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1960–61 NHL season

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Title: 1960–61 NHL season  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of Montreal Canadiens award winners, Dave Keon, Doug Harvey (ice hockey), George Sullivan (ice hockey), Johnny Bower
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

1960–61 NHL season

1960–61 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 5, 1960 – April 16, 1961
Number of games 70
Number of teams 6
Regular season
Season champion Montreal Canadiens
Season MVP Bernie Geoffrion (Montreal Canadiens)
Top scorer Bernie Geoffrion (Montreal Canadiens)
Stanley Cup
Champions Chicago Black Hawks
  Runners-up Detroit Red Wings

The 1960–61 NHL season was the 44th season of the National Hockey League. The Chicago Black Hawks defeated the Detroit Red Wings in the 1961 Stanley Cup Final four games to two to win the Stanley Cup. It was the first series since 1950 with two American-based teams. It was Chicago's first Cup win since 1938; they would not win another until 2010.

Gordie Howe of the Red Wings became the first player in NHL history to achieve the career mark of 1000 regular-season points. It would be seven more seasons before the Montreal Canadiens' Jean Béliveau would match the feat.


  • League business 1
  • Off-season 2
  • Regular season 3
    • Final standings 3.1
  • Playoffs 4
    • Playoff bracket 4.1
    • Semifinals 4.2
      • (1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Chicago Black Hawks 4.2.1
      • (2) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings 4.2.2
    • Stanley Cup Final 4.3
  • Awards 5

League business

The original Hart Trophy was retired, as all its plaques were filled and its general condition had deteriorated. It was decided to donate the Hart Memorial Trophy in its place.


On September 15, 1960, Maurice "Rocket" Richard announced his retirement from hockey. During his career, he had led all scorers with a record 544 goals plus 82 for the playoffs. Despite the league expanding the number of games in a season to 70 games from 50 since Richard's famous 50 goals in 50 games, Richard remained the only player to score 50 goals in a season, until this season.

Regular season

By this season, the Chicago Black Hawks were a strong team. They had an especially powerful defense, which had Pierre Pilote, Al Arbour, Jack Evans, and Elmer Vasko. Up front, youngsters Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led the offense, and goaltender Glenn Hall was the Hawks' steady presence between the pipes.

It was reported that Eddie Shore, the great Boston Bruins defenseman and four-time league MVP from the 1930s, had been stricken with a heart attack, but was resting comfortably in a Springfield, Massachusetts hospital.

On October 13, the Canadiens routed the Rangers 8–4, with Bernie Geoffrion and Dickie Moore each scoring hat tricks.

Jack McCartan got his only NHL shutout for the New York Rangers by blanking the Black Hawks 2–0 on October 19. Chicago's Reg Fleming set a record with 37 penalty minutes in this game. They included three major penalties for battles with Dean Prentice, Eddie Shack, and John Hanna, a misconduct, and a game misconduct.

On December 1, the Canadiens, who had traded Clarence Campbell, who fined the Leafs bench boss $200.

In the new year, Stan Mikita helped to spark Chicago. He scored two goals in a 3–2 win over the Rangers on January 4 and scored the winner when the Black Hawks beat Boston 4–3 the following night.

Former Canadiens defenceman Leo Lamoureux died in Indianapolis on January 11 at age 45.

Chicago defeated the Rangers 4–3 on March 8. New York goalie Gump Worsley pulled a hamstring muscle and Joe Shaefer replaced him with the score 1–1. The next night, the Rangers were eliminated from the playoffs as Bernie Geoffrion potted a hat trick in a 6–1 pasting by the Canadiens.

Toronto's Johnny Bower, who appeared on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy, strained a leg muscle and would have to take a rest. Cesare Maniago played in goal for the Leafs on March 16 and lost 5–2. It looked like two players, Toronto's Frank Mahovlich and Montreal's Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, were going to hit 50 goals, but Mahovlich ended up slumping near the end of the season and missed 50 by two goals. Geoffrion scored his 50th goal that night and got a wild ovation. He also added 45 assists and led the league in scoring.

Toronto played a 2–2 tie with the Rangers in their final game of the season and Bobby Baun was a victim of his own hard hitting. Camille Henry of the Rangers ran into Baun and Henry's skate cut Baun in the neck. Baun returned for the third period, but after the game, while boarding the team bus, he began to gasp desperately. He groped for attention and waved his arms, and his teammates finally realized he was in trouble and rushed him to the hospital where an emergency operation was performed to permit breathing. Baun missed some action in the playoffs as the result of the injury.

Final standings


For the Montreal Canadiens, two streaks came to an end. The Canadiens' streak of ten consecutive Finals appearances and five consecutive Finals wins came to an end with a defeat to eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Black Hawks in the first round. The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the other semi-final to set up an all-American final between Chicago and Detroit.

Playoff bracket

Semi-finals Stanley Cup Final
1 Montreal Canadiens 2
3 Chicago Black Hawks 4
3 Chicago Black Hawks 4
4 Detroit Red Wings 2
2 Toronto Maple Leafs 1
4 Detroit Red Wings 4


(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (3) Chicago Black Hawks

Chicago won series 4–2

(2) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (4) Detroit Red Wings

Detroit won series 4–1

Stanley Cup Final

Chicago defeated the Red Wings in six games to win their first Cup since 1938, and their last until 2010.

Chicago won series 4–2


1960–61 NHL awards
Prince of Wales Trophy:
(Regular season champion)
Montreal Canadiens
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