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1967-68 NHL season

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The 1967-68 NHL season was the 51st season of the National Hockey League. Twelve teams each played 74 games. The Montreal Canadiens would win the Stanley Cup against the new St. Louis Blues.

League BusinessEdit

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.[1]

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.[1]

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 and Al MacNeil also refused to sign, then Tim Horton of Toronto, Norm Ullman of Detroitand Ken Wharram and Stan Mikita of Chicago. Led by Alan Eagleson, the new NHL Players Association was up and running.

Training campsEdit


Regular seasonEdit

HighlightsEdit

On October 11, 1967, Jean Beliveau scored his 400th career goal on goaltender Hank Bassen of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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.

On February 24, 1968, Rogatien Vachon of Montreal was the victim of four goals by Rod Gilbert, who set an NHL record with 16 shots on goal.

Ed Giacomin again led the league with 8 shutouts, and led the Rangers to second place, bolstered by Jean Ratelle's emergence into stardom.

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. This, 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 nearly a decade. Though he missed action with 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, 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. [2] 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 the West Division power, the Philadelphia Flyers and Masterton was the architect on 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.

Final standingsEdit

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

East Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Montreal Canadiens 74 42 22 10 94 236 167 700
New York Rangers 74 39 23 12 90 226 183 673
Boston Bruins 74 37 27 10 84 259 216 1043
Chicago Black Hawks 74 32 26 16 80 212 222 606
Toronto Maple Leafs 74 33 31 10 76 209 176 634
Detroit Red Wings 74 27 35 12 66 245 257 759
West Division GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM
Philadelphia Flyers 74 31 32 11 73 173 179 987
Los Angeles Kings 74 31 33 10 72 200 224 810
St. Louis Blues 74 27 31 16 70 177 191 792
Minnesota North Stars 74 27 32 15 69 191 226 738
Pittsburgh Penguins 74 27 34 13 67 195 216 554
Oakland Seals [3] 74 15 42 17 47 153 219 787

Scoring leadersEdit

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
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

Leading goaltendersEdit

Stanley Cup playoffsEdit

Stanley Cup FinalsEdit

see 1968 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracketEdit

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
                           
  1  Montreal Canadiens 4  
3  Boston Bruins 0  
  1  Montreal Canadiens 4  
East Division
  4  Chicago Black Hawks 1  
2  New York Rangers 2
  4  Chicago Black Hawks 4  
    E1  Montreal Canadiens 4
  W3  St. Louis Blues 0
  1  Philadelphia Flyers 3  
3  St. Louis Blues 4  
3  St. Louis Blues 4
West Division
  4  Minnesota North Stars 3  
2  Los Angeles Kings 3
  4  Minnesota North Stars 4  
67-68NHLAwards

NHL awardsEdit

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
67-68NHLAS

All-Star teamsEdit

First Team   Position   Second Team
Gump Worsley, Montreal Canadiens G Ed Giacomin, New York Rangers
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins D J.C. Tremblay, Montreal Canadiens
Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs D Jim Neilson, New York Rangers
Stan Mikita, Chicago Blackhawks C Phil Esposito, Boston Bruins
Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings RW Rod Gilbert, New York Rangers
Bobby Hull, Chicago Blackhawks LW Johnny Bucyk, Boston Bruins

DebutsEdit

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):

Last gamesEdit

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):

TeamsEdit


See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 NHL Guide & Record Book 2005. 
  2. Brian McFarlane, 50 Years of Hockey, p. 140-143, Greywood Publishing Ltd, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  3. Named "California Seals" for the first month of the season, after which they were renamed "Oakland Seals"


NHL seasons

1963-64 | 1964-65 | 1965-66 | 1966-67 | 1967-68 | 1968-69 | 1969-70 | 1970-71 | 1971-72

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