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11-09-2012, 10:29 PM
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NHL Darwinism

Originally Posted by Hawkey Town 18 View Post
Seems to me that the effects of the depression would hit each team fairly equally, where we know the WWII effects were quite a bit different from one team to another.
1934-35 NHL season finished with 9 teams. 1942-43 NHL season started with 6 teams. Three teams were lost to the effects of the depression within 7 season so the effects of the depression were not fairly equal.

The players from the contracted NHL teams were distributed within the NHL - Syd Howe, Toe Blake, Charlie Rayner, HHOF quality amongst them. Effectively contraction was the farm system for the NHL.Likewise management.Tommy Gorman had landed in Montreal with the Canadiens. WWII did not make hime a better judge of hockey talent.

Then we have the remaining teams. Toronto - pre WWII, Bill Durnan walks out on a competition with Turk Broda preferring the security/better pay of a regular job. Toronto does not blink they have Broda. Durnan resurfaces in Montreal during WWII with a "War Effort" job, yet gets pigeoned holed as a WWII player. Teams with scouting and depth had advantages throughout the era in question.

Then we have the Bert Gardiner story.

1939 semi finals replaces Dave Kerr/Rangers - injured after game 1. Plays Frank Brimsek and the Bruins to a 3-3 standoff in games 2-7. Bruins advance, game 1 victory. Yet when Bert Gardiner steps up as the Boston goalie, replacing Brimsek, in 1943-44 he is viewed as a WWII player.

So you have examples of depth, good and bad team management throughout the depression WWII era.

Bringing it back to the issue at hand, Brimsek, Broda, Durnan, WWII is a not a factor, the Red Line changed the game and the demands on goalies. Given opportunities combined with different demands the two best goalies - Broda and Durnan, rose to the top.

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