Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Dickie Moore - The Pinnacle
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Although he was still being integrated into the Montreal Canadiens line-up, Dickie Moore contributed significantly to the Stanley Cup championship in 1953.
The Detroit Red Wings were in the midst of a dynasty during the 1952-53 season. They distanced themselves from the rest of the pack during the regular season, running away with the league title by accumulating 90 points; fifteen better than Montreal. Detroit won thirty-six games, losing sixteen and tying eighteen during the regular season while the second place Canadiens won twenty-eight, losing twenty-three and tying nineteen.

The Red Wings were sparked by the latest configuration of the always dangerous Production Line, with Alex Delvecchio replacing Sid Abel between Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay. Howe and Lindsay finished one-two in NHL scoring that season, with Delvecchio tied for fourth. Dickie Moore had suffered a knee injury and played just eighteen games with the Canadiens in his sophomore season. He was able to contribute just two goals and six assists through the regular season.

To begin the semi-finals, Detroit faced the Boston Bruins in what looked like it would be a cakewalk for the Wings. Detroit had beaten Boston in ten of their fourteen meetings during 1952-53, and the league champions were strongly favoured. But a funny thing happened on the Wings' route to the Stanley Cup final — Boston stole the series four games to two, shocking the Motor City faithful.

In the meantime, Montreal was being challenged by the Chicago Blackhawks. Dickie Moore scored in a Game Two victory over Chicago. Netminder Gerry McNeil was injured in Game Five, opening a spot for an untried rookie named Jacques Plante, who promptly shut out Chicago 3-0 in Game Six. The Canadiens proceeded to edge the Hawks four games to three. That set up the Stanley Cup final — the Montreal Canadiens versus the Boston Bruins.

The 1953 Stanley Cup champion Canadiens boasts nine
Honoured Members in the Hockey Hall of Fame -- Butch Bouchard,
Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Elmer Lach, Bert Olmstead, Jacques Plante, Maurice Richard and, of course, Dickie Moore.
"We were fortunate because Detroit had our number," recounted Moore. "The rivalry with Detroit was awful. They used to beat us fairly regularly. We won in '53 because Boston knocked off Detroit and we could beat Boston with our eyes closed. Boston had a helluva hockey team but they just couldn't get by us. They just didn't have anyone to lead them when they were ahead and show them how to play. The best team doesn't always win. It's the confidence and knowledge of play that makes you win."

Moore was strong for Montreal during the final, scoring a goal in a 4-2 opening game win for Montreal. Boston rebounded with a decisive 4-1 victory in Game Two. Game Three saw Gerry McNeil return to the net for the Canadiens, and he proceeded to shut out the Bruins 3-0. Dickie Moore nabbed an errant pass by Clare Martin, collecting an unassisted goal in Game Four as his Canadiens dumped Boston 7-3. On April 16, 1953, the Montreal Canadiens claimed the Stanley Cup with a 1-0 overtime win on a goal by veteran Elmer Lach. Captain Butch Bouchard accepted hockey's most cherished prize from league president Clarence Campbell. For Dickie More, it was the first of six Stanley Cup championships he would celebrate through a fourteen-season NHL career.

"In life, the first one is the most exciting," Moore concluded. "In 1953, I won the first Stanley Cup with the team. That was quite special."

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager, Publishing and Editorial Services.