This article is my 50th contribution to Bleacher Report ever since I stumbled upon this great site. It’s been a wonderful outlet for my insatiable desire to share my opinions on the wonderful sport of hockey.
I’m pretty proud that I’ve been able to write 50 articles, and so I thought I would pay tribute to the number considered quite magical in hockey as well. Here are some interesting facts and stats revolving around the number 50.
Maurice “the Rocket” Richard was the first ever player to score 50 goals in a single season. He accomplished the feat in 1944-'45 when an NHL season was only 50 games long. This automatically made Richard the first player to score 50 in 50. Five other players would go on to accomplish that feature as well (Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, and Cam Neely. Although Neely did not score 50 in 50 from the start of the season).
Richard was the first Montreal Canadien to score 50 goals in one season. The other players to represent the Original Six franchises, as the organization’s first 50 goal man were:
Chicago Blackhawks – Bobby Hull (50) 1961-'62
Boston Bruins – Johnny Bucyk (51) and Phil Esposito (76) both in 1970-'71
New York Rangers – Vic Hadfield (50) 1971-72
Detroit Red Wings – Mickey Redmond (52) 1972-'73
Toronto Maple Leafs – Rick Vaive (51) 1981-'82 – Toronto would be the last of the Original Six franchises to employ a 50-goal scorer before Vaive would break the 64-year drought.
Mike Bossy was the first rookie to score 50 goals in one season. He accomplished the feat in 1977-'78.
Hakan Loob was the 50th player to ever score 50 goals in one season in NHL history. Loob was also the first Swedish born player to notch 50 in the NHL. This leads me to 50-goal scorers by country.
Jari Kurri 1983-'84 became the first ever Finnish born player to score 50 goals in a single season. The 1992-93 season had two Russian born players eclipse the 50 goal mark with Alexander Mogilny and Pavel Bure both accomplishing the feat.
The Czech Republic was represented through Jaromir Jagr and Slovakia by Petr Bondra, who would both witness 50 goal seasons in the 1995-'96 season. The first ever American born player to notch 50 in a season was the Washington Capitals’ Bobby Carpenter, who potted 53 in 1984-'85.
Rod Brind’Amour is currently the NHL’s 50th all-time leading scorer, as well 50th in all-time assists. Alexander Mogilny holds down the 50th spot for all-time goals with 473 (as of Dec. 1, 2008).
Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy share the record for most 50-goal seasons in a career. Both registered nine seasons of 50 or more goals. Craig Simpson and Dave Andreychuk are the only players to ever be traded during the season and finish with 50 or more goals.
The 1950 Stanley Cup Champions were the Detroit Red Wings. That season’s Art Ross Trophy winner was “Terrible” Ted Lindsay of the aforementioned Red Wings.
The NHL’s 50th Anniversary was 1968, and the Montreal Canadiens won that year’s Stanley Cup.
The New York Rangers spent over 50 years without a Stanley Cup until hoisting Lord Stanley’s mug in 1994. We all recall the New Jersey Devils fans chanting “1940” during the conference finals. The Chicago Blackhawks are current holders of the futility record having not won a cup in 47 years. That mark will become 50 if they do not win the Stanley Cup by 2011.
“Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe played 80 games for Hartford Whalers in 1979—one year after his 50th birthday.
28 players have worn the No. 50 jersey in NHL history. No team has a player with that number on an active roster in the 2008-'09 season.
Martin Brodeur holds the single season record for most wins by a goaltender with 48, two short of 50.
NHL was formed in 1917. 1918 was the first season the NHL consisted of the Original Six. For the purposes of this article I used 1918 as the official start date of the NHL we now know.