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1951-52 Cleveland Barons and the 1952 NHL Expansion.

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05-18-2013, 07:07 AM
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Canadiens1958
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1951-52 Cleveland Barons and the 1952 NHL Expansion.

At the 1952 NHL June meetings the AHL Cleveland Barons almost joined the O6 NHL as an expansion team, creating a seven team NHL.
The application was rejected The business side of this application has been examined in an appropriate BOH thread. Let's look at the talent that the 1951-52 Cleveland Barons were bringing to the table.

A May 15, 1952 article gives a very clear picture of the 1951-52 Cleveland Barons talent situation and depth.

http://news.google.ca/newspapers?id=...6967%2C2177508

Background.The post WWII AHL Cleveland Barons were a fully independent team, owners of their players, no NHL affiliation and as the above article states had their own developmental system with a PCHL/WHL farm affiliation - Seattle Ironmen, 4th place and a working agreement-partial, with the OHA St. Catharines Teepees. Deeper player talent than some NHL teams of the era.

The 1951-52 Cleveland Barons were coached by Bun Cook, best AHL coach of the era. Overall second in the AHL by two points, eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Not the best nor a championship AHL team.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...001851952.html

Seattle Ironmen(PCHL -->WHL for the 1952-53 season)
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...002941952.html

St. Catharines OHA
http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...008241952.html

As structured the Barons could not compete with the Red Wings or Canadiens but had the goaltending - Johnny Bower plus balance at forward and on defence to compete for a playoff spot with the other four NHL teams.

The 1952-53 AHL Championship Cleveland roster illustrates this:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...001851953.html

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05-18-2013, 10:28 AM
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Ogie Goldthorpe
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Well, with Fred Shero on the team, there'd be no stopping them.

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05-18-2013, 11:24 AM
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Killion
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Ya, they'd had have to have seriously re-built that team to be competitive. Their leading lights in Steve Wochy & Ike Hildebrand were both like 5'7" and maybe 147lbs sopping wet. Had they entered the NHL with that line-up, Im guessin Bower wouldve been shelled, the scores embarrassing. However.... they obviously could have drawn on the rest of the NHL & minors, go after and develop a lot more talent, built for the future. Im not seeing them being "competitive" at all with any of the NHL clubs "as is".

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05-18-2013, 12:58 PM
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ForsbergForever
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Thinking long term, i also wonder if the league would not have sought to add at least one more team soon after to balance out the schedule...Maybe in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.

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05-18-2013, 01:29 PM
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Hobnobs
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the problem with the O6 era was how NHL had a monopoly on anything and everything. If the owners of NHL wanted to they could make any team outside of the league aswell as in it a contender or a bottomfeeder.

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05-18-2013, 01:49 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Blended Roster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Ya, they'd had have to have seriously re-built that team to be competitive. Their leading lights in Steve Wochy & Ike Hildebrand were both like 5'7" and maybe 147lbs sopping wet. Had they entered the NHL with that line-up, Im guessin Bower wouldve been shelled, the scores embarrassing. However.... they obviously could have drawn on the rest of the NHL & minors, go after and develop a lot more talent, built for the future. Im not seeing them being "competitive" at all with any of the NHL clubs "as is".
The blended 1951-52 and 1952-53 Cleveland Barons roster is interesting. Playing in the NHL the team keeps Gerry Couture, Fred Glover, Vic Lynn three contributors to the 1952-53 Chicago surprise playoff appearance. Also the team had size with role capabilities - Bob Bailey woul go on to the NHL in such a role. The team lacked the high end #1 or 2 NHL defencemen - bottom four NHL teams each had a Quackenbuh/Flaman, Gadsby, Horton, Stanley, with Mortson, Thomson around but the Barons had depth with the likes of Shero, Crystal, Reigle,

Seattle had a number of useful players including a junior prospect Gerry Foley who had a short O6 career:

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/l...003971953.html

While St Catharines had a young Ken Schinkel.

True that there AHL line-up had players that lacked size. But the same was true for the NHL teams of the era. Camille Henry made the jump from junior to the Rangers a year later.

A summer mining the AHL and the other top leagues without competition from five more expansion teams would have helped.

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05-18-2013, 01:59 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
A summer mining the AHL and the other top leagues without competition from five more expansion teams would have helped.
Yes, they surely couldve pulled it off. The QHL, WHL, IHL, EHL, AHL etc. Some decent talent in all of those leagues.

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05-18-2013, 02:09 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Shawinigan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobnobs View Post
the problem with the O6 era was how NHL had a monopoly on anything and everything. If the owners of NHL wanted to they could make any team outside of the league aswell as in it a contender or a bottomfeeder.
Someone has figured out what happened to Shawinigan before the start of the first QHL season(Attwell thread).

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06-15-2013, 04:42 PM
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coolhockeyjack
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I thought they challenged the Habs to a game. I also heard the Habs almost relocated there in the 1940`s.

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06-15-2013, 07:41 PM
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Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolhockeyjack View Post
I thought they challenged the Habs to a game. I also heard the Habs almost relocated there in the 1940`s.
Frustrated at being blocked entry by the NHL who were forever moving the goalposts around in order for them to qualify, they did in fact "Challenge" the NHL to a best of series for the Stanley Cup but obviously were refused... as for the Canadiens rumoured to be moving there in the 40's, new one on me, never heard that one before. In 1945-46 Cleveland actually turned down an invitation to join the NHL, as they were one of the founding members of the AHL in 38, the owner feeling his abandoning of the fledgling league would be harmful to the rest of the teams. Norris never forgot that slight, and when in 51/52 Cleveland under new ownership came calling wanting to apply for entry, given the Royal Runaround....

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06-16-2013, 09:57 PM
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I picked up a copy of a book called "High Sticks and Hat Tricks", which covers the history of Cleveland hockey.

I haven't had the chance to go through it yet, but I'm curious to see what (if anything) is said about this particular chapter of history.

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