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The 1948–49 NHL season was the 32nd season of the National Hockey League which lasted from October 13, 1948 to April 16, 1949.

In a rematch of the previous season, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup final to win the championship.

League BusinessEdit

Rule ChangesEdit

A new rule (often called the "Durnan Rule") was introduced for the start of the season stating that goalies cannot be the captain and wear the "C" or "A".

Specifically, NHL Rule 14-D (today's rule 6.1) read: "No playing Coach or playing Manager or goalkeeper shall be permitted to act as Captain or Alternate Captain."

This rule was introduced because Bill Durnan (the Montreal Canadiens goalie and captain) would frequently leave his crease to dispute calls with the referees. Opposing teams claimed that this would give the Canadiens unscheduled timeouts during strategic points in games. It would be another 60 years before another goalie would be captain.

For the 2008–09 NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks named Roberto Luongo their 12th team captain and NHL history's seventh goalie captain. However, the rule remained in place and Luongo could not "act" as captain during games.

Regular SeasonEdit

Don Gallinger of the Boston Bruins (who was hopeful he could win an appeal of his suspension in the gambling scandal) finally admitted to gambling and was expelled from the NHL for life in September.

On October 8, 1948, the New York Rangers were due to start their season against the Montreal Canadiens, when the team suffered misfortune.

Buddy O'Connor, Frank Eddolls, Edgar Laprade, Bill Moe and Tony Leswick were travelling in their car from Montreal to Saranac Lake, New York when their car was struck by a truck near Rouses Point.

O'Connor suffered several broken ribs, Eddolls a severed tendon in his knee, Laprade suffered a broken nose, Moe had a cut in the head requiring several stitches and Leswick escaped with a few bruises.

On November 10, 1948, unseasonably warm temperatures caused a fog bank to occur inside the Boston Garden during a game between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. Referee Bill Chadwick abandoned the game after only 9 minutes of the first period due to poor visibility. The game was replayed the following night, with Boston winning 4–1.

A league record of ten major penalties was set November 25, 1948 when 11,000 fans at the Montreal Forum witnessed a donnybrook.

It started when the Habs' Ken Mosdell elbowed Maple Leaf Gus Mortson. Mortson retaliated by knocking Elliot de Grey down with his stick. Montreal's Maurice Richard then sprang onto Mortson's back and they fought, and then all hands joined in. Mortson, Richard, Toronto's Howie Meeker and Mosdell were banished with majors.

Play had scarcely begun when Ken Reardon (Montreal) and Joe Klukay (Toronto) began fencing and Bill Barilko went at Reardon while Klukay got into it with Billy Reay & Hal Laycoe fought Garth Boesch. In the game itself, Turk Broda picked up his first shutout of the year as the Leafs won, 2–0.

A sad note was the death of former Pittsburgh Pirates defenceman Tex White, who was found dead in his bed at his home in Port Colborne, Ontario on December 12, 1948. He was only 48 years old.

Both Detroit and Montreal lost key players to injury this year.

Montreal lost Elmer Lach with a fractured jaw when he collided with Toronto defenceman Bob Goldham and Emile "Butch" Bouchard injured a knee. Detroit lost Gordie Howe, who underwent knee surgery.

Bill Durnan got hot in the second half of the season and recorded four consecutive shutouts, going 309 minutes and 21 seconds without giving up a goal. In all, he had 10 shutouts and won his fifth Vezina Trophy in six years.

PlayoffsEdit

SemifinalsEdit

Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens

  • March 22, 1949: 2-1 Overtime (Winner: Detroit)
  • March 24, 1949: 4-3 Overtime (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 26, 1949: 3-2 (Winner: Montreal)
  • March 29, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Detroit)
  • March 31, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Detroit)
  • April 2, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Montreal)
  • April 5, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Detroit)

Detroit wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins

  • March 22, 1949: 3-0 (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 24, 1949: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 26, 1949: 5-4 Overtime (Winner: Boston)
  • March 29, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Toronto)
  • March 30, 1949: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 1.

FinalEdit

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings

  • April 8, 1949: 3-2 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 10, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 13, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Toronto)
  • April 16, 1949: 3-1 (Winner: Toronto)

Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0.

AwardsEdit

Trophy Winner
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
Pentti Lund, New York Rangers
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings
O'Brien Cup:
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
Detroit Red Wings
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Top regular-season record)
Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teamsEdit

First team   Position   Second team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers
Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings D Glen Harmon, Montreal Canadiens
Jack Stewart, Detroit Red Wings D Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings C Doug Bentley, Chicago Black Hawks
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks LW Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings

Player StatisticsEdit

Scoring leadersEdit

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

Player Team GP G A Pts PIM
Roy Conacher Chicago Black Hawks 60 26 42 68 8
Doug Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 60 23 43 66 38
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 60 28 26 54 49
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 50 26 28 54 97
Jim Conacher Chicago Black Hawks / Detroit Red Wings 59 26 23 49 43
Paul Ronty Boston Bruins 60 20 29 49 11
Harry Watson Toronto Maple Leafs 60 26 19 45 30
Billy Reay Montreal Canadiens 60 22 23 45 33
Gus Bodnar Chicago Black Hawks 59 16 26 45 14
Johnny Peirson Boston Bruins 59 22 21 43 45

Leading goaltendersEdit

(Note: GP = Games played; Mins – Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts)

Player Team GP Mins GA GAA W L T SO
Bill Durnan Montreal Canadiens 60 3600 126 2.10 28 23 9 10
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 60 3600 145 2.42 34 19 7 6
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 60 3600 161 2.68 22 25 13 5
Frank Brimsek Boston Bruins 54 3240 147 2.72 26 20 8 1
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 58 3480 168 2.90 16 31 11 7
Jim Henry Chicago Black Hawks 60 3600 211 3.52 21 31 8 0

DebutsEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1948–49:

Last GamesEdit

The following is a list of players of note who played their last game in the NHL in 1948–49 (listed with their last team):