Here’s a look at today’s NHL history.
1939- The Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup for the 1938-1939 season. This was the first time a seven game series format was used. Previously, a best of five series was used in the Stanley Cup. However, the series did not go past five games in 1939. The Bruins won the Cup four games to one. The first time the Stanley Cup series exceeded five games was the following year, when the New York Rangers defeated the Maple Leafs four games to two.
1949- April 16 really involves the Maple Leafs a lot. On this date, 64 years ago, Toronto became the first team to ever win the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons. They did so in style in 1948 and 1949, sweeping the Detroit Red Wings both years four games to zero. It only seems fitting that Toronto won three championships in a row, because from 1938-1940, the Maple Leafs fell just short and lost the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons.
1999- A “Great” day, but maybe not so much. The “Great” Wayne Gretzky announced that he would retire after his game on April 18. Gretzky is arguably the best hockey player that has come through the NHL. In 1,487 NHL games, Gretzky scored 894 goals and collected 1,963 assists. His point total of 2,857 nearly equates to an average of two points registered per game. I don’t think we’ll see a greater player ever in the NHL.
So it’s a busy day in NHL history. Maybe more will be made tonight. Stay tuned for more columns on “Today in NHL History.”