The 1942–43 NHL season was the 26th season of the National Hockey League (NHL) which lasted from October 31, 1942 to April 8, 1943.
It was the first season of the "Original Six" era of the NHL.
The Brooklyn Americans were dropped from the league which left six teams to play a schedule of 50 games.
The NHL's long-time president Frank Calder died due to heart disease.
The Brooklyn Americans franchise was dropped FTER Madison Square Garden turned down a lease agreement with team owner Red Dutton.
Dutton argued that the other teams would be weakened by the war, but the other owners pointed out the number of American players serving in the armed forces was such that the Americans could not operate. A despondent Dutton left the league meeting, but he returned to the NHL sooner than he thought.
With the suspension of the Americans, this was the inaugural season of the so-called Original Six era with the NHL consisting of six teams (the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs).
This arrangement would last until the 1966-67 NHL season after which the league doubled in size.
The Death of Frank Calder
The league's meeting on January 25, 1943 was to have been a non-event.
The only news that was supposed to come out of the meeting was that the playoffs would begin on March 20 and that all series would be best-of-seven affairs. This was resolved in the morning session.
The afternoon session had just begun and NHL president Frank Calder had informed Red Dutton of the reserve status of his suspended franchise when Toronto coach Hap Day noticed that Calder appeared to be in pain.
Two league governors came up to his aid, but he assured them he was all right. Then Calder's face contracted as if he were in pain. He took a few steps and exclaimed, "My God, there IS something wrong!"
Calder was taken to his hotel room and a doctor diagnosed a heart attack. A specialist convinced him (despite his protests) to check into St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, where he suffered from a second heart attack.
In a week, Calder felt well enough to return to Montreal and checked into Montreal General Hospital. After eating a light breakfast surrounded by his family and friends, he was looking over the league books when he slipped back on the pillows of his bed and died of a third heart attack. He died on February 4, 1943, at the age of 65.
Red Dutton was chosen as the new president on an "interim" basis.
Due to war-time travel restrictions, the NHL ceased playing overtimes to decide tie games partway through the season.
The last regular season overtime game was November 10, 1942 between the Chicago Black Hawks and the New York Rangers, won by New York 5–3.
Regular season overtime would not be re-introduced until the 1983-84 NHL season.
Detroit finished first, partly due to the six shutouts of goaltender Johnny Mowers, who won the Vezina Trophy.
During the season, Jimmy Orlando got into a stick-swinging incident with Toronto rookie Gaye Stewart and came out of it on the short end, badly cut in the face & bleeding profusely. Both players were suspended for the incident.
The Montreal Canadiens were still making progress and coach Dick Irvin put together the first "Punch Line" of Elmer Lach, Toe Blake & Joe Benoit. Maurice Richard showed promise, but broke his leg and Canadiens' manager Tommy Gorman began to look at him as brittle.
Benoit became the first Canadien to hit the 30 goal plateau since Howie Morenz did it in 1929–30 (40 goals) scoring an even 30. Gordie Drillon also added some scoring power. The Canadiens made the playoffs by one slim point and lost to Boston in the playoffs' first round.
In contrast to the 1941–42 season, the Rangers felt the full impact of World War II and lost Art Coulter, Alex Shibicky, the Colville brothers & Bill Juzda to the Armed Forces. Only Ott Heller was left of their defence.
Babe Pratt was traded to Toronto for Hank Goldup and Dudley "Red" Garrett, who proved to be an excellent replacement for Pratt. However, he only played 21 games, then gave his life in the Armed Forces.
Goaltending was the Rangers problem as Steve Buzinski, Jimmy Franks and old veteran Bill Beveridge all had to face lots of rubber as the Rangers went from first to worst.
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
|Gaye Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs|
(Most valuable player)
|Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins|
|Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Max Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Best regular-season record)
|Detroit Red Wings|
(Fewest goals allowed)
|Johnny Mowers, Detroit Red Wings|
|First team||Position||Second team|
|Johnny Mowers, Detroit Red Wings||G||Frank Brimsek, Boston Bruins|
|Earl Seibert, Chicago Black Hawks||D||Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins|
|Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings||D||Flash Hollett, Boston Bruins|
|Bill Cowley, Boston Bruins||C||Syl Apps, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Lorne Carr, Toronto Maple Leafs||RW||Bryan Hextall, New York Rangers|
|Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks||LW||Lynn Patrick, New York Rangers|
|Jack Adams, Detroit Red Wings||Coach||Art Ross, Boston Bruins|
(Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes)
|Doug Bentley||Chicago Black Hawks||50||33||40||73||18|
|Bill Cowley||Boston Bruins||48||27||45||72||10|
|Max Bentley||Chicago Black Hawks||47||26||44||70||2|
|Lynn Patrick||New York Rangers||50||22||39||61||28|
|Lorne Carr||Toronto Maple Leafs||50||27||33||60||15|
|Billy Taylor||Toronto Maple Leafs||50||18||42||60||2|
|Bryan Hextall||New York Rangers||50||27||32||59||28|
|Toe Blake||Montreal Canadiens||48||23||36||59||26|
|Elmer Lach||Montreal Canadiens||45||18||40||58||14|
|Buddy O'Connor||Montreal Canadiens||50||15||43||58||2|
(Note: GP = Games Played; Mins – Minutes played; GA = Goals against; GAA = Goals against average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)
|Johnny Mowers||Detroit Red Wings||50||3010||124||25||14||11||6||2.47|
|Turk Broda||Toronto Maple Leafs||50||3000||159||22||19||9||1||3.18|
|Frank Brimsek||Boston Bruins||50||3000||176||24||17||9||1||3.53|
|Bert Gardiner||Chicago Black Hawks||50||3020||180||17||18||15||1||3.58|
|Paul Bibeault||Montreal Canadiens||50||3010||191||19||19||12||1||3.81|
|Jimmy Franks||New York Rangers||23||1380||103||5||14||4||0||4.48|
|Bill Beveridge||New York Rangers||17||1020||89||4||10||3||1||5.24|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1942–43:
- Bep Guidolin, Boston Bruins (youngest rookie in NHL history)
- Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
- Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Joe Klukay, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bobby Lee, Montreal Canadiens
- Bud Poile, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings
- Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1942–43 (listed with their last team):
- Ebbie Goodfellow, Detroit Red Wings
- Gordie Drillon, Montreal Canadiens