Saturday, November 7, 2009
For seven seasons - day in, day out - Glenn Hall tended goal every single game, every single minute from the start of the 1955-56 season for the Detroit Red Wings and then for the Chicago Black Hawks starting with the 1957-58 season up through this date in 1962.
502 complete games in goal, 551 if you count the 49 playoff games, without ever once being pulled or given a rest - all without a wearing a mask!
In that first season of the streak, Hall was the Calder Trophy winner as Rookie of the Year. In 1961 he led the Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup Championship, their first in 22 seasons and to date, their last. Hall was also a first or second team All-Star six times in the seven year run, no easy feat in a then six-team league against competition from Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower,Jacques Plante, Roger Crozier and Gump Worsley.
Perhaps the closest he came to ending the streak was a puck to the face from the Toronto Maple Leaf's Jim Pappin that knocked out the only tooth he ever lost playing hockey and earned him 30 of the 250 stitches he would accumulate during his career.
Despite the end of his consecutive games streak due to a bad back, it would not deter Hall, who would go on to win the Vezina Trophy that season for the first of three times in his career and play in over 400 more games before retiring.
Hall is also known for throwing up before games, which he "credits" to being excited to play, not nerves for fear, and pioneering the butterfly style of goaltending, where a goaltender drops to his knees and spreads his legs out in a "V" shape, rather than doing the splits or laying sideways and stacking the pads on top of each other, the common styles used at the time. Keeping himself vertical also helped keep his face farther off the ice and away from the puck.
Playing with Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull was great for games, but very hard on Hall during practices. Mikita and Hull were the original developers of the curved stick and known for their blazing slap shots. Back in those days practices were not filled with the drills of today's modern practice, plus there were no rules at the time limiting the curvature on stick blades, and the players would blast shot after shot at the goaltenders, which would dip as much as two feet on their way to the net.
Hull in particular had no qualms about firing pucks at people, including trying to fire the puck at the glass in front of the goal judge at Chicago Stadium during pregame warmups to startle him into spilling his traditional coke. The problem for Hall was his location in the net in between Hull and the goal judge, requiring the puck to rip past Hall's head just over his shoulder on it's way to the glass!
Hall was set to retire at age 35, but was taken by the St. Louis Blues in the 1967 Expansion Draft, despite having just won the Vezina trophy! A 35% raise from $35,000 to $47,500 convinced Hall to extend his career. He led the Blues to the Stanley Cup Finals three years in a row and also finally began to wear a mask.
He would capture the Conn Smythe Trophy in the 1968 playoffs, despite being on the losing end of a 4 games to none sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Each game was a one-goal victory for Montreal, with Games 1 and 3 going to overtime. Hall would also share the Vezina trophy with Jacques Plante in 1968-69.
He retired with 84 shutouts and a lifetime goals against average of 2.51. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.
Today's featured jersey is a 1957-68 Chicago Black Hawks Glenn Hall jersey from his first season in Chicago. The crossed tomahawks and C logo was still worn over the sleeve stripes at the time before relocating up to the shoulder area for the 1960 season. The jersey also has the classic tie-neck collar used through the 1964-65 season. No names were worn on the back of the jerseys in those days, just Hall's traditional goaltender's #1.
First up is the Legends of Hockey profile on Glenn Hall
This brief video focuses on Hall's consecutive games streak.