Chicago Black Hawks 70 4080 222 3.17 16 39 15 3
Gump Worsley New York Rangers 68 4080 217 3.24 26 28 14 3

Stanley Cup Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Playoff Bracket[edit | edit source]

  Semifinals Finals
                 
1 Detroit Red Wings 1  
3 Boston Bruins 4  
    3 Boston Bruins 1
  2 Montreal Canadiens 4
2 Montreal Canadiens 4
4 New York Rangers 1  

Boston Bruins 4, Detroit Red Wings 1[edit | edit source]

The Bruins and Red Wings last met in the 1953 Semi-finals where Boston upset first place Detroit in six games. The Bruins would accomplish another upset in 1957, beating first place Detroit in five games. Rookie Don Simmons outplayed Glenn Hall while the Bruins line of Don McKenney, Real Chevrefils and Larry Regan held the league's two top scorers, Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, to 2 goals each.

Game 1 at the Detroit Olympia saw the Wings jump out to an early lead on a goal by Ted Lindsay 50 seconds in. Bruins fourth liner Jack Caffery scored the only playoff goal of his career late in the first period to tie the game. Lindsay took a boarding penalty at the end of the first period that would prove costly as Bruins defenseman Doug Mohns scored what would be the winner on the Power play 38 seconds into the second period. Real Chevrefils added another early in the third period as the Bruins stunned the Red Wings 3-1.

Game 2 at Detroit saw the Red Wings special teams capitalize in a rough game where 20 penalties were called. After Red Kelly put Detroit up 1-0 in the first period, Lindsay won a face-off back to Gordie Howe whose one-timer beat Bruins goalie Don Simmons low to the stick side. After Norm Ullman went off for cross-checking, Metro Prystai scored a Shorthanded goal for a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. Alex Delvecchio and Billy Dea added power play goals in the second period to make it 5-0. With Fern Flaman in the box, Lorne Ferguson smacked in a rebound to make it 6-0 Detroit. The Bruins got on the board when Fleming Mackell tipped in a backhand shot by Bob Armstrong. Ullman countered with his first career playoff goal. With a little over two minutes to play, Leo Boivin scored on a give-and-go with Don McKenney which made little difference as the Wings trounced the Bruins 7-2.

Game 3 at the Boston Garden saw the Bruins never trail. First period goals by Vic Stasiuk and Leo Boivin was countered by a power play goal by Alex Delvecchio for a 2-1 Bruins lead. Leo Labine potted one late in the second period but Gordie Howe and Billy Dea tied it up three minutes into the third period. Veteran Cal Gardner was the hero with the winner at 13:28 for a 4-3 Bruins win.

Game 4 at Boston was a clean game with relatively few penalties called. Don Simmons shutout the Red Wings and goals by Real Chevrefils and Vic Stasiuk saw the Bruins take a stranglehold on the series with a 2-0 victory.

Game 5 at Detroit saw Delvecchio stake the Red Wings to a 1-0 first period lead. Bruins fourth liner Carl "Buddy" Boone scored his first career playoff goal in the second period to tie it up 1-1. The Wings kept pressing and early in the third period, Ted Lindsay put them up 2-1. However, the Bruins exploded for three straight goals by Labine, Mohns and Gardner for a 4-2 lead. Metro Prystai made it 4-3 with two minutes to go but despite pulling Glenn Hall, the Red Wings couldn't tie it up. Though registering only 15 shots on the goal, the Bruins won 4-3 and took the series in five games.

# Date Visitor Score Home Record
1 March 26 Boston Bruins 3-1 Detroit Red Wings 1-0
2 March 28 Boston Bruins 2-7 Detroit Red Wings 1-1
3 March 31 Detroit Red Wings 3-4 Boston Bruins 1-2
4 April 2 Detroit Red Wings 0-2 Boston Bruins 1-3
5 April 4 Boston Bruins 4-3 Detroit Red Wings 4-1

Montreal Canadiens 4, Boston Bruins 1[edit | edit source]

Also see 1957 Stanley Cup Finals.

NHL Awards[edit | edit source]

56-57NHL.jpg
1956-57 NHL Awards
Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy: Larry Regan, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Andy Hebenton, New York Rangers
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams[edit | edit source]

First All-Star Team

First Team   Position   Second Team
Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings G Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Ed Litzenberger, Chicago Black Hawks
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Real Chevrefils, Boston Bruins

Debuts[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1956-57 (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 1956-57 (listed with their last team):

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Three minutes of highlights from Game 2 of the Bruins-Red Wings 1957 Semi-finals with French commentary. Goals by Gordie Howe, Lorne Ferguson, Fleming Mackell and Leo Boivin are shown.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


NHL Seasons

1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60 | 1960-61

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