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Toronto Maple Leafs 1954-1955 1955-1956

22 pages18 minutes


The Toronto Maple Leafs were an unsuccessful team for the majority of the 1950s except for the 1951 Stanley Cup Champs who beat the Montreal Canadiens in the finals. The team found it difficult to regain the winning form that had made the teams of the late 1940s so successful. Yet there were veterans like Sid Smith who combined with heralded rookie defenceman Tim Horton, who became a regular by 1952. Horton's injury in the spring of 1955 was a great setback for the Maple Leafs and almost ended his career. There were other bright spots like the fine goaltending of veteran Harry Lumley even though he was sidelined for a time with an injured hip. Yet these were years dominated by the Gordie Howe teams fielded by the Detroit Red Wings and the brothers Richard and Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. Readers will enjoy reflecting and studying an era of National Hockey League history in which neither goalies, forwards, or defencemen wore protective masks and head gear. Famed hockey writer Stan Fischler believed that the addition of masks for goalies detracted from the interest level of hockey fans who enjoyed seeing the goaltenders' expressions as they changed and reacted to the plays and shots they saw in front of them.

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