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11-19-2012, 04:49 PM
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First Year Original Six Goaltending (1942-43)

Originally Posted by BM67 View Post
Just looking at goalies. Lopresti, Henry, Rayner, Broda, Brimsek, Mowers. That's 6 NHL starters, 3 of them HHoFers, missing due to WWII from 1943-44 and 1944-45. If you think that has negligible impact on the NHL, then I don't know what to say.

Of the 17 goalies that played in the NHL during 1943-44 and 1944-45, 13 of them never played in the NHL after 1944-45. Several of them were former NHL starters that had lost their NHL job back in the 30s.

Of the 4 that did play after 44-45, 2 were future HHoFers, Durnan and Lumley. Lumley was only playing, as a 17-18 year old, because of the lack of goalies due to WWII. Of the others, McCool was gone after 1945-46, and Marois got into 2 games as an emergency loaner for Chicago in 1953-54.

No other position was as depleted as goaltender, but there were all-stars and HHoFers missing at all positions, as well as many that had their NHL career delayed until after the war.
Add Mike Karakas and Paul Bibeault to the list of available 1943-44, 1944-45 goalies. Both were one season regulars or lead goalies post 1944-45.

Key point is the following and it is very relevant to considering goaltenders in this project.

The 1930-31 NHL season was the last 10 team NHL season before the start of a series of contractions the resulted in the O6 era starting with the 1942-43 season.

During the 1930-31 season the NHL featured 5 HHOF quality goalies as starters or lead goalies - Connell, Gardiner, Hainsworth, Thompson, Worters plus three who at various points had some HHOF support or consideration - Chabot, Kerr, Roach(all were SC winning goalies at least once) plus two who were simply goalies - Cude and Dolson.

Yet your own list of the transition period from a seven to six team NHL lists only 3 HHOF quality goalies - Brimsek, Broda, Rayner. The rest are not even close.

So the key question is why did NHL goaltending deteriorate so quickly and badly within roughly 12 years. The cupboard was effectively bare. No WWII and the Bibeault, Henry, Lopresti, Mowers, etc do not develop HHOF skills. There still is a need and room for Bill Durnan and Harry Lumley. None of the other available goalies either in the service or playing in Canada or the USA were as good.

So to dismiss Bill Durnan as simply a product of WWII is a biased disservice to hockey history.

Questioning his longevity, results, awards and honours is one thing but Bill Durnan was a legit HHOF quality NHL goalie with a deep Senior League pedigree.

Last edited by Canadiens1958: 11-19-2012 at 05:10 PM. Reason: typo
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