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12-24-2011, 11:00 AM
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Balgonie selects:

Murray Armstrong, C

Armstrong doesn't appear to have been a defensive or physical player, but he was a good offensive player. Armstrong's best five percentage seasons add up to 318, and that is using a formula that is very unforgiving to WW2 players. The best score by any other available pre-expansion forward is 277, so Armstrong stands out here, big time.

- In 1944, his points projected to 61 in a full season, which would be a very solid 11th

He was 9th in points in 1940, and 21st and 32nd in other seasons.

Originally Posted by Hockey Then & Now
The trade to New York rejuvenated Armstrong's career at the NHL level. He scored 32 goals over 3 seasons with the Americans' franchise. Like many others, his time in the big leagues was interrupted due to World War 11. During his military service, he skated with the Regina Army Cps.

Armstrong returned to the National Hockey League in 1943-44 with the Detroit Red Wings. This would be his final stop once the '45-46 season came to a conclusion. As a Leaf, American and Red Wing, he scored 67 goals and 121 assists for 188 points in 270 games.
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
By 1935 he would turn professional in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, but he would spend the bulk of four seasons playing in the minor leagues, most notably with the Syracuse Stars of the AHL. He did get into 12 games of NHL action with the Leafs, plus three more in the playoffs. He picked up one assist. The Leafs of the 1930s were a powerhouse team, despite their lack of playoff success.

His otherwise unnoteworthy career to this point got a major jolt of rejuvenation when he was traded to the New York Americans in 1939. Armstrong, likely because of his affiliation up state in Syracuse, was a throw in to complete a major trade. The Leafs moved Armstrong, Buzz Boll, Busher Jackson and Doc Romnes for Sweeney Schriner, the best left winger in the game.

Much to many people's surprise, Armstrong emerged as a very solid NHL citizen in 1939-40. Playing with Jackson and Lorne Carr he scored 16 goals and 36 points in 47 games, very solid numbers for the era.

Armstrong would have two more solid years with the Amerks before he committed to Canadian military efforts of World War II. He was stationed back in Regina, home of much of Canada's military training exercises, and continued to play in the Saskatchewan senior circuit.

When Armstrong returned from his one year hiatus he ended up in Detroit with the Red Wings. During his absence the NY Americans had closed up shop and the players' rights were dispersed around the league. Armstrong put in three solid seasons with the Red Wings, with his NHL career ending in 1946.
Pete Babando, LW

Babando was top-25 in points three times and his five best percentage scores add up to 241, which is tops among available pre-expansion wingers and better than most post-expansion wingers available too. Babando played on checking lines, so hopefully he has some glue guy qualities to go with the more more one-dimensional scorers who are available this late.

Babando scored a stanley cup winning goal in OT of game 7 in 1950.

Originally Posted by
He was a solid worker for four different clubs
Originally Posted by Joe Pelletier
Pete Babando was a pretty solid hockey player for most of his National Hockey League career. However had he not scored one goal on April 23, 1950, he would most likely have vanished from memory as the years passed by. Instead, he is forever immortalized in hockey lore.

On that date the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings faced-off for the Stanley Cup. It was winner-take-all as the series was tied at 3 games a piece heading into the deciding 7th game. At the end of regulation time, the score matched the series as the teams were tied at 3. One of the all time classic games in NHL history, the game went into overtime but nothing was settled. A second overtime period was needed to decide the Stanley Cup championship.

After surviving a flurry of an attack by the Rangers where they almost scored, the Wings headed back up ice into the Rangers' zone. George Gee made a short pass to Babando, who also scored earlier in the game, who backhanded the puck on the net. Somehow, the puck eluded a screened Chuck Rayner, the Ranger goalie. At 8:30 of the second overtime period, the game was over and the Red Wings had won the Stanley Cup. In the process Pete Babando went from an otherwise unheard of skater to celebrated hero.

The humble Babando was usually too shy to talk about the goal much, but he was interviewed by The Hockey News 50 years later on the anniversary of the goal.

"We were at a faceoff in their end to Rayner's right," he recollected in an interview with Mike Gibb. "I was playing with Jacques Couture and George Gee, who took the faceoff. Usually, George had me stand behind him. But this time, he moved me over to the right and told me he was going to pull it that way. I had to take one stride and get it on my backhand. I let the shot go and it went in."

The Red Wings may have realized that Babando's status was at an all time high with that goal. In a quest to get a second straight Stanley Cup, Detroit GM peddled the new hero to the Chicago Blackhawks along with Dan Morrison, Al Dewsbury, Harry Lumley and Black Jack Stewart. The Wings got Bob Goldham, Gaye Stewart, Metro Prystai and Sugar Jim Henry in return. It was a big surprise to see the Wings make such drastic changes just a couple months after winning the Cup. It didn't work either, as the Toronto Maple Leafs won the 1951 Cup.

Babando, a native of Braeburn PA, had started his career with the Boston Bruins where he showed some offensive flash, scoring 23 goals in his rookie year (finishing second to Jim McFadden in Rookie of the Year voting) and 19 the year later before joining Detroit in the big Bill Quackenbush trade. Babando struggled royally in his only regular season with the Wings, scoring just 6 times. Of course he made up for it in the playoffs.

Babando returned to his usual steady production in Chicago. He scored 18 goals and a career high 37 points in his first year in Chicago. But his production slipped to 11 goals the following year. The Hawks were not a very good team during this time, and maybe too many unrealistic expectations were placed on the Stanley Cup hero.

The Hawks sold Babando in 1953 to, of all teams, the New York Rangers where he finished his NHL career scoring 4 goals and 8 points in 29 games. In total, Pete scored 159 points including 86 goals in 351 regular season games.

Last edited by seventieslord: 12-29-2011 at 04:54 AM.
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