1926–27 NHL season

1926–27 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration November 16, 1926 – April 13, 1927
Number of games 44
Number of teams 10
Regular season
Season champions Ottawa Senators
Top scorer Bill Cook (Rangers)
Stanley Cup
Champions Ottawa Senators
  Runners-up Boston Bruins

The 1926–27 NHL season was the tenth season of the National Hockey League. The success of the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Pirates led the NHL to expand further within the United States. The league added three new teams: the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers, to make a total of ten, split in two divisions. This resulted in teams based in Canada being in the minority for the first time. To stock the teams with players the new teams brought in players from the Western Hockey League, which folded in May 1926. This left the NHL in sole possession of hockey's top players, as well as sole control of hockey's top trophy, the Stanley Cup, which was won by the Ottawa Senators. This was the original Senators' eleventh and final Stanley Cup win. The Senators' first was in 1903.

League business

At the 1926 Stanley Cup Final, WHL president Frank Patrick began shopping the WHL's players to the NHL, hoping to raise $300,000 to distribute to the WHL owners. Patrick approached Art Ross of the Bruins, who agreed to purchase the contracts of Frank Fredrickson, Eddie Shore and Duke Keats. After the series, Patrick approached the new New York Rangers owner Tex Hammond and their general manager Conn Smythe, but they were turned down. Patrick and Ross approached the Bruins' owner who agreed to purchase the entire lot of players for $250,000, and gave Patrick a $50,000 check as a deposit. He planned to keep some of the players for the Bruins, sell twelve players each to the new Chicago and Detroit franchises and distribute the rest to the rest of the league.[1]

At the May 1, 1926, meeting, the NHL awarded the Detroit franchise to the syndicate of Wesley Seybourn and John Townsend, formed by Charles A. Hughes. However, a split occurred in the NHL over the awarding of the Chicago franchise. Tex Ricard wanted to build a new arena in Chicago, and backed the syndicate formed by Huntington Hardwick. This was blocked at first by the New York Rangers, as a new franchise required unanimity. But the NHL governors could amend their constitution with a two-thirds vote, and they amended the constitution to lower the bar for a new franchise to a simple majority vote. The governors agreed that Huntwick would get the Chicago franchise. Huntwick proceeded to buy the Portland Rosebuds and the Hughes group purchased the Victoria Cougars, each for $100,000. The Bruins took Fredrickson, Shore, Keats and others, while the Rangers took Frank Boucher. In total, the player's contracts purchased that day totalled $267,000 for Patrick to take back to the WHL. On May 15, the NHL awarded the franchises to the Hardwick and Hughes consortiums, with provisals that each team would have an NHL-ready team for September 1, and new arenas by November 10.[2]

At the September 25, 1926, NHL meeting, the Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Cougars and New York Rangers were added to the league. The Hughes consortium proceeded with the purchase of the Cougars and the franchise, while the Chicago franchise instead went to Frederic McLaughlin, who took over the deal from Huntwick on June 1.[3] The NHL's second franchise in New York City went to the Madison Square Garden syndicate of John S. Hammond.[4]

Toronto bought the players of the Saskatoon franchise separately, and Montreal claimed George Hainsworth. The rest of the WHL players would be distributed by a committee of Frank Calder, Leo Dandurand and James Strachan. The former WHL players make an impact in the NHL. The top scorer is Bill Cook, the top goalie is George Hainsworth, and defenceman Herb Gardiner is the league MVP.[5]

A special meeting was held on October 26 at which the NHL was split into the Canadian and American divisions. It was the first divisional format to be implemented in a major professional North American sports league. To balance the divisions, the New York Americans were placed in the Canadian Division. With the new divisional alignment came an altered playoff format: the top team from each division would meet the winner of a total-goals series between the second and third place teams from their divisions. The winners of those total-goals series would meet in a best-of-five Stanley Cup final.

The Central Hockey League changed its name to the American Hockey Association. The new AHA signed an agreement of co-operation with the NHL, wanting to place itself on an equal footing with the NHL, but non-competitive. However, the new AHA placed franchises in Chicago and Detroit, competing with NHL teams. The Chicago Cardinals were backed by old nemesis Eddie Livingstone and became a source of friction with the NHL. Calder declared that several of the Cardinals' players were illegally signed and broke off the agreement with the AHA. The AHA could not compete with the NHL and the Detroit franchise folded in December, and the Chicago franchise folded in March. The AHA then signed another cooperation agreement with the NHL and forced Livingstone out.

The Toronto St. Patricks were sold in mid-season to a syndicate headed by Conn Smythe for $160,000.[5] The club is renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the NHL ruled that the team had to use the name St. Patricks until the end of the 1926–27 season or the team's players would become free agents, as they were under contract as the St. Pats. They became the Maple Leafs the following season.

Rules changes

The blue lines moved to sixty feet from the goal line from twenty feet from the center red line to increase the size of the neutral zone.

Two innovations attributed to Art Ross are adopted by the NHL. The league adopts a modified puck, which has rounded edges. The net is modified to keep the puck in the webbing.[5]

Regular season

The Montreal Canadiens, last place finishers in 1925–26, solved their goaltending woes by signing George Hainsworth. They further strengthened their team by signing Herb Gardiner of the Western League's Calgary Tigers for defence. The Canadiens finished second in the Canadian Division to powerful Ottawa, who was the league's best team.

Dave Gill, secretary-treasurer (general manager), decided to take over as coach of the Ottawa Senators. He would be assisted by Frank Shaughnessy, a former manager of the Senators in the NHA days, to assist him with the strategy used in games. Ottawa finished first atop the Canadian Division.

The arena is not ready in Detroit for the start of the regular season. The expansion Cougars play their first 22 home games just across the Canada–United States border in Windsor, Ontario, at the Border Cities Arena.[5]

New York Americans right winger Shorty Green's career is ended after an injury in a game on February 27, 1927. New York Rangers defenceman Taffy Abel bodychecked Green, causing a kidney injury that requires an emergency operation to remove the kidney; Abel retires for health reasons.[5]

Final standings

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF= Goals For, GA = Goals Against

Canadian Division
GP W L T GF GA Pts
Ottawa Senators4430104866964
Montreal Canadiens4428142996758
Montreal Maroons4420204716844
New York Americans4417252829136
Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs4415245799435
American Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
New York Rangers4425136957256
Boston Bruins4421203978945
Chicago Black Hawks441922311511641
Pittsburgh Pirates44152637910833
Detroit Cougars44122847610528

[6]

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against
Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Playoffs

With the collapse of the Western Hockey League, the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the NHL. The NHL teams now battled out amongst themselves for the coveted Cup. The new division alignment and the new playoff format also meant that an American team was guaranteed to be the first American NHL team to make the Cup Finals.

The division winners received a bye to the second round. The second-place and third-place finishers played a two-game, total-goals series to advance to the second round. The second-place Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins both advanced to the second round. The Canadiens lost to the first-place Ottawa Senators, while the Bruins upset the first-place New York Rangers to set up the Finals. Ties were not broken using overtime. After two ties in the Finals, NHL president Frank Calder capped the Finals at four games and neither team won three games of the best-of-five Finals. Ottawa won two to Boston's none and the series ended on April 13 with Ottawa the winner.

Playoff bracket

  Quarterfinals Semifinals Stanley Cup Finals
                           
     
  C1 Ottawa 5G  
    C2 Mtl Canadiens 1G  
C2 Mtl Canadiens 2G
  C3 Mtl Maroons 1G  
    C1 Ottawa 2
  A2 Boston 0
       
     
A1 NY Rangers 1G
    A2 Boston 3G  
A2 Boston 10G
  A3 Chicago 5G  

Quarterfinals

(C2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (C3) Montreal Maroons

Montreal Canadiens won series on total goals 2–1

(A2) Boston Bruins vs. (A3) Chicago Black Hawks

Game one of this series was played in New York.

Boston won series on total goals 10–5

Semifinals

(C1) Ottawa Senators vs. (C2) Montreal Canadiens

Ottawa won series on total goals 5–1

(A1) New York Rangers vs. (A2) Boston Bruins

Boston won series on total goals 3–1

Stanley Cup Finals

Ottawa won series 2–0–2

Awards

A new trophy in memory of Georges Vezina, the Vezina Trophy, was donated this year by Montreal Canadiens owners Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joseph Cattarinich. It is to be presented to the league's "most valuable goaltender." It is won by his successor with the Canadiens, George Hainsworth.

1926–27 NHL awards
Hart Trophy:
(Most valuable player)
Herb Gardiner, Montreal Canadiens
Lady Byng Trophy:
(Excellence and sportsmanship)
Billy Burch, New York Americans
O'Brien Cup:
(League champions)
Ottawa Senators
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(League champions)
Ottawa Senators
Vezina Trophy:
(Fewest goals allowed)
George Hainsworth, Montreal Canadiens

Player statistics

Scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Bill CookNew York Rangers4433437
Dick IrvinChicago Black Hawks43181836
Howie MorenzMontreal Canadiens4425732
Frank FredricksonDetroit Cougars / Boston Bruins44181331
Babe DyeChicago Black Hawks4125530
Ace BaileyToronto St. Patricks42151328
Frank BoucherNew York Rangers44131528
Billy BurchNew York Americans4319827
Harry OliverBoston Bruins4218624
Duke KeatsBoston / Detroit Cougars4216824

Source: NHL.[7]

Leading goaltenders

Note: GP = Games played; Mins = Minutes played; GA = Goals against; SO = Shut outs; GAA = Goals against average

Player Team GP Mins GA SO GAA
Clint BenedictMontreal Maroons43274865131.42
Lorne ChabotNew York Rangers36230756101.46
George HainsworthMontreal Canadiens44273267141.47
Alex ConnellOttawa Senators44278269131.49
Hal WinklerNew York Rangers / Boston Bruins3119595661.72
Jake ForbesNew York Americans4427159182.01
John Ross RoachToronto St. Patricks4427649442.04
Hap HolmesDetroit Cougars41268510062.23
Roy WortersPittsburgh Pirates44271110842.39
Hugh LehmanChicago Black Hawks44279711652.49

Playoff scoring leaders

Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points

Player Team GP G A Pts
Harry OliverBoston Bruins8426
Percy GalbraithBoston Bruins8336

Coaches

American Division

Canadian Division

Debuts

The following is a list of players of note who played their first NHL game in 1926–27 (listed with their first team, asterisk(*) marks debut in playoffs):

Last games

The following is a list of players of note that played their last game in the NHL in 1926–27 (listed with their last team):

See also

References

  • Diamond, Dan, ed. (2000). Total Hockey. Total Sports. ISBN 1-892129-85-X. 
  • Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. 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. 
  • Fischler, Stan; Fischler, Shirley; Hughes, Morgan; Romain, Joseph; Duplacey, James (2003). The Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Publications International Inc. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
  • Jenish, D'Arcy (2013). The NHL: 100 Years of On-Ice Action and Boardroom Battles. Random House LLC. ISBN 9780385671477. 
  • McFarlane, Brian (1973). The Story of the National Hockey League. New York, NY: Pagurian Press. ISBN 0-684-13424-1. 
  • Deceptions and Doublecross: How the NHL Conquered Hockey by Morey Holzman and Joseph Nieforth Dundurn Books
Notes
  1. Jenish 2013, pp. 46–47.
  2. Jenish 2013, pp. 47–48.
  3. Jenish 2013, p. 52.
  4. McFarlane 1973, p. 37.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Dryden 2000, p. 29.
  6. Standings: NHL Public Relations Department (2008). Dave McCarthy; et al., eds. THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Official Guide & Record Book/2009. National Hockey League. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-894801-14-0.
  7. Dinger 2011, p. 146.
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