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The 1937–38 NHL season was the 21st season of the National Hockey League (NHL). Eight teams each played 48 games. The Chicago Black Hawks were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the final series.
Bill Dwyer could not come up with the capital required to retain his team and the NHL took full control of the New York Americans.
The Howie Morenz Memorial Game, the NHL's second all-star game, was played November 2, 1937 and raised over $11,447, which, added to other contributions, established a fund of over $20,000 for the Morenz family. Prior to the start of the game, Howie Morenz's uniform and playing kit was auctioned and Joseph Cattarinich put down the winning bid of $500. The uniform was presented to Howie Morenz Jr. The NHL All-stars defeated a combined team of Canadiens and Maroons players 6–5. Rookie defenseman Chris Chelios played his first All-Star game that night and assisted on the game winning goal.
Charlie Conacher was named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he had a big weekend at the expense of Chicago November 13 with a hat trick in a 7–3 win. He then scored 2 goals in a 3–3 tie. However, The Big Bomber ran into misfortune once more on November 18th in Montreal against the Canadiens when he dislocated his shoulder. The cycle of injuries had a cumulative effect on Conacher's nervous and physical condition and his doctor told him to retire from hockey. He did retire for the rest of the season, but would play again the next season, but was forever gone from the Leafs.
The New York Rangers lost their star center Neil Colville for a few games as the result of some horseplay that must have infuriated Lester Patrick. Defenceman Joe Cooper was pursuing a fad of slicing off neckties from teammates using a penknife. Colville threw up his hand only to receive a gash that required 11 stitches to close.
The New York Americans, with Ching Johnson and Hap Day to relieve Joe Jerwa and Al Murray on defence, were doing much better than usual. Earl Robertson, their new goaltender, was leading the Canadian Division in goaltending and ended up doing so at season's end. The Amerks also had Sweeney Schriner and Nels Stewart contributing in a nice way to the offence.
The Montreal Maroons, coached at first by King Clancy, settled into last place and president and general manager Tommy Gorman decided he'd take over as coach. He did even worse and the fans stayed away. Although the team did badly, one highlight was an 11–7 win over their rivals, the Canadiens, and Baldy Northcott had a hat trick in the game. There seemed to be nothing Gorman could do to revitalize the team and at one stretch the team lost 8 straight games. On March 17, 1938, the Maroons played their last game against their rivals, the Canadiens.
Detroit was the shockingly bad team of the American Division. After winning the Stanley Cup in 1937, they were reclining in the cellar of the Division. They had one bright moment when Carl Liscombe set a record for the fastest hat trick to this time (since broken by Bill Mosienko). Liscombe scored three goals in 1 minute and 52 seconds in a 5–1 win over Chicago.
On March 17, 1938, Nels Stewart scored his 300th National Hockey League goal in a 5–3 loss to the Rangers.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold
|Toronto Maple Leafs||48||24||15||9||57||151||127||404|
|New York Americans||48||19||18||11||49||110||111||327|
|New York Rangers||48||27||15||6||60||149||96||435|
|Chicago Black Hawks||48||14||25||9||37||97||139||238|
|Detroit Red Wings||48||12||25||11||35||99||133||258|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Gord Drillon||Toronto Maple Leafs||48||26||26||52||4|
|Syl Apps||Toronto Maple Leafs||47||21||29||50||9|
|Paul Thompson||Chicago Black Hawks||48||22||22||44||14|
|Georges Mantha||Montreal Canadiens||47||23||19||42||12|
|Cecil Dillon||New York Rangers||48||21||18||39||6|
|Bill Cowley||Boston Bruins||48||17||22||39||8|
The Cinderella story of the century was the Chicago Black Hawks, who would barely made the playoffs, but proceeded to defeat the Canadiens, the Americans and the Maple Leafs to win the Cup with the record lowest regular-season winning percentage in the NHL.
The New York Americans stunned the New York Rangers as Lorne Carr scored the winner in overtime in the third and deciding game.
The Canadiens beat the Hawks in game one of the quarterfinal, as Toe Blake had the hat trick. But Mike Karakas shut out the Canadiens in the second game and even though Georges Mantha appeared to win the game with a freak , evergoal in game three, Earl Seibert kept the Hawks from losing with a goal late in the game, and then the Hawks won the series in overtime.
In an upset, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat Boston in the Series A Semi-Finals.
In the Series B Semi-Finals, it was Chicago and the New York Americans, who beat Chicago in game one 3–1. Game two was a great goaltenders battle between Mike Karakas and Earl Robertson. It appeared that the Americans were headed to their first Stanley Cup final when Nels Stewart scored with seconds left in the game, but referee Clarence Campbell disallowed the goal, saying Eddie Wiseman was in the goal crease. Cully Dahlstrom scored the goal that saved the Black Hawks. In New York, the deciding game saw Alex Levinsky of Chicago score the go-ahead goal, but the red light didn't go on. Investigation revealed that fans were holding the goal judge's hand so he could not signal the goal. Although the Amerks came close, they were unable to tie the score and the Black Hawks were in the finals.
|C1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
|C1||Toronto Maple Leafs||1|
|A3||Chicago Black Hawks||3|
|C2||New York Americans||2|
|A2||New York Rangers||1|
|C2||New York Americans||1|
|A3||Chicago Black Hawks||2|
<tr> <td height="14"> </td> <td align=center bgcolor="#f2f2f2" style="border:1px solid #aaa;"> A3</td> <td style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor=#f9f9f9> Chicago Black Hawks</td> <td align=center style="border:1px solid #aaa;" bgcolor=#f9f9f9>2</td> <td style="border-width:2px 0 0 0; border-style:solid;border-color:black;"> </td></tr>
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1937–38 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Red Hamill, Boston Bruins
- Mel Hill, Boston Bruins
- Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins
- Cully Dahlstrom, Chicago Black Hawks
- Carl Liscombe, Detroit Red Wings
- Dutch Hiller, New York Rangers
- Murph Chamberlain, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1937–38 (listed with their last team):
- Carl Voss, Chicago Black Hawks
- Joe Lamb, Detroit Red Wings
- Pit Lepine, Montreal Canadiens
- Aurel Joliat, Montreal Canadiens
- Marty Burke, Montreal Canadiens
- Tom Cook, Montreal Maroons
- Al Shields, Montreal Maroons
- Hap Day, New York Americans
- Hap Emms, New York Americans
- Ching Johnson, New York Americans
- Butch Keeling, New York Rangers
|1937–38 NHL season by team|
|Canadian||Montreal Canadiens • Montreal Maroons • NY Americans • Toronto|
|American||Boston • Chicago • Detroit • NY Rangers|
|See also||1938 Stanley Cup Finals|
|National Hockey League|