1959–60 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 7, 1959 - April 14, 1960|
|Number of games||70|
|Number of teams||6|
|Season champion||Montreal Canadiens|
|Season MVP||Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings)|
|Top scorer||Bobby Hull (Chicago Black Hawks)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Montreal Canadiens|
|Runners-up||Toronto Maple Leafs|
The 1959–60 NHL season was the 43rd season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to none for their fifth straight Stanley Cup.
The season was marked by important changes in the NHL. Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante, like Clint Benedict before him, began to wear a mask in hockey games. Plante, who had asthma-related problems throughout his career, began wearing a mask in practice shortly after a sinus operation in 1957. His first appearance with a mask in a game was on November 1, 1959, against the New York Rangers. Although many in the NHL disapproved of Plante's decision, due to the traditions of the NHL at the time, many followed suit after Plante went undefeated in ten games with the mask on.
Phil Watson suffered an ulcer and was quietly dismissed as Ranger coach and replaced by Alf Pike. Gump Worsley was demoted to Springfield of the AHL and Worsley screamed he was finished with hockey. But he reported to Springfield anyway. Eddie Shore, known for his criticism of his players, gave Worsley a surprise vote of confidence. Gump played well for the Indians.
There was trouble brewing for Rangers right-winger sniper Andy Bathgate, who'd ripped open Plante's nose on the night of the goalie mask's official NHL debut, when, in an article in True Magazine, ghosted by Dave Anderson, he listed the names of players whom he considered guilty of the dangerous act of spearing. This was brought to the attention of NHL President Clarence Campbell, who then fined Bathgate $500 and Ranger general manager Muzz Patrick $100 on the grounds the article was prejudicial to and against the welfare of the league.
Gump Worsley, demoted to Springfield of the AHL, was brought back up as Marcel Paille was even worse in goal. Gump and the Rangers beat the Canadiens 8–3 in his first game back. Then a week later, Gump got bombed 11–2. Nothing had changed. Later against Chicago, Worsley suffered an injury that finished him for the season. Hawks' winger Bobby Hull skated over his catching glove and severed two tendons in his fingers. Al Rollins was called up to replace him. Later, Olympic hero Jack McCartan played a few games for the Rangers and played very well.
This regular season, like the two preceding it and the two following it, belonged to the Montreal Canadiens as they were in the midst of five straight first overall finishes and at the tail end of five straight Stanley Cup victories. The Detroit Red Wings, who were dead last and missed the playoffs the previous season, squeaked into the playoffs riding a Hart Memorial Trophy performance by their ageless star right-winger Gordie Howe.
The Boston Bruins, despite a flurry of offense, sparked by the UKE Line, Slick centre Don McKenney, who would lead the NHL in assists while winning the Lady Byng Trophy and versatile Doug Mohns, narrowly missed the playoffs. Bronco Horvath finished 2nd in the scoring race & was selected on the 2nd All Star Team. 1959-60 saw 2 veteran players, Fleming MacKell & Goaltender Harry Lumley, play their last campaigns before retirement.
This season marked the first season of the Original Six era during which every active player had played for Original Six teams only. Ken Mosdell, the last player to play for another team, retired the previous season.
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||35||26||9||199||195||+4||79|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||70||28||29||13||191||180||+11||69|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||70||26||29||15||186||197||-11 −11||67|
|5||Boston Bruins||70||28||34||8||220||241||-21 −21||64|
|6||New York Rangers||70||17||38||15||187||247||-60 −60||49|
Stanley Cup playoffs
All dates in 1960
The momentum did not stop for the Habs as they played the minimum number of games to win the Stanley Cup. Montreal, in the process, became the last Cup winners in NHL history to go undefeated in the playoffs to date. After winning the Stanley Cup, Maurice Richard retired from the NHL as a champion.
|Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||0|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||0|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|4||Detroit Red Wings||2|
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens
|April 7||Toronto Maple Leafs||2||Montreal Canadiens||4|
|April 9||Toronto Maple Leafs||1||Montreal Canadiens||2|
|April 12||Montreal Canadiens||5||Toronto Maple Leafs||2|
|April 14||Montreal Canadiens||4||Toronto Maple Leafs||0|
Montreal wins best-of-seven series four games to none
Gordie Howe won the Hart Trophy to become the first five-time winner of the Hart. In voting, he received 118 votes of a possible 180, twice as many as runner-up Bobby Hull. Howe was the last winner of the original Hart Trophy. The trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the NHL began presenting a new trophy, which was dubbed the Hart Memorial Trophy in its place. Hull won the Art Ross Trophy for the scoring championship, his first. Doug Harvey won the Norris Trophy for the fifth time, and the fifth time in the seven times it had been awarded. The Canadiens had the lowest goals against average, for the fifth consecutive time, and Jacques Plante was awarded his fifth Vezina Trophy. The Black Hawks' Glenn Hall was named to the First All-Star team as goaltender.
|1959–60 NHL awards|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
|Art Ross Trophy:
|Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
|Bill Hay, Chicago Black Hawks|
(Most valuable player)
|Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:
|Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Don McKenney, Boston Bruins|
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
|Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens|
|First team||Position||Second team|
|Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks||G||Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens|
|Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens||D||Allan Stanley, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Marcel Pronovost, Detroit Red Wings||D||Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Jean Beliveau, Montreal Canadiens||C||Bronco Horvath, Boston Bruins|
|Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings||RW||Bernie Geoffrion, Montreal Canadiens|
|Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks||LW||Dean Prentice, New York Rangers|
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points
|Bobby Hull||Chicago Black Hawks||70||39||42||81|
|Bronco Horvath||Boston Bruins||68||39||41||80|
|Jean Beliveau||Montreal Canadiens||60||34||40||74|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||26||48||74|
|Henri Richard||Montreal Canadiens||70||30||43||73|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||28||45||73|
|Bernie Geoffrion||Montreal Canadiens||59||30||41||71|
|Don McKenney||Boston Bruins||70||20||49||69|
|Vic Stasiuk||Boston Bruins||69||29||39||68|
|Dean Prentice||New York Rangers||70||32||34||66|
Note: GP = Games played; MIN = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; AVG = Goals against average
|Jacques Plante||Montreal Canadiens||69||4140||175||3||2.54|
|Glenn Hall||Chicago Black Hawks||70||4200||179||6||2.56|
|Terry Sawchuk||Detroit Red Wings||58||3480||155||5||2.67|
|Johnny Bower||Toronto Maple Leafs||66||3960||177||5||2.68|
|Don Simmons||Boston Bruins||28||1680||91||2||3.25|
|Harry Lumley||Boston Bruins||42||2520||146||2||3.48|
|Gump Worsley||New York Rangers||39||2301||135||0||3.52|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1959–60 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Dallas Smith, Boston Bruins
- Bill Hay, Chicago Black Hawks
- J. C. Tremblay, Montreal Canadiens
- Dave Balon, New York Rangers
- Ken Schinkel, New York Rangers
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1959–60 (listed with their last team):
- Fleming MacKell, Boston Bruins
- Maurice Richard, Montreal Canadiens
- Al Rollins, New York Rangers
- Harry Lumley, Boston Bruins
- Dave Creighton, Toronto Maple Leafs
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- 13th National Hockey League All-Star Game
- National Hockey League All-Star Game
- Ice hockey at the 1960 Winter Olympics
- 1959 in sports
- 1960 in sports
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- "1959–1960 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
- "Fifth Hart Trophy for Gordie Howe". Montreal Gazette. May 7, 1960. p. 37.
- Hollander & Bock 1970, p. 311.
- Dinger 2011, p. 149.