1948–49 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 13, 1948 - April 16, 1949|
|Number of games||60|
|Number of teams||6|
|Season champion||Detroit Red Wings|
|Season MVP||Sid Abel (Detroit Red Wings)|
|Top scorer||Roy Conacher (Chicago Black Hawks)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Runners-up||Detroit Red Wings|
League business 
Rule changes 
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, 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 sixty years before another goalie would be captain. For the 2008–09 season, the Vancouver Canucks named Roberto Luongo their 12th team captain and NHL history's seventh goalie captain. The rule remained in place, however, and Luongo could not 'act' as captain during games.
Regular season 
Don Gallinger of the Boston Bruins, 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 Redwings. 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, and 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.
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, Durnan had 10 shutouts and won his fifth Vezina Trophy in six years.
Final standings 
|1||Detroit Red Wings||60||34||19||7||195||145||+50||75|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||60||22||25||13||147||161||−14||57|
|5||Chicago Black Hawks||60||21||31||8||173||211||−38||50|
|6||New York Rangers||60||18||31||11||133||172||−39||47|
Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens
|March 22||Montreal Canadiens||1||Detroit Red Wings||2||OT|
|March 24||Montreal Canadiens||4||Detroit Red Wings||3||OT|
|March 26||Detroit Red Wings||2||Montreal Canadiens||3|
|March 29||Detroit Red Wings||3||Montreal Canadiens||1|
|March 31||Montreal Canadiens||1||Detroit Red Wings||3|
|April 2||Detroit Red Wings||1||Montreal Canadiens||3|
|April 5||Montreal Canadiens||1||Detroit Red Wings||3|
Detroit wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 3
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins
|March 22||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||Boston Bruins||0|
|March 24||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||Boston Bruins||2|
|March 26||Boston Bruins||5||Toronto Maple Leafs||4||OT|
|March 29||Boston Bruins||1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
|March 30||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||Boston Bruins||2|
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 1
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings
|April 8||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||Detroit Red Wings||2|
|April 10||Toronto Maple Leafs||3||Detroit Red Wings||1|
|April 13||Detroit Red Wings||1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
|April 16||Detroit Red Wings||1||Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
Toronto wins best-of-seven series 4 games to 0
Playoff bracket 
|Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||4|
|1||Detroit Red Wings||0|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|4||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Top first-year player)
|Pentti Lund, New York Rangers|
(Most valuable player)
|Sid Abel, Detroit Red Wings|
|Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Bill Quackenbush, Detroit Red Wings|
(Stanley Cup runner-up)
|Detroit Red Wings|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Top regular-season record)
|Detroit Red Wings|
|Art Ross Trophy:
|Roy Conacher, Chicago Black Hawks|
(Goaltender of team with lowest GAA)
|Bill Durnan, Montreal Canadiens|
All-Star teams 
Player statistics 
Scoring leaders 
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|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 goaltenders 
Note: GP = Games played; Mins - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|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|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1948–49 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
Last games 
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):
- Neil Colville, New York Rangers
See also 
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 2nd National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- 1948 in sports
- 1949 in sports
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- Dinger 2011, p. 148.