Johnny Mowers

Johnny Mowers had a fine amateur career as an goalkeeper with Niagara Falls of the OHA Sr. League, and then played for Detroit of the MOHL and Omaha of the AHA.

His fine 1.91 goals against average in 1939-40 made Jack Adams decide to sign him for the 1940-41 season. Veteran Tiny Thompson was not living up to expectations, and it was decided that his best years were behind him. Mowers impressed so much in his first year that he almost pulled off the Frank Brimsek feat, nearly winning the Calder Trophy and Vezina Trophy, losing to Johnny Quilty and Turk Broda respectively.

Mowers suffered that malady known as the sophomore jinx the next year as his goals against soared and Detroit plummeted to fifth. He regained his form in the 1942 playoffs as he led Detroit to the Stanley Cup finals, where he continued to shine, as Detroit won the first three games, beating Toronto and having the Leafs on the ropes.

But then he and the Wings unthinkably collapsed. Mowers gave up 19 goals in four games as Toronto executed the greatest comeback in hockey history coming from a 3-0 deficit winning four straight games. The New York Islanders 33 years later would do the same thing, though not in Stanley Cup finals competition.

Despite the meltdown, the Wings kept their team in tact, including goaltending Mowers. With redemption fueling them all season long, 1942-43 was all Detroit and Mowers. He won the Vezina, the Red Wings finished first, and he led the Wings to the Stanley Cup.

This was the end of his stardom, though, as he did what so many did during World War II---enlisted in the armed forces to serve his country. When he came back, he found his job lost to the great Harry Lumley.

He played 7 games in 1946-47, all badly, so it was obvious he couldn't regain his old form and was weak in the playoffs. He tried to regain his form by playing two games for Indianapolis of the AHL, but it was a lost cause and he retired.


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