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1956-57 NHL season

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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.

Regular seasonEdit

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.

Dave Trottier, the former Montreal Maroons star, died November 13, 1956 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was 50 years old.

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.

Glenn Hall wasn't as good as the previous season, but led the Detroit Red Wings to first place. Hall had played only two games prior to 1955-56, but had shown such promise Sawchuk was sent off.

Rule changesEdit

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 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.

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 38 20 12 88 198 157 656
Montreal Canadiens 70 35 23 12 82 210 155 870
Boston Bruins 70 34 24 12 80 195 174 978
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

Scoring leadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
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

see 1957 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracketEdit

  Semifinals Finals
                 
1 Detroit Red Wings 1  
3 Boston Bruins 4  
    3 Boston Bruins 1
  2 Montreal Canadiens 4
2 Montreal Canadiens 4
4 New York Rangers 1  
56-57NHL

NHL awardsEdit

1956-57 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy: Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy: Larry Regan, Boston Bruins
Hart Memorial Trophy: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
James Norris Memorial Trophy: Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy: Andy Hebenton, New York Rangers
Vezina Trophy: Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teamsEdit

56-57NHL1stAS

First All-Star Team

First Team   Position   Second Team
Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings G Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Fern Flaman, Boston Bruins
Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings D Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Ed Litzenberger, Chicago Black Hawks
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Real Chevrefils, Boston Bruins

DebutsEdit

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):

Last gamesEdit

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):

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit


NHL seasons

1952-53 | 1953-54 | 1954-55 | 1955-56 | 1956-57 | 1957-58 | 1958-59 | 1959-60 | 1960-61

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