January 1921 – The Senators still reign supreme – First Line Rover

Headline – Senators are still really really good

To no one’s surprise, the Senators ran away with the first half title. They were able to mostly keep the roster together from last year’s domination, other than Punch Broadbent and Sprague Cleghorn, who were moved to Hamilton by the league for competitive balance reasons (they never reported; Broadbent simply never reported and returned to Ottawa, Cleghorn ended up getting moved to Toronto, and only recently reported there). Considering they haven’t played for Montreal either, they’ll probably end up back with Ottawa by season’s end.

It’s hard to match the complete demolition of the rest of the league that Ottawa had last season, but they’re making easy work of everyone this year. Out of their first nine games, they won seven by multiple goals, and their only loss came in Montreal, where they lost by just one.

How’s that working out for ya?

Montreal made a big pair of trades just before the season started, let’s check in on them, see how it worked out. Firstly, they traded Harry Cameron to Toronto in exchange for Joe Matte and Goldie Prodgers, who they then packaged to Hamilton along with Jack Coughlin and Billy Coutu (on loan for the year) in exchange for Jack McDonald, Harry Mummery, and Dave Ritchie.

Let’s first look at Toronto. Cameron has put up seven goals so far, which is great for 12 games as a defenseman. Toronto may finally have the guns to compete for a playoff spot.

Hamilton got the most out of these trades quantity-wise, but their losing record suggests they aren’t doing well with this deal. Prodgers is one of their top scorers, and Matte isn’t bad in his own right. Billy Coutu is an interesting case, considering he’s running away with the league lead in penalty minutes, which is either good or bad, depending on who you ask. Either way, all that extra power play time is not doing well for Tigers’ goalie Harry Lockhart, and their record definitely proves this.

Montreal’s biggest find in this trade is definitely Harry Mummery. He’s provided a decent amount of offense from the blue line, and has contributed in the penalty column as well. The other two guys from the trade? Jack McDonald barely plays, and Dave Ritchie is retiring to become a referee.

Let’s grade these trades halfway through the season:
Toronto: Landing Cameron has helped stabilize the backend. They get an A.
Hamilton: Half of their main lineup is composed of this trade. While it’s good they’re getting use out of them, they’re in last place. They get a C.
Montreal: Harry Mummery is great, but they are getting zero value out of the other two pieces. They get a B- for giving up what they got for just one player.

So who is that guy?

One of the other moves the Canadiens made was to pick up Cully Wilson, who is on loan from Toronto. Wilson has been mentioned before when talking about the Seattle Metropolitans, but we don’t know much about him…until now.

Cully Wilson during his Seattle tenure.
It looks like someone off to the side
may have just called him Carol.

Cully was born Karl Wilhons Erlendson to Icelandic parents in Winnipeg, who eventually renamed themselves Wilson not long after Cully’s birth. Wilson began playing amateur hockey with local teams with similar players of Icelandic descent, and roughhoused his way onto the NHA’s Toronto Blueshirts. He was known as a tough guy, which was made apparent when you look at his 1914-15 season stats, where he compiled 22 goals and 138 penalty minutes in just 20 games. Apparently, all you had to do to piss him off is call him by his legal name, Carol.

Wilson moved to Seattle of the PCHA for the 1915-16, and became the main goon for the Metropolitans, accounting for almost 40% of their penalties in his first season. The Metros and the Vancouver Millionaires often found themselves fighting, with Wilson being involved in one way or another.

In one fight in 1918-19, Wilson swung his stick at Vancouver’s Mickey MacKay, breaking MacKay’s jaw and ending his season. Wilson was suspended for the remainder of the season, but was reinstated when his teammates refused to play without him. At season’s end, after the Stanley Cup Final finished without a winner, Wilson was banished from the PCHA. He signed with Toronto of the NHL, and led the league in penalty minutes during the 1919-20 season.

Power Rankings

  1. Ottawa Senators* (9-3-0, +25 Goal Differential)
    They won the first half title, as everyone expected. Will they roll over the league and eliminate the need for a playoff for the second year in a row?
  2. Toronto St. Patricks (6-6-0, -3 GD)
    Corb Denneny pulled off a double hat trick, scoring six goals against the Tigers on January 26th. Pretty good!
  3. Montreal Canadiens (6-6-0, -10 GD)
    After a 4-6-0 first half, starting on the right foot in the second half was extremely important for the Habs. Two wins to get things going in the right direction definitely help.
  4. Hamilton Tigers (3-9-0, -12 GD)
    They aren’t nearly as bad as they were in Quebec, but last place is still last place. One win in all of January is pretty bad, though.

    *indicates first half champion


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