The year 1969 was not just another ordinary year in the NHL. We saw a lot of ‘firsts’ come out of 1969. What wasn’t a ‘first’ was the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup for the 16th time and second year in a row. It was an exact replay of 1968 when they swept the St. Louis Blues 4 games to 0.
In 1969, there were only 2 divisions, East and West. Six teams in each and to even it out, you had Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in the West and Detroit and Chicago in the East! To give you an idea of just how strong the East was, the leader of the West, the St. Louis Blues, which finished almost 20 points ahead of the Oakland Seals would have placed 4th in the East! Nonetheless, there was some “good ol’ time” hockey played with the likes of Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull.
1969 did have it share of ‘firsts’, however. It was the first time any NHL player ever achieved 100 points in a single season. Phil Esposito blazed a new record with 126 points followed by Bobby Hull with 107 and Gordie Howe with 103. Bobby Hull also set a new record for goals with 58 at a time when teams played only 76 games.
1969 was the year that Blues’ Red Berenson tied an NHL record by scoring 6 goals in a game and rookies Danny Grant of the Minnesota North Stars and Norm Ferguson of the Oakland Seals tied a 40-year-old record of most goals by a rookie with 34 each. Superstar Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins would begin his takeover of the NHL proving that defensemen can play offense too by scoring a record 21 goals which would precipitate his numerous offensive records he would set as a defenseman.
Did we mention how dominant the East was over the West? The St. Louis Blues swept both the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings and were then swept by the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals!