1955–56 NHL season

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1955–56 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 6, 1955 – April 10, 1956
Number of games 70
Number of teams 6
Regular season
Season champion Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Jean Beliveau (Montreal Canadiens)
Top scorer Jean Beliveau (Montreal Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Champions Montreal Canadiens
  Runners-up Detroit Red Wings
NHL seasons

The 1955–56 NHL season was the 39th season of the National Hockey League. Six teams each played 70 games. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup champions as they beat the Detroit Red Wings four games to one in the best-of-seven final series.

League business[edit]

At a governors' meeting in December, a discussion took place concerning the uniforms worn by officials. It was contended that the present orange and black uniforms were confusing to players and fans, particularly when red uniforms are worn by either of the participating teams. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the existing uniforms showed up black on television. It was unanimously agreed that officials' uniforms should be changed to black and white vertical stripes. The black and white uniforms were first worn on December 29, 1955.

With Montreal frequently racking up two or three goals on any one power play, NHL President Clarence Campbell said he'd like the penalty rule revised to a penalized player returning to the ice when a power play goal is scored on a minor penalty. The Canadiens were the lone club to vote against the new legislation.

Regular season[edit]

The streak of seven straight seasons at the top of the NHL held by the Detroit Red Wings' dynasty came to an end as the Montreal Canadiens were tops. The Canadiens set a new record for wins in a season with 45. The Canadiens had a new coach, their one-time great former All-Star left-winger, Hector "Toe" Blake.

Dick Irvin, formerly the coach in Montreal, whom Habs' GM Frank Selke Sr. found a little truculent, took over as coach in Chicago, but could not get them out of the cellar, though they did improve. It was sort of a homecoming for Irvin as he started his coaching career with Chicago in 1930.

Highlights[edit]

When the Hawks went to the Montreal Forum on October 22, Irvin was presented with a set of silver flatware by William Northey, representing the Canadian Arena Company. In the game itself, rookie Henri Richard scored two goals as Montreal shut out Chicago 6–0.

On November 5, Jean Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds as Montreal beat Boston 4–3. The record for fastest hat trick still was held by Bill Mosienko with three goals in 21 seconds.

On January 11, a crowd of 15,570 delighted fans at Madison Square Garden watched the Rangers trounce the Canadiens 6–1. Pete Conacher was a star for the Rangers with two goals. Lou Fontinato and Maurice Richard had a gala fight and Fontinato knocked out Richard with a punch that required several stitches above Richard's eye.

Montreal routed the Rangers 9–4 on February 18 as Beliveau had the hat trick and Richard two. The Rocket was incensed when referee Louis Maschio gave his brother a misconduct penalty and his teammates had to cool him off.

Beliveau set a record for goals by a center when he scored his 45th goal on March 15. Maurice Richard was hurt in this game when he fell over Hawk defenceman Pierre Pilote's skate and went headlong into the goal. He required stitches and was taken to hospital for X-rays. The Rocket was back in the lineup on St. Patrick's Day as the Canadiens trounced the Rangers 7–2 and Richard had the hat trick.

Rookie Glenn Hall had a fabulous year with 12 shutouts and a 2.11 goals against average for the ever-powerful Detroit Red Wings. He received the Calder Memorial Trophy over Henri "Pocket Rocket" Richard.

Final standings[edit]

National Hockey League[1]
GP W L T GF GA DIFF Pts
1 Montreal Canadiens 70 45 15 10 222 131 +91 100
2 Detroit Red Wings 70 30 24 16 183 148 +35 76
3 New York Rangers 70 32 28 10 204 203 +1 74
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 70 24 33 13 153 181 -28 −28 61
5 Boston Bruins 70 23 34 13 147 185 -38 −38 59
6 Chicago Black Hawks 70 19 39 12 155 216 -61 −61 50


Playoffs[edit]

see 1956 Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff bracket[edit]

Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
           
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
3 New York Rangers 1
1 Montreal Canadiens 4
2 Detroit Red Wings 1
2 Detroit Red Wings 4
4 Toronto Maple Leafs 1

Awards[edit]

Award winners
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
Art Ross Trophy:
(Top scorer)
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens
James Norris Memorial Trophy:
(Best defenceman)
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Earl Reibel, Detroit Red Wings
Vezina Trophy:
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens

All-Star teams[edit]

First team   Position   Second team
Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens G Glenn Hall, Detroit Red Wings
Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens D Red Kelly, Detroit Red Wings
Bill Gadsby, New York Rangers D Tom Johnson, Montreal Canadiens
Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens C Tod Sloan, Toronto Maple Leafs
Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens RW Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Ted Lindsay, Detroit Red Wings LW Bert Olmstead, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

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

Player Team GP G A PTS PIM
Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens 70 47 41 88 143
Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings 70 38 41 79 100
Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens 70 38 33 71 89
Bert Olmstead Montreal Canadiens 70 14 56 70 94
Tod Sloan Toronto Maple Leafs 70 37 29 66 100
Andy Bathgate New York Rangers 70 19 47 66 59
Bernie Geoffrion Montreal Canadiens 59 29 33 62 66
Earl Reibel Detroit Red Wings 68 17 39 56 10
Alex Delvecchio Detroit Red Wings 70 25 36 51 24
Dave Creighton New York Rangers 70 20 31 51 43

Source: NHL[2]

Leading goaltenders[edit]

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

Player Team GP MIN GA GAA W L T SO
Jacques Plante Montreal Canadiens 64 3840 119 1.86 42 12 10 7
Glenn Hall Detroit Red Wings 70 4200 147 2.10 30 24 16 12
Terry Sawchuk Boston Bruins 68 4080 177 2.60 22 33 13 9
Harry Lumley Toronto Maple Leafs 59 3527 159 2.70 21 28 10 3
Lorne Worsley New York Rangers 70 4200 199 2.84 32 28 10 4
Al Rollins Chicago Black Hawks 58 3480 172 2.97 17 30 11 3

Debuts[edit]

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1955–56 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1955–56 (listed with their last team):

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Coleman, Charles L. (1976), Trail of the Stanley Cup, Vol III, Sherbrooke, QC: Progressive Publications 
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (1994). Years of glory, 1942–1967: the National Hockey League's official book of the six-team era. Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-2817-2. 
  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Kingston, NY: Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Toronto, ON: Dan Diamond & Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-22-5. 
  • Dryden, Steve, ed. (2000). Century of hockey. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart Ltd. ISBN 0-7710-4179-9. 
  • Duplacey, James (2008), Hockey’s Book of Firsts, North Dighton, MA: JG Press, ISBN 978-1-57215-037-9 
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1969), 50 Years Of Hockey, Winnipeg, MAN: Greywood Publishing, ISBN B000GW45S0 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1. 
Notes

External links[edit]