The 1949–50 NHL season was the 33rd season of the National Hockey League which lasted from October 12, 1949 to April 23, 1950.

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the New York Rangers in seven games for the Stanley Cup. It was the Red Wings' fourth championship.

League Business

The NHL decided to increase the number of games played to 70 games for each team. Each team played every other team 14 times.

Goaltenders would no longer have to face a penalty shot if they took a major penalty. A team-mate could serve the penalty in the penalty box.

In June 1949, the NHL decided to henceforth paint the ice surface white. This was done by adding white paint to the water before freezing. Previously, the ice surface was just frozen water on concrete, which made a dull grey color.

By "whitening" the ice surface, it made seeing and following the puck much easier (especially on the relatively new medium of television).

Regular Season

Detroit, led by the new Production Line of Lindsay, Abel and Howe won the regular season. The "Production Line" led the league in scoring 1–2–3.


On November 2, 1949, at Chicago Stadium, a rather serious brawl broke out in a game Chicago defeated Montreal 4–1.

During the second period, some rinkside fans began to get on Montreal defenceman Ken Reardon and when one fan grabbed his sweater, Reardon swung his stick and hit one of the rowdies.

Leo Gravelle and Billy Reay joined in, and yet another fan climbed over the boards and challenged Reardon, but was forced back to his seat. When the game ended, police arrested Reardon, Reay and Gravelle. Later, the players were cleared when a judge ruled that the fans were the aggressors and overstepped the prerogatives as fans.

After Chicago defeated Toronto 6–3 on November 27, Conn Smythe told goaltender Turk Broda, "I'm not running a fat man's team!" and said that Broda would not play until he reduced his weight to 190 lb. At the time, Broda weighed almost 200.

Al Rollins was purchased from Cleveland of the AHL and Gil Mayer was brought up for good measure. When he reached 189 pounds, Broda went back into the Toronto net and he gained his fourth shutout of the season December 3rd and Maple Leaf fans cheered all of his 22 saves.

After the Red Wings clobbered Chicago 9–2 on February 8, writer Lew Walter tried to interview Chicago coach Charlie Conacher. Conacher exploded in anger, criticized Walter's past stories and punched Walter, knocking him down to the floor.

Walter announced that he would seek a warrant for Conacher's arrest. NHL president Clarence Campbell took a dim view of Conacher's actions and fined him $200. Conacher then phoned Walter and apologized, saying he regretted what had taken place.

Montreal fans began to boo Bill Durnan like they had in the 1947–48 season despite the fact he was the league's best goalkeeper. In an interview, he stated he was going to retire at the end of the season.

In reality, Durnan had been cut a number of times during the season, and at one point, had to take penicillin. It caused a high fever and he missed some action. Despite this, he recorded eight shutouts and won the Vezina Trophy for the sixth time in his seven-year career.

Ken Reardon got himself into trouble when he made a statement to a magazine suggesting retribution to Cal Gardner, stating: "I'm going to make sure that Gardner gets 14 stitches in his mouth. I may have to wait a long time, but I'll get even."

On March 1, 1950, Clarence Campbell made Reardon post a $1,000 bond to make sure he didn't carry out his threat. When the season ended, Reardon was refunded the $1,000, since he did not hurt Gardner as he said he would.


Detroit defeated Toronto in seven games to advance to the final. New York defeated Montreal in five games to advance to the final.


Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • March 28, 1950: 5-0 (Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • March 30, 1950: 3-1 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 1, 1950: 2-0 (Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • April 4, 1950: 2-1 Overtime (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 6, 1950: 2-0 (Winner: Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • April 8, 1950: 4-0 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 9, 1950: 1-0 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)

Detroit wins series 4-3.

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

  • March 29, 1950: 3-1 (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 1, 1950: 3-2 (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 2, 1950: 4-1 (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 4, 1950: 3-2 Overtime (Winner: Montreal Canadiens)
  • April 6, 1950: 3-0 (Winner: New York Rangers)

New York wins series 4-1.

Stanley Cup Final

Two games were played in Toronto (with the rest in Detroit) as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had taken over Madison Square Garden in New York.

New York Rangers vs. Detroit Red Wings

  • April 11, 1950: 4-1 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 13, 1950: 3-1 (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 15, 1950: 4-0 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 18, 1950: 4-3 Overtime (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 20, 1950: 2-1 Overtime (Winner: New York Rangers)
  • April 22, 1950: 5-4 (Winner: Detroit Red Wings)
  • April 23, 1950: 4-3 Double Overtime (Detroit Red Wings)

Detroit wins final 4-3.


This was the last season that the O'Brien Cup was awarded to the Stanley Cup runner-up in this season, the New York Rangers (as it went into retirement for the second and final time at season's end; it was not awarded between 1917 and 1921).

O'Brien Cup:
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
New York Rangers
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Top record, regular season)
Detroit Red Wings
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first year player)
Jack Gelineau, Boston Bruins
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Charlie Rayner, New York Rangers
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Edgar Laprade, New York Rangers
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with best goals against average)
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star Teams

First Team   Position   Second Team
Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens G Chuck Rayner, New York Rangers
Gus Mortson, Toronto Maple Leafs D Leo Reise, Detroit Red Wings
Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings C Ted Kennedy, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Tony Leswick, New York Rangers

Player Statistics

Scoring Leaders

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Ted Lindsay Detroit Red Wings 69 23 55 78 141
Sid Abel Detroit Red Wings 69 34 35 69 46
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 35 33 68 69
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 43 22 65 114
Paul Ronty Boston Bruins 70 23 36 59 8
Roy Conacher Chicago Black Hawks 70 25 31 56 16
Doug Bentley Chicago Black Hawks 64 20 33 53 28
Johnny Peirson Boston Bruins 57 27 25 52 49
Metro Prystai Chicago Black Hawks 65 29 22 51 31
Bep Guidolin Chicago Black Hawks 70 17 34 51 42

Leading Goaltenders

(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 64 3840 141 2.20 26 21 17 8
Harry Lumley Detroit Red Wings 63 3780 148 2.35 33 16 14 7
Turk Broda Toronto Maple Leafs 68 4040 167 2.48 30 25 12 9
Chuck Rayner New York Rangers 69 4140 181 2.62 28 30 11 6
Jack Gelineau Boston Bruins 67 4020 220 3.28 22 30 15 3
Frank Brimsek Chicago Black Hawks 70 4200 244 3.49 22 38 10 5


The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1949–50:

  • Jack McIntyre, Boston Bruins
  • Red Sullivan, Boston Bruins
  • Johnny Wilson, Detroit Red Wings
  • Terry Sawchuk, Detroit Red Wings
  • Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings
  • Al Rollins, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • George Armstrong, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Tim Horton, Toronto Maple Leafs

Last Games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1949–50 (listed with their last team):

  • Jack Crawford, Boston Bruins
  • Bud Poile, Boston Bruins
  • Frank Brimsek, Chicago Black Hawks
  • Ken Reardon, Montreal Canadiens
  • Grant Warwick, Montreal Canadiens
  • Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens
  • Garth Boesch, Toronto Maple Leafs
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