This season saw the NHL expand from the "Original Six" teams by adding six new franchises. The St. Louis Blues, California Seals, Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Los Angeles Kings were all put into the Western Division. On December 8, 1967, the California Seals were renamed the Oakland Seals.
This year also saw the addition of two new awards. With expansion came format change and with format change came a need for a new trophy for the winner of the newly formed West Division. The new trophy, called the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, was for the winner of the West while the older trophy, the Prince of Wales, was now to be given to the winner of the East Division. Because of that, the NHL increased its regular-season schedules from 70 games per club (14 games x five opponents) to 74 games per club (50 games with teams within its own division, 24 games with teams in the opposite division).
The other new award was the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which was named in honour of Bill Masterton who died on 15 January, 1968 after sustaining an injury during a game (the first time a NHL player had ever died directly as a result of an on-ice injury).
The minimum age of players subject to amateur draft was changed to 20.
There were a large number of holdouts this year. Three New York Ranger players, including Rod Gilbert, Arnie Brown and Orland Kurtenbach were fined $500 by their team. However, Ed Van Impe of the Flyers refused to sign his contract, followed by Earl Ingarfield, Al MacNeil, then Tim Horton of Toronto, Norm Ullman of Detroit and Ken Wharram and Stan Mikita of Chicago. Led by Alan Eagleson, the new NHL Players Association was up and running.
- Boston Bruins: London, Ontario
- Chicago Black Hawks: Chicago
- Detroit Red Wings: Detroit
- Los Angeles Kings: Guelph, Ontario
- Minnesota North Stars: Haliburton, Ontario
- Montreal Canadiens: Montreal
- New York Rangers: Kitchener, Ontario
- Oakland Seals: Port Huron, Michigan
- Philadelphia Flyers: Quebec City
- Pittsburgh Penguins: Brantford, Ontario
- St. Louis Blues: St. Louis
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Peterborough, Ontario
The Canadiens stumbled out of the gate. In their first west coast road trip, the Seals beat them 2-1 and the Kings beat them 4-2. The Habs lost quite a few more and were in last place by December. But by January, Jean Beliveau began to score and others were inspired also. The Habs got very hot, winning 12 consecutive games and then put together 10 more wins to take the East Division lead. Paced by Gump Worsley, who had 6 shutouts and a 1.98 goals against average and backstopped the team to the fewest goals allowed in the league, managed to keep first place thereafter. Worsley, for the first time, made the First All Star team.
The November 6, 1967 match versus Toronto saw a bench clearing brawl at 5:28 of the second period. With the Bruins leading 1-0 on an Orr Power play goal, Leafs Brian Conacher was killing a penalty and dumped the puck into the Bruins zone as Orr approached him. Conacher's stick came up and broke Orr's nose. John McKenzie starting pummelling Conacher, who fell to the ice. Orr then joined in on beating Conacher, which resulted in the Leafs bench clearing, followed by the Bruins. It was the first bench clearing brawl in the league since December 6, 1963. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Disaster struck during the December 9, 1967 Bruins-Leafs game in Toronto. In the first period while killing a penalty to Skip Krake, Bobby Orr began to carry the puck from in front of the Bruins net. He was hit with a clean check by Frank Mahovlich which broke his left collarbone. Amazingly, Orr played another penalty-killing shift before leaving the game. Later, a Mahovlich slap shot hit Ted Green above the knee and he was forced to leave the game. Green's injury caused him to miss only two games but Orr was out until Christmas.
Boston obtained Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield in a blockbuster trade with Chicago. This trade, as shown over time, heavily favored the Bruins. Coinciding with the rise of Bobby Orr, led to an improvement in Boston's play, and the Bruins led the league in scoring behind Esposito's 84 points and made the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. Though he missed action with two shoulder injuries and a knee injury, Orr still won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenceman.
By contrast, the Chicago Black Hawks fell into a tailspin, and despite the scoring heroics of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, were hard pressed to make the playoffs. Mediocre team defense and goaltending was the culprit.
Roger Crozier felt the strain of goaltending and walked out on Detroit. He came back, but the Red Wings finished last anyway in the East Division, despite a potent offense led by Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and Norm Ullman. Even a late season trade of Ullman and Paul Henderson for Toronto star Frank Mahovlich and future Blues star Garry Unger was too little, too late. However, on March 24, 1968, Mahovlich became only the 11th player to score 300 goals as he scored both his 300th and 301st goals in a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins.
Meanwhile, the defending Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs, still steady on defense in front of elder statesman Johnny Bower and backup Bruce Gamble, had numerous problems. Mahovlich spent time in hospital with a nervous breakdown, and the season was marred by contract disputes and tension with the high-strung coach, Punch Imlach. A late season charge failed to win a playoff berth.
In the West Division, the Philadelphia Flyers became the first regular season champion of the expansion clubs. While their offense was poor (career minor-league Leon Rochefort led the team with just 21 goals), ex-Bruins' goaltenders Bernie Parent and Doug Favell showed surprising form. Behind such hardnosed players as Gary Dornhoefer, Ed Van Impe, Larry Zeidel and Forbes Kennedy, the team showed the first glimmers of the "Broad Street Bullies" of future years.
The Los Angeles Kings were a team that writers predicted to finish last in the new West Division.  Owner Jack Kent Cooke had purchased the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians for $1 million to bolster the Kings roster. Surprisingly, the Kings finished second, just one point out of first. Bill Flett scored 26 goals, while Eddie Joyal scored 23 goals, adding 34 assists for 57 points and was the second leading scorer in the West Division.
Oakland, predicted to finish first, fell far short of the mark, amidst poor attendance. Defenceman Kent Douglas, a former Calder Trophy winner, played far below expected form and was traded to Detroit for Ted Hampson and defenceman Bert Marshall. The Seals finished last in the West Division.
Glenn Hall may have been deemed too old by the Black Hawks, which left him unprotected in the expansion draft, but not for the St. Louis Blues, who rode his five shutouts to a third place finish. A surprising benefit was their leading scorer, previously unheralded Red Berenson (with only 45 points in 185 previous NHL games) who exploded into stardom, more than doubling his career total in only 55 games.
By contrast, the Pittsburgh Penguins finished fifth, led by former Ranger star Andy Bathgate. Behind an elderly roster, nine of their top ten scorers and both of their goaltenders were over thirty, they could neither muster much offense nor defense.
The Minnesota North Stars had their bright moments despite finishing fourth in the West Division. On December 30, 1967, Bill Masterton and Wayne Connelly each scored goals in a 5-4 upset win over the Boston Bruins. On January 10, Connelly, who would finish the season with 35 goals to lead his team and the West Division, had a hat trick in a 6-4 win over West Division powerhouse, the Philadelphia Flyers and Masterton was the architect of all three goals.
Tragedy struck the league on January 14, 1968. In a game at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, the Oakland Seals were in town to play the North Stars and Bill Masterton led a rush into the Oakland zone. Two defenceman, Larry Cahan and Ron Harris braced for the old fashioned sandwich check and as Masterton fired the puck into the Seals zone, the two hit Masterton hard but cleanly. Masterton flipped backwards and hit his head on the ice. He was removed to a Minneapolis hospital where doctors were prevented from doing surgery by the seriousness of the head injury. Early on the morning of January 15, 1968, Bill Masterton died. He was the first player to die as the direct result of injuries suffered in an NHL game, the only such incident in a senior game since 1907.
On March 1, 1968, a portion of the roof of the Philadelphia Spectrum blew off. The Flyers were forced to play "home" games in other arenas while repairs were affected. On March 3, 1968, the Flyers played the Oakland Seals in an afternoon game at Madison Square Garden. That evening at MSG, the Rangers played the Blackhawks, making it the first double-header in NHL history.
On February 7, 1968, the Bruins played the Flyers at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. At 9:33 of the first period, Eddie Shack and Larry Zeidel collided. In a grudge going back 10 years, Zeidel swung his stick twice at Shack, hitting his shoulder and then his head. Shack retaliated, resulting in both players suffering head injuries and bleeding profusely. Both were given game misconducts. Zeidel then rushed the Bruins bench and later claimed that insults about him being Jewish was the cause. Later, while Shack was being stitched up, Zeidel tried to attack him in the infirmary. The Bruins triumphed 2-1 for their fifth consecutive win. NHL President Clarence Campbell viewed game footage and declared Zeidel the instigator and suspended him for 4 games while Shack received 3.
|New York Rangers||74||39||23||12||226||183||90|
|Chicago Black Hawks||74||32||26||16||212||222||80|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||74||33||31||10||209||176||76|
|Detroit Red Wings||74||27||35||12||245||257||66|
|Los Angeles Kings||74||31||33||10||200||224||72|
|St. Louis Blues||74||27||31||16||177||191||70|
|Minnesota North Stars||74||27||32||15||191||226||69|
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, Pts = Points
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Stan Mikita||Chicago Black Hawks||72||40||47||87||14|
|Phil Esposito||Boston Bruins||74||35||49||84||21|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||74||39||43||82||53|
|Jean Ratelle||New York Rangers||74||32||46||78||18|
|Rod Gilbert||New York Rangers||74||29||48||77||12|
|Bobby Hull||Chicago Black Hawks||71||44||31||75||39|
|Norm Ullman||Toronto Maple Leafs||71||35||37||72||28|
|Alex Delvecchio||Detroit Red Wings||74||22||48||70||14|
|John Bucyk||Boston Bruins||72||30||39||69||8|
|Ken Wharram||Chicago Black Hawks||74||27||42||69||18|
Note: GP = Games played; Min – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Gump Worsley||Montreal Canadiens||40||2213||73||1.98||19||9||8||6|
|Johnny Bower||Toronto Maple Leafs||43||2239||84||2.25||14||18||7||4|
|Doug Favell||Philadelphia Flyers||37||2192||83||2.27||15||15||6||4|
|Bruce Gamble||Toronto Maple Leafs||41||2204||85||2.32||19||13||3||5|
|Eddie Giacomin||New York Rangers||66||3940||160||2.44||36||20||10||8|
|Glenn Hall||St. Louis Blues||49||2858||118||2.48||19||21||9||5|
|Rogie Vachon||Montreal Canadiens||39||2227||92||2.48||23||13||2||4|
|Bernie Parent||Philadelphia Flyers||38||2248||93||2.48||16||17||5||4|
|Seth Martin||St. Louis Blues||30||1552||67||2.59||8||10||7||1|
|Denis DeJordy||Chicago Black Hawks||50||2838||128||2.71||23||15||11||4|
Stanley Cup PlayoffsEdit
|4||Chicago Black Hawks||1|
|2||New York Rangers||2|
|4||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|W3||St. Louis Blues||0|
|3||St. Louis Blues||4|
|3||St. Louis Blues||4|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||3|
|2||Los Angeles Kings||3|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||4|
Montreal Canadiens 4, Boston Bruins 0Edit
The teams last met a decade before in the 1958 Stanley Cup Finals where Montreal prevailed 4 games to 2. The 1968 series was characterized by Montreal taking advantage of chances and then playing excellent defensive hockey to hold leads. Canadiens veteran Gump Worsley outplayed Gerry Cheevers, particularly in Game 3. Bobby Orr was still recovering from the first surgery on his left knee, made few rushes and notched only two assists in the series.
Game 1 at the Montreal Forum was a very rough game where the teams tried to establish a physical edge. The teams' tough men, Boston's Ted Green and Montreal's John Ferguson fought in the first period while rookies Derek Sanderson and Danny Grant fought in the second period. Ken Hodge opening the scoring with his first career playoff goal, equalized by Henri Richard in the first period. Montreal pressed and outshot Boston 35-22 and Claude Provost netted the winner at 14:40 of the third period for a 2-1 Canadiens win.
Game 2 at Montreal was a tamer affair but the Canadiens once again outshot and out chanced the Bruins. In the first period, Jacques Lemaire opened the scoring with his first career playoff goal but Ken Hodge responded. In the second period, Jacques Laperriere scored and then Lemaire's second of the game staked Montreal to a 3-1 lead. With Jean Béliveau and Claude Provost both in the penalty box, Ted Green potted his first career playoff goal on the 5 on 3 Power play to cut the lead to 3-2. In the third period, Dick Duff and John McKenzie traded goals 23 seconds apart. The Bruins fought to tie up the game but Beliveau sealed the Canadiens 5-3 win.
Game 3 at the Boston Garden saw the Bruins out chance the Canadiens, particularly in the first ten minutes of the game. Ed Westfall opened the scoring and Gump Worsley made several excellent saves, particularly on Tom Williams. Jean Beliveau tipped in a Jacques Laperriere shot on the power play to tie the game 1-1. Derek Sanderson took undisciplined penalties at the end of the first period and at 6:50 of the second period which took the pressure off Montreal. On the power play, Claude Provost beat Cheevers with a long, unscreened shot that demoralized the Bruins. After that, the defensemen overcompensated and tried to block all Montreal's shots instead of checking. Dallas Smith failed to block a Ralph Backstrom shot which slide past Cheevers and later in the period, the Bruins were out-manned in front of their net and John Ferguson tapped in a goal mouth pass to make it 4-1. A Tom Williams spinning shot beat Worsley with five seconds left in the second period to make it 4-2. The Bruins pressed in the third period but Worsley was excellent, stopping Williams on a breakaway. Ted Green hit the post on a slap shot from the point and then Dick Duff scored to make it 5-2. The Bruins had few chances after Duff's goal and Montreal took a 3-0 series lead.
Game 4 at Boston was the only game of the series that the Bruins outshot the Canadiens. After a scoreless first period, Ed Westfall opened the scoring 49 seconds into the second period. Claude Larose then took over the game, evening the score at 12:58 of the second period and staking Montreal to a 2-1 lead at 7:20 of the third. He then set up Ralph Backstrom with less than four minutes to play in the game. Ken Hodge made it 3-2 with 1:26 left to play but Montreal hang on to sweep the Bruins in four games.
|1||April 4||Boston Bruins||1-2||Montreal Canadiens||0-1|
|2||April 6||Boston Bruins||3-5||Montreal Canadiens||0-2|
|3||April 9||Montreal Canadiens||5-2||Boston Bruins||3-0|
|4||April 11||Montreal Canadiens||3-2||Boston Bruins||4-0|
Stanley Cup FinalsEdit
|1967-68 NHL awards|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:||Montreal Canadiens|
|Clarence S. Campbell Bowl:||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Art Ross Memorial Trophy:||Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:||Claude Provost, Montreal Canadiens|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:||Derek Sanderson, Boston Bruins|
|Conn Smythe Trophy:||Glenn Hall, St. Louis Blues|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:||Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:||Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:||Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Plus-Minus Leader:||Dallas Smith, Boston Bruins|
|Vezina Trophy:||Rogatien Vachon & Gump Worsley, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lester Patrick Trophy:||Thomas F. Lockhart, Walter A. Brown, General John R. Kilpatrick|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1967-68 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Bobby Schmautz, Chicago Blackhawks
- Lowell MacDonald, Los Angeles Kings
- Bill White, Los Angeles Kings
- Walt McKechnie, Minnesota North Stars
- Mickey Redmond, Montreal Canadiens
- Jacques Lemaire, Montreal Canadiens
- Garry Monahan, Montreal Canadiens
- Walt Tkaczuk, New York Rangers
- Dennis Hextall*, New York Rangers
- Simon Nolet, Philadelphia Flyers
- Barclay Plager, St. Louis Blues
- Garry Unger, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1967-68 (listed with their last team):
- Bill Masterton, Minnesota North Stars
- Bronco Horvath, Minnesota North Stars
- Bernie Geoffrion, New York Rangers
- Dickie Moore, St. Louis Blues
- Don McKenney, St. Louis Blues
Nearly three hours of video from the Bruins-Maple Leafs game on January 6, 1968. All goals are shown including one by Bobby Orr which tied the game 3-3. An interview with Derek Sanderson is shown in the first intermission. During the second intermission, highlights from the December 27, 1967 Bruins-Black Hawks game are shown including a Hat trick by Phil Esposito. Milt Schmidt is then interviewed.
- 1967 NHL Expansion
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 1967 NHL Amateur Draft
- 1967 NHL Expansion Draft
- 21st National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 NHL Guide & Record Book 2005.
- ↑ Brian McFarlane, 50 Years of Hockey, p. 140-143, Greywood Publishing Ltd, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
|National Hockey League|
|1967–68 NHL season by team|
|East||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • Montreal • New York • Toronto|
|West||Los Angeles • Minnesota • Oakland • Philadelphia • Pittsburgh • St. Louis|
|See also||1967 NHL Amateur Draft • 1967 NHL Expansion Draft • All-Star Game • 1968 Stanley Cup Finals|