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1954-55 NHL season

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The 1954-55 NHL season was the 38th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Detroit Red Wings were the Stanley Cup winners as they beat the Montreal Canadiens four games to three in the best-of-seven final series.

Art Ross announced at the league governors meeting that his connection with Boston would terminate at the end of September. As this would be his last appearance at a league meeting, he took the opportunity to thank the governors and others associated with the league during the 30 years of his being officer of the Boston club for the kindness, courtesy and cooperation he had received, and extended his good wishes for the continued success of the league. Conn Smythe and Frank Selke voiced the good wishes of all present to Ross on his retirement.

Regular seasonEdit

Prior to the season, Red Wings head coach Tommy Ivan left Detroit to become general manager of the Chicago Black Hawks, and Jimmy Skinner replaced him behind the bench in the Motor City. One of the first things Ivan did at Chicago was to establish an extensive farm system, something the Black Hawks never had.

On November 3, although he was booed throughout most of the game, Eric Nesterenko of Toronto scored the tying goal to salvage a 1-1 tie with Detroit. The main feature of the game was the constant heckling of referee Red Storey by Red Wings assistant trainer Ross "Lefty" Wilson. Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe demanded that Wilson be fined $1,000 by the league. NHL President Clarence Campbell disagreed, but told Wilson to cork it or face a heavy fine.

On December 2 at the Detroit Olympia, Montreal beat the Red Wings 4-1. Maurice "Rocket" Richard got his 398th goal and a misconduct penalty for an argument with referee Bill Chadwick. With two minutes left to play, a free-for-all broke out in front of the Detroit bench and both teams had to be sent to their dressing rooms to cool off. Detroit coach Jimmy Skinner exchanged punches with Butch Bouchard in the melee.

On December 18, Richard scored his 400th career goal against Chicago netminder Al Rollins in a 4-1 Canadiens victory over the Black Hawks.

Montreal and Toronto played to a 1-1 tie on December 29, at Maple Leaf Gardens. Rocket Richard got a standing ovation when he scored his 401st goal late in the first period. With five minutes left in the game, Bob Bailey gave Richard a heavy check near the boards, sending him to the ice. Richard went after Bailey and fists flew before officials restrained them. Richard tried to get a stick from a teammate but was restrained. He finally broke away from linesman George Hayes and struck the linesman with an empty glove. The fans laid a barrage of boos for Richard, whom they had cheered in the first period. Richard received a major penalty and two misconducts, while Bailey also received a major penalty and two misconducts. Ten days later, Richard was fined $250 for his attack on Hayes.

During a Montreal-Detroit clash on New Year's Day, NHL president Clarence Campbell went to the Detroit bench to warn Detroit coach Jimmy Skinner about his players using obscene language. Campbell was told to mind his own business, and that he was only a spectator. Campbell agreed that he was a spectator, but only had the league interest in mind.

On January 22, the Leafs defeated Detroit 3-1 at Maple Leaf Gardens when Ted Lindsay got into trouble. A spectator grabbed Gordie Howe's stick as he was skating by, and the fan and Howe scuffled briefly. As Howe skated away, the fan made a futile attempt to strike Howe. At that point Lindsay rushed over and struck the spectator with his stick. President Campbell took a dim view of this incident and suspended Lindsay for ten days (five games). Lindsay appealed the suspension, but the board of governors upheld Campbell's actions.

In a scoreless tie at the Montreal Forum on March 10, a new ice cleaner and resurfacer called a Zamboni was used for the first time. The fans were not appreciative of Toronto's defensive style in this game and threw garbage, including pig's feet, on the ice.

With three games left in the season, Rocket Richard, the famous 50-in-50 goal scorer, got into a stick-swinging fight with Hal Laycoe of Boston Bruins and then punched linesman Cliff Thompson, who was trying to restrain him. NHL President Clarence Campbell suspended the Rocket for the remaining three games of the season and the playoffs. At the time, the Canadiens held a two point lead over the Red Wings for first overall in the NHL and Richard held a two point lead over teammate Bernie Geoffrion for the NHL scoring lead. Geoffrion ended up passing Richard in total points and was awarded the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL leading scorer. Two days after the Campbell handed out the suspension, Richard attended a game at the Montreal Forum between the Canadiens and Red Wings. The Wings assumed a 4-1 lead,and then NHL president Clarence Campbell rubbed salt into the fans wounds when he showed up near the end of the first period. He was showered with pig's feet and other debris, and a fan punched him. One fan rubbed a tomato on his chest. Then a policeman, realizing the president's life was in danger, threw a tear gas bomb near the Canadiens goal during the intermission. A stampede for the exits commenced, and the fire director ordered the game called off for the safety of the public. A riot ensued that ended the game and carried over to the next day. The Red Wings won the game by forfeit and eventually went on to take first overall in the NHL for a record seventh straight season.

Final standingsEdit

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 42 17 11 95 204 134 827
Montreal Canadiens 70 41 18 11 93 228 157 890
Toronto Maple Leafs 70 24 24 22 70 147 135 990
Boston Bruins 70 23 26 21 67 169 188 863
New York Rangers 70 17 35 18 52 150 210 690
Chicago Black Hawks 70 13 40 17 43 161 235 733

Scoring leadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 70 38 37 75 57
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 67 38 36 74 125
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 70 37 36 73 58
Earl Reibel Detroit Red Wings 70 25 41 66 15
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 64 29 33 62 68

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

see 1955 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracketEdit

  Semifinals Finals
                 
1 Detroit Red Wings 4  
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 0  
    1 Detroit Red Wings 4
  2 Montreal Canadiens 3
2 Montreal Canadiens 4
4 Boston Bruins 1  
54-55NHLAS

NHL awardsEdit

Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy: Ed Litzenberger, Chicago Black Hawks
Hart Memorial Trophy: Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs
Vezina Trophy: Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings

All-Star teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Harry Lumley, Toronto Maple Leafs G Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Bob Goldham, Detroit Red Wings
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Ken Mosdell, Montreal Canadiens
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens
Sid Smith, Toronto Maple Leafs LW Danny Lewicki, New York Rangers

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1954-55 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last gamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1954-55 (listed with their last team):

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit


NHL seasons

1950-51 | 1951-52 | 1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59

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