1961–62 NHL season
|League||National Hockey League|
|Duration||October 11, 1961 - April 22, 1962|
|Number of games||70|
|Number of teams||6|
|Season champion||Montreal Canadiens|
|Season MVP||Jacques Plante (Montreal Canadiens)|
|Top scorer||Bobby Hull (Chicago Black Hawks)|
|Stanley Cup champions||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Runners-up||Chicago Black Hawks|
A big trade took place between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers with Doug Harvey and Albert Langlois going to the Rangers for Lou Fontinato. Harvey was named player-coach of the Rangers.
Glenn Hall got one of the greatest standing ovations in NHL history just before the NHL All-star game began. He had difficulty suppressing his emotions at the tremendous welcome he received. The All-stars defeated the Black Hawks 3–1.
Doug Harvey scored a goal in his debut as player-coach of the Rangers when they trounced the Boston Bruins 6–2 right at Boston Garden. The Rangers downed the Bruins again at Madison Square Garden 6–3 as Andy Bathgate had the hat trick and Camille Henry had two goals.
Montreal downed the Rangers 3–1 in their home opener as Henri Richard led the way with two goals playing with Beliveau and Moore, two cripples who were not expected to play. Doug Harvey was given an ovation by the crowd as he skated out in a Ranger uniform. The new defence pair of Al MacNeil and Lou Fontinato turned in a good game.
Earl Ingarfield, Sr. had a hat-trick on November 19 as the Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 5–3. The Broadway Blueshirts were showing some power, and three nights later, Doug Harvey picked up three assists and Gump Worsley picked up a shutout as the Rangers blanked the Red Wings 4–0. The win put the Rangers into first place and the following night they beat the Bruins 4–3 as Harvey scored the winner.
Toronto took over first place January 10 when they beat the Bruins 7–5. Frank Mahovlich scored two goals on his 24th birthday and Dave Keon also had two goals.
Glenn Hall played his 500th consecutive game January 17, but was beaten 7–3 by Montreal. In a losing cause, Bobby Hull scored two goals, including his 20th of the season. Glenn Hall received a car from James D. Norris, president of the Black Hawks.
Percy LeSueur, famous Ottawa goaltender in the old NHA, died on January 28, 1962 at age 79.
Bobby Hull scored four goals February 1 as the Black Hawks defeated Detroit 7–4.
The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 3–2 at home March 14, but the two highlights were Gordie Howe's 500th goal on Gump Worsley and a penalty shot for the Rangers Andy Bathgate. Howe took a pass from Alex Delvecchio and made a nice move to get by Doug Harvey. Howe switched to a left-handed shot and beat Worsley with a backhander for the 500th goal. Midway through the third period, Dean Prentice had a breakaway and was skating toward the Detroit goal, when Hank Bassen, the Detroit goalkeeper, slid his stick to break up the play. Referee Eddie Powers awarded a penalty shot, but somehow forgot that the rules had been changed that season to read that the offended player must take the shot, not one of his teammates, and Powers permitted Andy Bathgate to take the shot. Bathgate gave Bassen some of his slick dekes and Bassen flopped on his face, allowing Bathgate to fire the puck into the open net for the winning goal. From there, the Rangers held on and made the playoffs for the first time since 1958.
Bobby Hull joined the 50 goal club when he scored his 50th goal at about the five minute mark of the first period as the Chicago Black Hawks beat the New York Rangers 4–1 at Madison Square Garden in the final game of the season.
Hall and Jacques Plante of the Canadiens played every minute of every game in goal; other than Eddie Johnston of the Bruins two seasons later in 1964, they were the last major professional goaltenders to do so.
The first 43 seasons saw only one 50 goal scorer, Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Then last season, 1960–61, Bernie Geoffrion scored 50. This season saw another 50 goal scorer in Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. From this point onwards, far more seasons than not would see at least one player score fifty in a season.
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||37||22||11||232||180||+52||85|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||70||31||26||13||217||186||+31||75|
|4||New York Rangers||70||26||32||12||195||207||-12 −12||64|
|5||Detroit Red Wings||70||23||33||14||184||219||-35 −35||60|
|6||Boston Bruins||70||15||47||8||177||306||-129 −129||38|
The Black Hawks returned to the Final, by defeating the first-place Canadiens four games to two in one semi-final. In the other, the second-place Maple Leafs defeated the Rangers, also in six games to advance to the Final.
In the final, the Maple Leafs would defeat the defending champions in six games. It would be the first of three consecutive Stanley Cup wins by the Maple Leafs.
|Semi-finals||Stanley Cup Final|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||4|
|3||Chicago Black Hawks||2|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||4|
|4||New York Rangers||2|
|1961–62 NHL awards|
|Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
|Art Ross Trophy:
|Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Calder Memorial Trophy:
(Best first-year player)
|Bobby Rousseau, Montreal Canadiens|
|Hart Memorial Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
|Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens|
|James Norris Memorial Trophy:
|Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens|
|Lady Byng Memorial Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
|Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs|
(Goaltender of team with the best goals-against average)
|Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens|
|First Team||Position||Second Team|
|Jacques Plante, Montreal Canadiens||G||Glenn Hall, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Doug Harvey, Montreal Canadiens||D||Carl Brewer, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Jean-Guy Talbot, Montreal Canadiens||D||Pierre Pilote, Chicago Black Hawks|
|Stan Mikita, Chicago Black Hawks||C||Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs|
|Andy Bathgate, New York Rangers||RW||Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings|
|Bobby Hull, Chicago Black Hawks||LW||Frank Mahovlich, Toronto Maple Leafs|
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, PTS = Points, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|Bobby Hull||Chicago Black Hawks||70||50||34||84||35|
|Andy Bathgate||New York Rangers||70||28||56||84||44|
|Gordie Howe||Detroit Red Wings||70||33||44||77||54|
|Stan Mikita||Chicago Black Hawks||70||25||52||77||97|
|Frank Mahovlich||Toronto Maple Leafs||70||33||38||71||87|
|Alex Delvecchio||Detroit Red Wings||70||26||43||69||18|
|Ralph Backstrom||Montreal Canadiens||66||27||38||65||29|
|Norm Ullman||Detroit Red Wings||70||26||38||64||54|
|Bill Hay||Chicago Back Hawks||60||11||52||63||34|
|Claude Provost||Montreal Canadiens||70||33||29||62||22|
Note: GP = Games played; Min - Minutes Played; GA = Goals Against; GAA = Goals Against Average; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts
|Jacques Plante||Montreal Canadiens||70||4200||166||2.37||42||14||14||4|
|Johnny Bower||Toronto Maple Leafs||59||3540||151||2.56||31||18||10||2|
|Glenn Hall||Chicago Black Hawks||70||4200||185||2.64||31||26||13||9|
|Hank Bassen||Detroit Red Wings||27||1620||75||2.78||9||12||6||3|
|Lorne Worsley||New York Rangers||60||3531||173||2.94||22||27||9||2|
|Terry Sawchuk||Detroit Red Wings||43||2580||141||3.28||14||21||8||5|
|Don Head||Boston Bruins||38||2280||161||4.24||9||26||3||2|
|Bruce Gamble||Boston Bruins||28||1680||121||4.32||6||18||4||1|
The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1961–62 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):
- Ed Westfall, Boston Bruins
- Pat Stapleton, Boston Bruins
- Pit Martin, Detroit Red Wings
- Red Berenson, Montreal Canadiens
- Vic Hadfield, New York Rangers
- Gerry Cheevers, Toronto Maple Leafs
The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1961–62 (listed with their last team):
- Dollard St. Laurent, Chicago Black Hawks
- Leo Labine, Detroit Red Wings
- Marcel Bonin, Montreal Canadiens
- Johnny Wilson, New York Rangers
- Bert Olmstead, Toronto Maple Leafs
- 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.
- Dowbiggin, Bruce (2008), The Meaning Of Puck: How Hockey Explains Modern Canada, Toronto: Key Porter Books, ISBN 978-1-55470-041-7
- 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.
- "1961–1962 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
- Dinger 2011, p. 149.