Wednesday, March 16, 2011
While playing for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, Billy Taylor began his junior career with 19 goals in 12 games during the 1937-38 season. During the Generals run to the Memorial Cup Finals, Taylor scorched the ice with 17 goals and 19 assists for 36 points in just 13 playoff games, a 2.77 points per game average as a rookie.
He picked up where he left off during the following season, scoring 22 goals and 53 points in 14 games. He helped lead Oshawa to their first Memorial Cup championship with 11 goals and 28 points in nine games, topping the 3 point per game average this time out.
Taylor competed for the Pittsburgh Hornets of the International-American Hockey League prior to making his NHL debut with 29 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1939-40 season. Over the course of the next three seasons, Taylor's scoring totals continued to rise, going from 35 to 38 in 1941-42, a season during which he won the Stanley Cup, and then finally 60 points from 18 goals and 42 assists during the 1942-43 season, good for sixth in the NHL scoring race.
His NHL career was interrupted by performing military service from 1943 to 1945, although he found the time to play for the Newmarket Army team as well as the Toronto Army Shamrocks in 1944-45, with his NHL quality talent scoring 29 points in 8 regular season games and topping that with 32 points in 8 playoff contests, a four point per game average.
Back in the NHL in 1945, Taylor did not miss a beat, as he set a career high in goals with 23 on his way to 41 points in 48 games.
Just prior to the start of the 1946-47 season, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings where he immediately led the team in scoring with a career best 63 points from 17 goals and league leading 46 assists, which included an NHL record seven assists in a 10-6 Detroit win against Chicago on this date in 1947, a record which still endures today,
Despite leading the Red Wings in scoring, Detroit traded Taylor to the Boston Bruins for the 1947-48 season. He skated for the Bruins for 39 games until being traded to the New York Rangers on February 6th of that season. Taylor would only play two games for New York until being suspended for life by NHL President Clarence Campbell for violating the league's rules on gambling. Taylor's suspension was eventually lifted on August 25, 1970.
His career concluded with 323 games played, 87 goals and 180 assists for 267 points during a career interrupted by World War II and cut short by his suspension.
Today's featured jersey is a 1946-47 Detroit Red Wings Billy Taylor jersey as worn during his only season with the Red Wings. Detroit first wore their classic red jersey in 1932 when the club's name was changed from the Falcons to the Red Wings.
The jerseys were originally worn with red numbers trimmed in white for the first four seasons prior to changing to single color white numbers, which remain in use nearly 75 years later.
Of note, is the unusual treatment of the assistant captain's "A", which is contained in a diamond shape, something the Red Wings reprized in 1991-92 with their Turn Back the Clock jerseys worn during the NHL's 75th anniversary season.