Monday, March 25, 2013
March 25, 1962: Bobby Hull Becomes Just The Third Player To Score 50 goals in an NHL Season
It was a big game in New York that had the scoring title on the line. Hull had been in a battle all season long with Rangers right winger Andy Bathgate for the league lead in points and this contest would decide who took home the Art Ross Trophy. Just 5 minutes into the game Hull made history when he got the puck passed Rangers netminder Gump Worsley. The goal gave Hull a one point advantage over his rival, then just a few minutes later Bathgate evened things up with a goal of his own. Both players would be held in check the rest of the game despite spending a lot of time on the ice and they each ended the season with 84 points. Hull took home the Art Ross Trophy because he led in the goals category with 50 to Bathgate's 28. The Rangers won the game by the score of 4-1 and it marked the end of a truly great season for both players.
This season marked the prime of his career for Bathgate, at 29 years old he had literally grown up with a Rangers emblem on his chest. He had accomplished a lot throughout his time with the Rangers including being named league MVP in 1959. He was a selfless player who could put the biscuit in the basket just as quick as he could hit a teammate with a pass that setup the game winning goal. In February of 1964, Bathgate was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a move that shocked him and the fans in New York. He helped Toronto win the Stanley Cup by scoring 5 goals and 4 assists throughout the playoffs. After one full season with the Maple Leafs he was dealt to the Red Wings, then picked up by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 expansion draft. At the end of the '70-'71 campaign his NHL career came to a close. It was a great career that earned him an induction into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
While the '61-'62 season was the pinnacle of Bathgate's career, it was just the beginning of Hull's journey to the Hall of Fame. At 23 years old it was his fifth full season in the league. From day one the Blackhawks new that had something special, at 19 years old he had blazing speed and made an immediate impact with the team on the way to finishing as the runner up for the rookie of the year honors. He only got better, by his third year in the league he led all players with 39 goals and 81 points, he had quickly become one of the brightest young stars in the league. While he didn't invent the slapshot he helped revolutionize its use by developing the fiercest slapshots in the game. He would lead the Hawks to a Stanley Cup Championship in 1961, by taking down the Detroit Red Wings. Hull would reach the Stanley Cup Finals two more times but wasn't able to win a second title. In 1966, Hull did something that no player had done before by scoring more than 50 goals in a season. He reached the 50 goal mark 5 times in his career, with his career high coming in the '68-'69 season when he lit the lamp 58 times.
Andy Bathgate's career numbers: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/b/bathgan01.html
Bobby Hull's career numbers: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/h/hullbo01.html
Both of these videos are close to 10 minutes long, they provide great insight to each of these great men.
Legends of Hockey Andy Bathgate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArN7X_z8ecs
Legends of Hockey Bobby Hull: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyMwd1XvLd0