History of the National Hockey League/1942–1967/Dynasties/Montreal Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens edit
The Red Wings faced the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals in three consecutive seasons between 1954 and 1956. Detroit won the first two match-ups, however Montreal captured the 1956 Stanley Cup, ending one dynasty and starting another. The Canadiens won five consecutive championships between 1956 and 1960, a feat no other team has duplicated.
The Canadiens signed Jean Beliveau, a prospect whose arrival in the NHL had been anticipated for years, in 1953. Beliveau had repeatedly refused to turn professional with Montreal, as his Quebec Senior Hockey League team, the Quebec Aces, matched any contract offer the Canadiens made. Montreal ultimately bought the entire league outright, along with the rights to all players, and turned it professional. Beliveau finally signed with Montreal for $105,000 over five years and a $20,000 bonus, an unprecedented contract for a rookie. Beliveau ultimately won ten Stanley Cups in Montreal.
Led by Richard and Beliveau, the 1950s Canadiens had so much offensive ability the NHL was forced to amend its rules to slow their offence down. The 1955–56 Canadiens frequently scored multiple goals during the same two-minute powerplay. In one game against Boston, Beliveau scored three goals in 44 seconds on the same Bruins penalty. The league instituted a rule for the following season that permitted a player serving a minor penalty to return to the ice early if one goal was scored against his team.