Actually, there was a time, back in grandpappy’s day, when a 48-game slate was the norm. For 11 seasons, beginning in 1931, the National Hockey League (which was then split into two divisions and whose size fluctuated between seven and nine teams) played 48 games in a regular season that ran from late October or early November through mid-March. The playoffs, whose format varied, were over by the first or second week of April.
In 1942, the NHL reconfigured into the six-team, single-division familiar to fans of the Original Six era. There was a satisfying symmetry to the scheduling, with each team playing the others an equal number of times. The schedule grew from 50 games in 1942 to 60 in 1946, then to 70 in 1949. It stayed at 70 until expansion ushered in an unbalanced 74-game sked in 1967. As the league ballooned in size, the number of games grew apace (76 in 1968, 78 in 1970, 80 in 1974, 84 in 1992) until settling in at its current figure of 82 games in 1995.
Listed here are the 12 seasons in which the Wings played a 48-game schedule, including the strike-shortened 1994-95 season.
Season W-L-T Pts Playoffs 1931-32 18-20-10 46 Lost in Round One 1932-33 25-15-8 58 Lost in Round Two 1933-34 24-14-10 58 Lost in Stanley Cup Finals 1934-35 19-22-7 45 Didn't qualify 1935-36 24-16-8 56 Won Stanley Cup 1936-37 25-14-9 59 Won Stanley Cup 1937-38 12-25-11 35 Didn't qualify 1938-39 18-24-6 42 Lost in Round Two 1939-40 16-26-6 38 Lost in Round Two 1940-41 21-16-11 53 Lost in Stanley Cup Finals 1941-42 19-25-4 42 Lost in Stanley Cup Finals 1994-95 33-11-4 70 Lost in Stanley Cup Finals
4 replies on “A 48-game schedule used to be the norm in the NHL“
I wouldn’t mind if the season schedule went to 74 or 76 games again. Regular season is too long even to this avid fan.
Agree with Gary.
Playoffs should never have gotten into June, season shouldn’t start before Halloween or until the first lake freezes over in northern Canada, plus get back to the first week in April reg. season wrap-up. Five months to get in 72 games shall be the new establishment, and bring back the best of 5 playoff series for the first two rounds. Finally. No later than the end of May.
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