After the NHL declined to negotiate with the players over benefits and would not open the books on the pension plan, the player's association filed an anti-trust lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged the monopolization of the professional hockey industry since 1926. At this time, the Toronto Maple Leafs players voted unanimously to certify the union.
The NHL started to fight back. First, they traded Lindsay to Chicago to separate him from the Red Wings, who the NHLPA had targeted for a union vote. Next, Jack Adams spread false stories in the press alleging various slanders had been made by Lindsay against the Red Wings players, and produced a fake contract to the press showing an over-inflated salary value for Lindsay, greater than Gordie Howe. The ruse worked and the Red Wings players voted to dis-associate themselves from the organizing.
Despite this, the anti-trust lawsuit placed the NHLPA in a strong position. In an out-of-court settlement on February 5, 1958, the NHL promised:
a $7000 minimum wage,
an increase in pension benefits,
increased hospitalization benefits,
a limit on the number of exhibition games,
the player shall be the sole judge of his physical fitness to play after injury.
On October 19, 1957, Rocket Richard, in a 3–1 win over Chicago, scored his 500th career goal, against Glenn Hall. He immediately dedicated it to his old coach Dick Irvin, who had died on May 15, 1957, after a long bout with bone cancer.
When Marcel Paille was brought up to the Rangers from Providence of the AHL for the ailing Gump Worsley, he sparkled, and Worsley was sent down to Providence, though he was eventually recalled. Worsley had his finest campaign up to this point, with a 2.32 goals-against average and four shutouts, and the Rangers finished second — their highest finish since 1941–42.
The first-place Montreal Canadiens swept the third-place Detroit Red Wings to qualify for the final. In the other semi-final, the fourth-place Boston Bruins upset the second-place New York Rangers in six games to qualify for the final.
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. ISBN0-7853-9624-1.
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. ISBN0-684-13424-1.