The 1960-61 NHL season was the 44th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. For the first time since 1950, two American based teams competed for the Stanley Cup and it was the Chicago Black Hawks beating the Detroit Red Wings four games to two. It was Chicago's first Cup win since 1938, but their last Cup won as of 2007.
On September 15th, 1960, Rocket Richard announced his retirement from hockey. During his career, he had lead all scorers with a record 544 goals plus 82 for the playoffs. Despite the league expanding the number of games in a season to 70 games from 50 since Richard's famous 50 goals in 50 games, Richard remained the only player to score 50 goals in a season, until this season.
Chicago now had a powerful team, especially its defence, which had Pierre Pilote, Al Arbour, Jack Evans and Elmer Vasko. It was reported that the old-time great defence player Eddie Shore had been stricken with a heart attack, but was resting comfortably in a Springfield hospital.
Jerry Toppazzini became the last regular position player to play goaltender during a October 16, 1960 game. Bruins goaltender Don Simmons was hurt in the last minute so Toppazzini volunteered to platoon in for Simmons and faced no shots.
Jack McCartan got his only NHL shutout for the Rangers by blanking the Chicago Black Hawks 2-0 on October 19th. Reg Fleming set a record with 37 penalty minutes in this game. They included three major penalties for battles with Dean Prentice, Eddie Shack and John Hanna, a misconduct, and a game misconduct.
During the October 23, 1960 game versus the Chicago Blackhawks at Boston, a fan threw a light bulb at goalie Glenn Hall. It hit Hall in the face, which allowed Don McKenney to tie the score 2-2 with 1:45 left to play. Several angry Blackhawks, including Ed Litzenberger, climbed into the stands and went after abusive fans that picked fights with the players. Litzenberger scored both Chicago goals.
For the November 19, 1960 game against the Detroit Red Wings, two changes were made to the Bruins line-up. In goal, the days of Don Simmons as a starting goaltender had passed. Struggling behind a weakened defense, Simmons was sent to the minors and 22 year old Bruce Gamble was recalled and played the rest of the season in the Bruins net. Willie O'Ree was also recalled for his second and final stint in the NHL. He wore jersey #25 and the changes sparked the Bruins, as they won 6-4 with Don McKenney scoring a Hat trick. O'Ree played the next four games but went pointless and was pulled from the line-up as the Bruins went winless in the remaining games in November.
On December 1st, the Canadiens, who had traded Andre Pronovost to Boston for Guy Gendron, defeated the Maple Leafs 6-3 at the Forum. Gendron had a goal, but the main feature was the 21 penalties referee Frank Udvari had to call, including several majors in the third period. Henri Richard took on Frank Mahovlich, Dickie Moore took on Bob Pulford and Marcel Bonin took on Bobby Baun. Toronto general manager-coach Punch Imlach was in a bad mood following the game and said to the press among other things that referee Udvari and linesman Loring Doolittle and George Hayes should have been picked as the three stars for the help they gave to Montreal. This was brought to the attention of NHL president Clarence Campbell who fined Imlach $200.
On December 18, 1960, O'Ree was inserted back into the Bruins line-up. He'd be a regular for the remainder of the season and record his first points in the next game on December 22, 1960 against Chicago. He assisted on the first goal of the game by André Pronovost and then 37 seconds later, assisted on a goal by Autry Erickson. The Bruins won 4-2 in the only multiple point game of O'Ree's NHL career. The Bruins had a 7-20-5 record entering the January 1, 1961 game against Montreal at the Boston Garden. O'Ree had switched to jersey #22 (which he'd wear for the remainder of the season) and entering the third period, the Bruins were leading 2-1. Just past the halfway mark, Leo Boivin sent O'Ree on a breakaway against Canadiens netminder Charlie Hodge. O'Ree fired a low shot to Hodge's glove side which proved to be the game winner as the Bruins triumphed 3-2. O'Ree also scored the winner on January 19, 1961 versus Detroit in a 4-2 victory. O'Ree scored in each of the last two games of the Bruins season and finished his last NHL season with 4 goals and 14 points.
Stan Mikita was helping to spark Chicago. He scored two goals in a 3-2 win over the Rangers January 4th and scored the winner the next night when the Black Hawks beat Boston 4-3 the following night.
Leo Lamoureux, former defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens, died in Indianapolis January 11th at age 45.
Chicago defeated the Rangers 4-3 March 8th. Gump Worsley pulled a hamstring muscle and Joe Shaefer replaced him with the score 1-1. The next night, the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs as Bernie Geoffrion hat the hat trick in a 6-1 pasting by the Canadiens.
Johnny Bower, who appeared on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy, strained a leg muscle and would have to take a rest. Cesare Maniago played in goal for Toronto on March 16th and lost 5-2. It looked like two players, Frank Mahovlich of Toronto and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion of Montreal, were going to hit 50 goals but Mahovlich ended up slumping near the end of the season and tallied 48. Geoffrion scored his 50th goal that night and got a wild ovation. He also added 45 assists and led the league in scoring.
Toronto played a 2-2 tie with the New York Rangers in their final game of the season and Bobby Baun was a victim of his own hard hitting. Camille Henry of the Rangers ran into Baun and Henry's skate cut Baun in the neck. Baun returned for the third period, but after the game while boarding the team bus, he began to gasp desperately. He groped for attention and waved his arms, and his teammates finally realized he was in trouble and rushed him to the hospital where an emergency operation was performed to permit breathing. Baun missed some action in the playoffs as the result of the injury.
|National Hockey League||GP||W||L||T||Pts||GF||GA||PIM|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||70||39||19||12||90||234||176||844|
|Chicago Black Hawks||70||29||24||17||75||198||180||1072|
|Detroit Red Wings||70||25||29||16||66||195||215||655|
|New York Rangers||70||22||38||10||54||204||248||591|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Bernie Geoffrion||Montreal Canadiens||64||50||45||95||29|
|Jean Beliveau||Montreal Canadiens||69||32||58||90||57|
|Frank Mahovlich||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||48||36||84||131|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||29||48||77||22|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||64||23||49||72||30|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|0||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||1|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||4|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1960-61 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Ted Green, Boston Bruins
- Chico Maki*, Chicago Black Hawks
- Bobby Rousseau, Montreal Canadiens
- Gilles Tremblay, Montreal Canadiens
- Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers
- Jean Ratelle, New York Rangers
- Cesare Maniago, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1960-61 (listed with their last team):
- Willie O'Ree, Boston Bruins
- Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
- Tod Sloan, Chicago Blackhawks
- Red Sullivan, New York Rangers
- Larry Regan, Toronto Maple Leafs
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 14th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
|National Hockey League|
|1960–61 NHL season by team|
|Teams||Boston · Chicago · Detroit · Montreal · New York · Toronto|
|See also||All-Star Game · 1961 Stanley Cup Finals|