Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pentti Lund, Calder Trophy Winner

Pentti Alexander Lund was born in Karijoki, Finland before moving to Canada at age six. He played junior hockey in Port Arthur, Ontario with the Navy Team leading the league in scoring both years. He would turn pro and score 92 points in 56 games for the Boston Olympics of the Eastern League. Lund followed that with 62 points in 68 AHL games with the Hershey Bears in 1947/48. He made the big time with the New York Rangers the following year and notched 14 goals and 30 points in 59 games winning the Calder Trophy. Lund would lead the NHL in playoff scoring with 6 goals and 11 points in 12 games while losing the final in seven to Detroit. He finished two points up on team-mate Don Raleigh, and Red Wings Gerry Couture and George Gee in perhaps the most unheralded leaderboard ever.

Lund is often credited as being the first Finnish born player ever in the NHL, but Albert Pudas (originally Putaansuu) played 4 games with the Leafs in 1926/27. Lund would play two more full seasons with the Rangers before being traded to the Bruins prior to the 1951 season. In mid-November of that season in a game against the Blackhawks he got caught with a stick in the right eye during an opponent's clearing attempt. Lund lost most of the sight in the eye and was sidelined for three months before actually coming back to finish the season. He would amazingly play the following year as well and tallied 17 points basically using only one eye. Lund reclaimed his amateur status and played two seasons of senior hockey with Sault Ste. Marie before retiring. He was inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Finnish Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992, and is still alive and well.

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