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11-19-2012, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Alternative universe. Try alternative sport or the CFL. 1942 RCAF Hurricanes won the Grey Cup. 7 of the players from the team died in WWII.

How many regular NHL players died in WWII?

Red Garrett:

Joe Turner:

So the impact on the NHL was negligible compared to the CFL.

You allege that WWII impacted Bill Durnan's 1943-44 and 1944-45 stats,.but offer no supporting evidence.

During the two years in question Bill Durnan played home and road games as you correctly state above. 1943-44, 109 GA, 50 home, 59 away. Pretty solid for a rookie learning the league and rinks.1945-45, 121 GA, 63 home, 58 away. Again very solid on the road.
The fact that every other team but Montreal, and to a lesser extent Toronto, was gutted by players joining the military to fight in World War II (remember, there was a military draft) is pretty strong evidence that players on Montreal (and to a lesser extent Toronto) were at a distinct advantage those two years.

Here's a great summary of the effect of the wars on the NHL. The whole thing is fascinating and worth reading in its entirety:

Here are passages relevant to this project:

The depletion of NHL rosters created opportunities for athletes who might otherwise have never played an NHL game. By 1942-43 approximately 80 NHL players were in the armed forces, gutting rosters around the six team league.
In response to the dilution of talent during World War II, the league changed its rules to encourage a faster paced game. Until 1943, a player was not allowed to make a forward pass across his own blue line. That changed in the 1943-44 season, when the NHL ruled that players could pass from their defensive zone up to the middle of the rink, which would be marked by a new red line at center ice. This changed the game drastically, as many returning war veterans discovered upon their return. Also, regular season overtime had to be discontinued due to wartime curfew restrictions. OT would not return for 41 years.

The NHL talent effluence was said to have clearly have deteriorated play in the mid-1940s, regardless of NHL rule changes. Yet all of the Original Six franchises continued to do well at the gate. Interestingly though, errant pucks into the audience had to be returned because of the wartime rubber shortage.

The war also shifted the power balance in the league, with Montreal placing building blocks that would make them the dominant team of the next few decades. The Habs were often successful finding jobs for players and prospects in essential industries like munitions and shipbuilding, the Montreal Canadiens kept their talent home, building the foundation for several Stanley Cup championships.

The Bruins and the Rangers, two league powers as the 1940s started, were especially hit hard by players leaving for war. It is no coincidence that these two teams plummeted immediately in the standings, and struggled for years beyond that.

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