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Rollins' Hart in 1954

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Old
11-19-2010, 08:40 AM
  #1
I Hate Chris Butler
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Rollins' Hart in 1954

Can anyone explain this Hart win to me?

Obviously, I wasn't alive at the time but how good was Rollins playing to win the Hart that year?

I know enough about hockey now to not judge a player by the stats but they are not pretty for Rollins that year.

Bassen had better stats that year. The following year, Rollins also had better stats and Ted Kennedy won the Hart in '55. So, how was Rollins' Hart year? That's a really interesting year for me.

I know it's "most valuable" but Rollins didn't seem to do all that much on paper seeing as Chicago probably still would have been terrible without him. Most Hart winners in Rollins' case seem to make their teams better (Theodore, Thornton, Lindros) or carry them into the playoffs at the very least.

So, anyone with some knowledge want give some insight?

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11-19-2010, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C For Choke View Post
Can anyone explain this Hart win to me?

Obviously, I wasn't alive at the time but how good was Rollins playing to win the Hart that year?

I know enough about hockey now to not judge a player by the stats but they are not pretty for Rollins that year.

Bassen had better stats that year. The following year, Rollins also had better stats and Ted Kennedy won the Hart in '55. So, how was Rollins' Hart year? That's a really interesting year for me.

I know it's "most valuable" but Rollins didn't seem to do all that much on paper seeing as Chicago probably still would have been terrible without him. Most Hart winners in Rollins' case seem to make their teams better (Theodore, Thornton, Lindros) or carry them into the playoffs at the very least.

So, anyone with some knowledge want give some insight?
Many people believe it is a "retro" hart trophy, given to him because Howe had a Gretzky like season the year before when Rollins also had a terrific season + playoffs.

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11-19-2010, 09:48 AM
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BM67
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First it was a fairly close vote and was also the first year for mid and end of season two part voting.

1953-54
HART: (142-120)
1. Al Rollins, Chi G 80 (50-30)
2. Red Kelly, Det D 74 (40-34)
3. Maurice Richard, Mtl LW 44 (20-24)
4. Gordie Howe, Det RW 33 (22-11)
5. Harry Lumley, Tor G 31 (10-21)

Chicago stats split at 35 games.
GoalieGPMinWLTGASOGAASASV%SA/G
Rollins131186062058132.6110340.92233.35
Marois21200201105.50720.84736
Gelineau21200201809.00650.72334.5
Rollins2352100627213223.7712070.89134.49

Rollins stats by home/road vs each team
VsGPMinWLTGASOGAASASV%SA/G
Bos H74201421522.142020.92628.86
Det H63601412003.332340.91539
Mtl H63602221612.672010.92033.5
NYR H74201511712.431850.90826.43
Tor H63603301001.671690.94128.17
Bos R74200703404.862410.85934.43
Det R63601502013.331990.89933.17
Mtl R74201603505.003140.88944.86
NYR R74202411902.712580.92636.86
Tor R74200702703.862380.88734

Give him the Chicago and NY voters and he is well on the way to a win.

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11-19-2010, 10:39 AM
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BM, do you have save percentages for all the goalies for that season? I'd be curious to see how he compared to the rest.

I also wonder if the Hawks getting completely blown out in the four games he missed was a factor in the voting.

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11-19-2010, 12:24 PM
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GoalieTeamGPMinWLTSOGASASV%GAA
HenryBOS704200322810818120780.9132.59
GelineauCHI2120020018650.7239.00
MaroisCHI2120020011720.8475.50
RollinsCHI66396012477521322410.9053.23
GatherumDET318020113880.9661.00
SawchukDET6740043519131212919270.9331.93
Wilson LDET1160000041.0000.00
McNeilMON53318028196611414570.9222.15
PlanteMON1710207555274450.9391.59
BowerNYR704200293110518223420.9222.60
LumleyTOR6941403224131312816670.9231.86
MayerTOR16000103230.8703.00

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11-19-2010, 12:44 PM
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I remember someone posted newspaper articles on here not too long ago that complained that Red Kelly got absolutely robbed of the Hart that year.

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11-19-2010, 01:33 PM
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BM67, good point on the first half/second half splits and voting. Rollins appears to have had an excellent first half, and that put him in the lead for the voting at the halfway point when the first half votes were taken.

His second half stats were quite a bit worse, but his strong start probably had him on everyone's mind still, similar to Steve Mason a couple of years ago.

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11-19-2010, 04:08 PM
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Yes how did his record go? 12-47-7 or something like that? He was on a basement team. Two things don't make sense. Historically the Hart has been awarded to either the best player in the game or the most valuable player to his team (generally a good team) or a combination of both. Rollins doesn't fit in either category. He wasn't even a 2nd team all-star that year so we can assume even the voters thought Lumley and Sawchuk had a better year. Plus he did nothing to elevate the Blackhawks. Without him what happens? Does the team win 10 games instead of 12?

I guarantee that if you put Red Kelly or Howe or Richard on that team in 1954 they help that team get more than 12 wins but that's just my opinion.

Rollins' Hart win can be argued to be the worst award choice ever.

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11-19-2010, 06:48 PM
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I am probably one of the few here that can remember Al Rollins as the player. I was only a kid but do remember him from HNIC about 1956. Good goalie who had a decent career but most of it on terrible Blackhawk teams.

I am in the camp that think the Hart was a retro reward for his astounding 52-53 season and I really don't have a problem with it. that is what they did in the early 50's. Kennedy & Schmidt basically got their Harts as career awards.

Interesting that Rollins never made an AS team. He certainly should have in 52-53. Does the award thread show the AS voting results for that season? i couldn't find it.

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11-19-2010, 06:57 PM
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i found these while researching red kelly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa Citizen: 5-5-1954
Did Rollins Deserve Award?

Toronto (CP) -- Goalkeeper Al Rollins of Chicago Blackhawks was awarded the Hart Trophy Monday night as the most valuable player to his National Hockey League team and at least two sports columnists said he shouldn't have got it.

The selection for the 1953-54 season was made in a poll of hockey writers and sportscasters from each of the six league cities. It started a field day for second-guessers who may have figured either defenseman Red Kelly of Detroit Red Wings or Maurice Richard of Montreal Canadiens was a cinch for the award.

Commented Elmer Ferguson of the Montreal Herald:
"We can't recall when the experts made a more idiotic selection. If this sort of mawkish, sentimental voting is to become permanency, it's better we should scrap all the awards in the book and turn over their allocation to the league or the governors or the coaches."

Baz O'Meara, Montreal Star: "Our own preference was for Maurice Richard, and this was not dictated by devotion to Canadiens or Richard friendship or sentiment.... Nearly everybody thought Kelly would win the award, but he has had plenty of awards and honors this year.... our own idea is that there should be some other method of selection, some method by which referees and linesmen should be allowed into the panel."

Red Burnet of the Toronto Daily Star said:
"It's just possible that Detroit's Red Kelly, Canadiens' Maurice Richard and Leafs' Harry Lumley were more valuable to their teams in the strictest sense of the word.

"However, from our point of vantage, the Hungry-looking six-foot two native of Vanguard, Sask., rates the coveted Hart Trophy--maybe they should spell it 'heart' in this case--for courage, if nothing else."

Rollins was credited by many for holding the Hawks together last season. They won only 12 games in the 70 game schedule and finished in last place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilmington Star: 3-28-1954
Kelly Is Choice as Hockey's Best

New York, March 27 (U.P.) -- Leonard Patrick (Red) Kelly, stellar defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings, today was named the National Hockey League's "Player of the Year" in a poll conducted by the United Press.

Sports writers in the six league cities also selected Frank (King) Clancy of the Toronto Maple Leafs as "Coach of the Year" by a margin of one vote over Lynn Patrick of the Boston Bruins, while Johnny Bower of the New York Rangers was honored as "Rookie of the Year."

Kelly attracted five more votes than goalie Harry Lumley of the Maple Leafs, his nearest rival in the player balloting. Others who received votes in this category were Detroit's Gordie Howe, who was named right wing on this year's United Press All-Star team, goalie Al Rollins of the Chicago Blackhawks, and right wing Maurice (Rocket) Richard of the Montreal Canadiens.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montreal Gazette: 4-19-1954
Hockey Awards

Al Leader, Frankie Eddolls and Red Kelly have been named for the three annual awards given by The Hockey News for outstanding achievement in professional hockey.

Leader, president of the Western Hockey League, was selected top executive, Eddolls, leading coach (of Buffalo Bisons), and Kelly (Red Wings) outstanding player.


i also read an article which leads me to suspect ted kennedy's hart was a career award.

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11-19-2010, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
I am in the camp that think the Hart was a retro reward for his astounding 52-53 season and I really don't have a problem with it. that is what they did in the early 50's. Kennedy & Schmidt basically got their Harts as career awards.
Kennedy did for sure. Schmidt I'm not so sure although that may have played a part in it. His year in 1951 was better than any of the three players. Yet it is almost impossible to imagine how Howe didn't win in 1951.

That being said I have a huge problem with retro rewards. Rollins' season in 1953 was fine but it had nothing to do with 1954. If this is the case should we automatically give the Hart to Crosby this year since some people might think he was screwed out of it in 2010 even if Stamkos has a better year this year? I never liked that mentality at that time. Fortunately there must have been some pressure from the press because after 1955 Beliveau, Howe, Howe, Bathgate and Howe won the Hart. Good choices, and the RIGHT choices.

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11-20-2010, 08:47 PM
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The 1954 and 1955 Hart Trophies

Posters reaching conclusions working backwards.

Let`s do this going forwards.

Gordie Howe`s best offensive season may have been the 1952-53 season during which he almost reached 50 goals nd led the Red Wings to a runaway first place finish. For this Gordie Howe was the clear Hart Trophy winner.

However the Red Wings were upset by the Bruins in the semi finals and the Hawks led by Al Rollins almost upset the Canadiens. The Canadiens then beat the Bruins for the 1953 Stanley Cup.

Going into the 1953-54 season there were many questions facing the NHL, foremost being what kind of season the Red Wings and Gordie Howe would have?

Howe`s overall numbers improved - better assist totals and a more physical game but his goal scoring dropped by 1/3. Regardless the Wings finished first and won the Stanley Cup.

The Hart Trophy. Well Howe had a different year and the results were the same during the regular season. Red Kelly had a great season but again the results and the Howe factor lowered his votes.The Canadiens challenged, led by Maurice Richard, but the veterans lagged and the young players were 1 or 2 years away. Rangers were in turmoil and the Bruins after a veteran fueled final run started a slow downward trend. Leaf led by Lumlety and Kenedy had a surprising year. Chicago survived because of Al Rollins especially early. They won only a handful of games but depending on estimates Al Rollins gave them a chance to win or tie going into the third period in over forty games. Highly subjective and with vote splitting Al Rollins got the Hart.

1954-55 season Hart Trophy winner was Ted Kennedy. Gordie Howe had a weak/injury plagued regular season and the other Wings lagged. Earl Reibel was the team scoring leader. The Wings finished first - point could be made that the Canadiens and Maurice Richard lost first place. Howe was not winning the Hart and since no other Wing stepped up that left the field wide open. No Ranger, Hawk or Bruin made a significant impact so that made the Leaf captain Ted Kennedy the popular choice after he combined with Harry Lumley to lead a surprising Leaf team to a third place finish.

In retrospect the choices may seem strange but they were not when a forward looking analysis is made,

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11-20-2010, 09:44 PM
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Never seen anyone claim that Kennedy and Rollins not being on the all-star teams is the mistake rather than their Hart wins.

Kennedy finished tied for 3rd in assists with twice as many as any other Leaf, and 5 of his 10 goals where GTG. With all that he brought to the team besides scoring, he certainly has to be a Hart contender. I would have to think his not being an all-star is a bigger gaff than his winning the Hart.

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11-20-2010, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM67 View Post
Never seen anyone claim that Kennedy and Rollins not being on the all-star teams is the mistake rather than their Hart wins.

Kennedy finished tied for 3rd in assists with twice as many as any other Leaf, and 5 of his 10 goals where GTG. With all that he brought to the team besides scoring, he certainly has to be a Hart contender. I would have to think his not being an all-star is a bigger gaff than his winning the Hart.
i have found many newspaper articles from may of 1955 about kennedy's hart, and his retirement and that he had never won an award are mentioned far more than his play in '55. i also found an article that said that winning the hart will not change kennedy's decision to retire.

kennedy said in spring of '54 that he would retire, but he played another season "as a personal favor to Conn Smythe." whether kennedy would retire was a big issue in the NHL, and conn smythe said kennedy could have any salary he wanted if he would play another season.

iirc, conn smythe publicly said (i think in '54, after kennedy said he would retire) that it was a shame that kennedy had never won an award and was missing from the (1st) all star team every season.

windsor daily star from '54:
Quote:
For although his 12 year in the NHL have left their mark on the balding leaf captain, I'd like to see him continue for a few more years and go on to win a few more well-dressed awards like the Hart Trophy and all-star centre on the first team, which for some inexplicable reason he has never received.
part of a column in the val d'or star from may of '55 says:
Quote:
Maybe his threatened retirement had something to do with the voting, but we don't think so.

based on all of those things, it looks very much like it was a career award.


i also wonder if there was another season in which the top 2 in hart voting played for a .500 team.



pappyline may be right about schmidt's '51 hart, since i have also seen the same talk about career in reports, rather than about schmidt's play in the '51 season.


Last edited by nik jr: 11-21-2010 at 01:23 AM.
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11-20-2010, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
1954-55 season Hart Trophy winner was Ted Kennedy. Gordie Howe had a weak/injury plagued regular season and the other Wings lagged. Earl Reibel was the team scoring leader. The Wings finished first - point could be made that the Canadiens and Maurice Richard lost first place. Howe was not winning the Hart and since no other Wing stepped up that left the field wide open. No Ranger, Hawk or Bruin made a significant impact so that made the Leaf captain Ted Kennedy the popular choice after he combined with Harry Lumley to lead a surprising Leaf team to a third place finish.

In retrospect the choices may seem strange but they were not when a forward looking analysis is made,
No one ever brings his name up in 1955 but how about Boom Boom? The guy was the Art Ross winner. He led the NHL in goals. The Habs were clawing with Detroit for top spot. All the ingredients for a Hart winner although he did win in 1961 eventually.

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11-21-2010, 01:22 AM
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after more reading of old newspapers, schmidt was mentioned as a strong hart candidate before the voting, and in the playoffs, so it seems unlikely that it was a career award.

i have found reports that say most of boston's success can be attributed to schmidt, and that boston would have missed the playoffs without schmidt. schmidt also played on an injured knee (torn tendon) for several weeks.

i also found an article (in the montreal gazette) that said sentimental voting may have helped schmidt. but richard was 2nd to schmidt, so that comment may have been made out of bias.

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11-21-2010, 02:16 AM
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I don't want to change the direction of this, but is it true Rollins almost won the Hart in 52/53? I think I have a book at home that claims this!

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11-21-2010, 02:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott1980 View Post
I don't want to change the direction of this, but is it true Rollins almost won the Hart in 52/53? I think I have a book at home that claims this!
1952-53
HART: (18-12-10)
1. Gordie Howe, Det RW 58 (9-4-1)
2. Al Rollins, Chi G 25 (3-3-1)
3. Red Kelly, Det D 25 (2-3-6)
4. Gerry McNeil, Mtl G 16 (3-0-1)
5. Ted Kennedy, Tor C 12 (1-2-1)


i think that is probably why he won in '54.

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11-21-2010, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nik jr View Post
1952-53
HART: (18-12-10)
1. Gordie Howe, Det RW 58 (9-4-1)
2. Al Rollins, Chi G 25 (3-3-1)
3. Red Kelly, Det D 25 (2-3-6)
4. Gerry McNeil, Mtl G 16 (3-0-1)
5. Ted Kennedy, Tor C 12 (1-2-1)


i think that is probably why he won in '54.
So I answered the question? Uh...OF COURSE! That's what I wanted to do!

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11-21-2010, 04:42 AM
  #20
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Richard Riot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
No one ever brings his name up in 1955 but how about Boom Boom? The guy was the Art Ross winner. He led the NHL in goals. The Habs were clawing with Detroit for top spot. All the ingredients for a Hart winner although he did win in 1961 eventually.
Review the details of the games leading up to the Richard Riot and immediately after.

Rather obvious that Richard's actions cost him the Ross, Hart and the Canadiens first place. Ergo no other Canadiens player could be considered as most valuable or a Hart candidate.

Do it working forwards and not backwards from the comfort of today's perspective.

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11-21-2010, 12:07 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
Review the details of the games leading up to the Richard Riot and immediately after.

Rather obvious that Richard's actions cost him the Ross, Hart and the Canadiens first place. Ergo no other Canadiens player could be considered as most valuable or a Hart candidate.

Do it working forwards and not backwards from the comfort of today's perspective.
I'm aware of the Richard riot, and yes it cost him dearly. In fact I think it cost the Habs the Cup in 1955 (potentially). But he missed the last few games hurting his team, Boom Boom didn't. He was there. It might not have been the sexy pick, but it would have made sense over Kennedy.

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11-21-2010, 12:29 PM
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Geffrion Hart:

No way would Geffrion ever be awarded the Hart Trophy in 1955...Not In the wake of the Richard incident & His winning the Art Ross due to Richard`s suspension...

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11-21-2010, 07:46 PM
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based on newspaper reports, i think kelly probably should have won in '54 and lumley probably should have won in '55.

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11-21-2010, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nik jr View Post
based on newspaper reports, i think kelly probably should have won in '54 and lumley probably should have won in '55.
But wasn't it the same newspaper sportswriters who voted for Rollins & Kennedy?


Last edited by pappyline: 11-21-2010 at 08:10 PM.
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11-21-2010, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappyline View Post
But wasn't it the same newspaper sportswriters who voted for Rollins & Kennedy?
probably. but both harts seem to have been for play outside of those seasons.

i posted above some reports that red kelly was voted player of the year for '54. basil o'meara said that (in his opinion) nearly everyone thought kelly would win.

kennedy's hart seems to have been a career award, but lumley apparently had a great season and was 2nd in hart voting.

i would have to read a lot more to find whether there were other (illegitimate) reasons for votes for other players, including for kelly and lumley, and in other seasons.

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