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07-12-2012, 08:18 AM
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Canadiens1958
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Official Game Sheets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
Researching Henri Richard's performance in 1961-1962 I discovered what looks like an inaccuracy in the NHL record. And I'm not talking about different shot counting or assist counting in different arenas.

According to the record Henri Richard played in 54 games out of 70 in the 1961-62 NHL season. hockey-reference.com, hockeydb.com and other websites have the same number - no surprise, they base their data on the NHL record.
NHL player profil: http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8448320.
NHL season overview: http://www.nhl.com/ice/historicalsta...ion=S&country=

I was surprised to discover Henri Richard seems to have missed 17 games that season. If the NHL record was accurate, he must only have missed 70-54=16 games. Let's look into it:

-Henri Richard missed the last 11 games of the regular season. He got hit by Marcel Pronovost of the Detroit Red Wings on March 3rd 1961 and broke his arm. The injury put Richard on the sideline for the rest of the regular season (games 60-70 of the Canadiens' schedule) and the playoffs. This is an undisputed fact, no controversial issue so far. Still a source from 1962: Montreal Gazette, March 5th, Page 17 and esp.18 (I can't generate an automatic link to either page for whatever reason): http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...rontpage&hl=en
Take a look at the schedule. Game 59 (bolded) is the one in which Richard got injured. Games 60-70 are the ones which he had to sit out because of the injury:

Schedule (courtesy of http://www.hockey-reference.com/team...962_games.html)
59 Sat, Mar 3, 1962 Detroit Red Wings T 2 2 35 11 13 T 2 - Injury
60 Sun, Mar 4, 1962 @ Chicago Black Hawks L 2 5 35 12 13 L 1
61 Thu, Mar 8, 1962 Toronto Maple Leafs T 1 1 35 12 14 T 1
62 Sat, Mar 10, 1962 Boston Bruins W 5 2 36 12 14 W 1
63 Sun, Mar 11, 1962 @ New York Rangers W 2 1 37 12 14 W 2
64 Wed, Mar 14, 1962 @ Toronto Maple Leafs L 2 5 37 13 14 L 1
65 Thu, Mar 15, 1962 Chicago Black Hawks W 6 5 38 13 14 W 1
66 Sat, Mar 17, 1962 New York Rangers W 2 0 39 13 14 W 2
67 Sun, Mar 18, 1962 @ Boston Bruins L 2 6 39 14 14 L 1
68 Thu, Mar 22, 1962 Toronto Maple Leafs W 4 1 40 14 14 W 1
69 Sat, Mar 24, 1962 Chicago Black Hawks W 5 3 41 14 14 W 2
70 Sun, Mar 25, 1962 @ Detroit Red Wings W 5 2 42 14 14 W 3

Now to the controversial issue. According to the official NHL record there are 5 other games Richard missed in the same season. However, I think the evidence shows he actually missed 6 additional games, not 5.

-Richard had a "clash" with Dollard St.Laurent of the Chicago Blackhawks on December 21st and suffered a groin injury. Source: Montreal Gazette 1961, December 22nd (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7082%2C4162499).
The game he picked up this injury was game 31 in the schedule:

31 Thu, Dec 21, 1961 Chicago Black Hawks L 3 4 16 7 8 L 2 - Injury
32 Sat, Dec 23, 1961 Detroit Red Wings W 6 1 17 7 8 W 1
33 Mon, Dec 25, 1961 @ Boston Bruins W 5 2 18 7 8 W 2
34 Wed, Dec 27, 1961 @ New York Rangers W 3 0 19 7 8 W 3
35 Sat, Dec 30, 1961 Chicago Black Hawks T 4 4 19 7 9 T 1
36 Mon, Jan 1, 1962 @ Chicago Black Hawks L 0 2 19 8 9 L 1
37 Wed, Jan 3, 1962 @ Toronto Maple Leafs L 1 3 19 9 9 L 2
38 Sat, Jan 6, 1962 New York Rangers W 5 1 20 9 9 W 1 - Back in action

Here's the evidence that Richard missed games 32-37 as suggested in the schedule above:

Saturday 12/23: Game 32 (vs Detroit) - first game Richard misses
Montreal Gazette December 26th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...09%2C4539019): "Center Henri Richard...missed Saturday night's game after being hurt last Thursday against Chicago."

Monday 12/25: Game 33 (at Boston) - second game Richard misses
Montreal Gazette December 26th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...6454%2C4538548): "The Canadiens were without...Henri Richard."

Wednesday 12/27: Game 34 (at New York) - third game Richard misses
Montreal Gazette December 28th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...7166%2C4849342): "The Canadiens played without...Henri Richard."

Saturday 12/30: Game 35 (vs Chicago) - fourth game Richard misses
Montreal Gazette December 30th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...5229%2C5165040): "Canadiens will still be without...centre Henri Richard."

Monday 1/1: Game 36 (at Chicago) - fifth game Richard misses
No match report, but on December 30th Toe Blake is quoted in the Montreal Gazette (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...5229%2C5165040): "We may be without Richard for some time. It's the kind of an injury that require complete healing before he can play." And on January 3rd nothing has changed: "Henri Richard and Bernie Geoffrion are still in Montreal taking treatment for injuries." And Toe Blake is quoted again: "They won't play unless they are 100 per cent." (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...=6853%2C245441). For another hint, see below ("out for three weeks")
It's obvious that Henri Richard did not play on January 1st.

Wednesday 3/1: Game 37 (at Toronto) - sixth game Richard misses
Montreal Gazette December 4th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...=6889%2C406487): "Canadiens...were without Henri Richard."

Richard finally made his comeback in Game 38 (vs New York) on January 6th. Montreal Gazette January 8th (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...=6150%2C957774): "Henri Richard, who returned to action Saturday night after being out for three weeks with a groin injury." Out for three weeks is a slight exaggeration (he was actually out for 15 days), but it wouldn't have been written had Richard played on January 1st, so it's another confirmation he didn't play in that game.

If I am right and he missed 6 games that Winter, he did not play in 54 NHL games but only in 53 that season. It's only one game, but a mistake in the official record is a mistake in the official record.

But maybe I am wrong? Am I overlooking something? Or is there really a phantom game in Henri Richard's 1961-62 NHL record?
Stats are generated from the official game sheets. Hypothetical situation - if Richard skated in the warm-up and appears on the game sheet, sits on the bench but does not play he might be described as missing the game but would be included as a skater who was eligible to play.

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