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.
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.
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.
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.
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||38||20||12||88||198||157||656|
|New York Rangers||70||26||30||14||66||184||227||870|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||21||34||15||57||174||192||829|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||16||39||15||47||169||225||809|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|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|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|1||Detroit Red Wings||1|
|4||New York Rangers||1|
Boston Bruins 4, Detroit Red Wings 1Edit
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.
|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 1Edit
Also see 1957 Stanley Cup Finals.
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):
- Larry Regan, Boston Bruins
- Moose Vasko, Chicago Black Hawks
- Ralph Backstrom, Montreal Canadiens
- Phil Goyette, Montreal Canadiens
- Bob Pulford, Montreal Canadiens
- Frank Mahovlich, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bob Pulford, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bob Baun, Toronto Maple Leafs
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):
- Cal Gardner, Boston Bruins
- Harry Watson, Chicago Black Hawks
- Marty Pavelich, Detroit Red Wings
- Gerry McNeil, Montreal Canadiens
- Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
|National Hockey League|
|1956–57 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game • 1957 Stanley Cup Finals|