joe malone, 1920: a scoring spree unto himself
An icy night in Quebec City; a hot hand, and a cold one.
That was the story , in sum, of a Saturday night 103 years ago last night, January 31, 1920, when, as the Quebec Chronicle put it, “Joe Malone had a scoring bee all by himself.”
Malone, 29, scored seven goals that night as his Quebec Bulldogs bamboozled the visiting Toronto St. Patricks by a score of 10-6; no-one since has scored more in an NHL game.
A review of the night’s events might include a mention that the crowd at the old Arena in Quebec was the smallest crowd of the season across the league in what was the NHL’s third season: just 1,200 spectators showed up.
It was a frigid night, to be fair, outside the rink as well as in. “The cold was so intense,” the Chronicle advised, “that [Corb] Denneny, the Toronto centre, had his right hand badly frozen during the game.”
Both teams made do with just eight skaters, I’ll mention, and while Quebec stuck with Frank Brophy in goal for the duration, Toronto switched out Ivan Mitchell after two periods in favour of Howie Lockhart. Mitchell allowed six goals, four of them by Malone, while reliever Lockhart saw four pass him by, three from Malone.
Malone might have had an eighth goal. Just before the first period expired, a shot of his hit Mitchell on the chest before trundling up and over his left shoulder and dropping down behind him. The goal judge wasn’t convinced that it had crossed the line, so no goal.
The other NHL game on the schedule that night in 1920 had the Senators hosting the Montreal Canadiens at Ottawa’s Laurier Street Arena, and that one ended 11-3 for the home team. Punch Broadbent scored a hattrick for Ottawa on Canadiens’ goaltender Georges Vézina; three other Senators, including Frank Nighbor, helped themselves to a pair.
Joe Malone’s outburst gave him 20 goals in 12 games, setting him up to win the NHL scoring title that season. In 24 games, he finished with 39 goals and 49 points, two goals and three points ahead of Montreal’s Newsy Lalonde.
Lalonde had actually scored six in a game against those same two Toronto goaltenders earlier in January of 1920, while Malone followed up by scoring six of his own on Ottawa’s Clint Benedict in March of that same season. The following year, Toronto’s (thawed-out) Corb Denneny and his older brother Cy (for Ottawa) each scored six of their own. Three other players have repeated that six-goal feat since: Syd Howe (in 1944, for the Detroit Red Wings); Red Berenson (1968, St. Louis Blues); and Darryl Sittler (1976, Toronto Maple Leafs).
Syd Howe’s double hattrick in ’44 came 24 years after Joe Malone’s bonanza, which you’d think might have stuck in the NHL’s historical memory. No. For a little while there, the league forgot all about it.
Dan Bouchard’s NHL career launched in Atlanta, where he guarded goals for the Flames for nine seasons, but it eventually landed him back home, in the province where he was born: Bouchard tended the crease for the Quebec Nordiques from 1981 through ’85. Born in Val-D’Or, Quebec, on a Tuesday of today’s date in 1950, Bouchard turns 72 today. In a profile included in the Nordiques’ ’82-83 media guide, Bouchard listed his favourite TV show as the PBS science series “Nova.” His favourite food? Fettucini. When Montreal artist Heather Price painted this portrait that in ’82, she called it “Incognito”
boston’s captain clam
A friend with impeccable Bruins sources tells me that Boston management aims to correct the record on their missing captains … just not quite yet.
The team’s centennial is coming up, in 2024, and a book and a documentary are planned, and so in one future fell swoop the errors that the Bruins have for so long refused to acknowledge let alone correct will be no more.
So that’s something to look forward to … in two years’ time.
Meanwhile, it was on a Friday of today’s date in 1905 that Marty Barry, one of Boston’s mislaid captains, was born in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, north of Quebec City. A centreman, he made his NHL debut with the New York Americans in 1927. The Bruins claimed him from the Americans’ Can-Am league team in the NHL’s intra-league draft in 1929 and he played six seasons in Boston.
Barry was 27 when he succeeded Dit Clapper as Bruins’ captain in November of 1933. It was a bit of a homecoming for the new skipper: Art Ross’ team had convened in Quebec City that year for its training camp.
“Some athletes talk a wonderful game,” a dispatch from the Boston Globe began early that month, but that wasn’t “one of the failings of the newly appointed captain of the Boston Bruins hockey club.”
Marty “Clam” Barry, following a meeting of the players and Manager Ross late here this afternoon, was asked to make a speech. Barry, who never utters a word in the dressing room, as usual had nothing to say, but his playmates insisted, so Marty stood up and made the longest speech of his career.
“Thanks, fellows.” Then he sat down.
That is Marty Barry, no bluff, no talk, but a man of action on the ice as he was always an outstanding performer of the Bruins since he was drafted from New Haven Eagles four years ago, and he topped an admirable record last season by being leading scorer of the Bruins and one of the top pointmakers of the NHL.
Barry scored 27 goals and 39 points in 48 games as Boston captain, which tied him for the team points total with Nels Stewart. He finished fourth in NHL scoring. The Bruins didn’t fare so well, finishing out of the playoffs in the nine-team league.
The Bruins’ captaincy was, in that era, a one-year appointment, and Barry was duly succeeded in the fall of 1934 by Stewart.
With Art Giroux, the Bruins traded him in 1935 to the Detroit Red Wings, getting back Cooney Weiland and Walt Buswell. In his four years in Detroit, Barry won a pair of Stanley Cup championships (in ’36 and ’37) and a Lady Byng Trophy. He played one last year in the NHL in 1939-40 for the Montreal Canadiens.
Marty Barry died in 1969 at the age of 64.
as de québec
On the Saturday that the Quebec Nordiques originally drafted Guy Lafleur, Thurso’s own 21-year-old Turbo scored the 22nd goal of his rookie season, the winning one in a 6-5 Montreal Canadiens victory over the Los Angeles Kings. The Nordiques were only dreaming, of course, that day in February of 1972, when 12 teams from the upstart WHA laid wishful claim to more than 1000 players from other leagues in North America and around the world. The Los Angeles Sharks took Montreal’s Ken Dryden while the team from Ohio, the Dayton Aeros, tabbed Bobby Orr. Along with Lafleur, the Nordiques’ fantasy team included his Canadiens’ teammates Jacques Lemaire and Pierre Bouchard, along with Toronto’s Paul Henderson.
By the time Lafleur did finally join the Nordiques, signing as a free agent in the summer of 1989, he was 37 and Quebec had migrated to the NHL. Having unretired the previous year to play for the New York Rangers, Lafleur turned down a lucrative offer from the Los Angeles Kings in favour of Quebec, where he’d played for the QJHML Remparts in his pre-NHL days, from 1969 through 1971.
Lafleur played two seasons for the Nordiques before he stowed his skates for a second time in 1991, playing against the Canadiens on ten occasions, registering two goals and three assists. The photograph here dates to Saturday, January 5, 1991, when Patrick Roy shut out Quebec 3-0 as Montreal got goals from Stephan Lebeau, Stephane Richer, and Russ Courtnall.
(Top image: Bernard Brault, La Presse, BAnQ Vieux-Montréal)