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Monday, June 29, 2020

OPC Goalies: 1980-81

  One of the things I been doing while my own computer sits in a storage container is going through the goalie cards of the OPC sets from 1980s.  I have been doing this by using the Trading Card Database website.  It appeared that there was no easy way of just viewing goalie cards for each set on the site, so started making Lists of goalie base cards for each set in the 80s.  I didn't include any All-Star, League Leaders, In Action or other subsets.  Just focused on the base cards.
  The first list I made was for the Goalies of the 1980-81 OPC set.  This was at a time when most goalies still wore masks, but some were already moving over to the helmet and cage or the combo mask, as introduced by Dave Dryden.  Unfortunately, OPC was still mainly using pictures from warm-ups for goalies, so masks were a rare sight in their sets at the time.  At least warm-up shots were a step up from the posed shots that littered the 70s.
  For the 1980-81 set, only seven masks and one cage made the set.  There were 28 other goalie cards that did not feature a goalie wearing a mask or helmet.  Only seven cards in the set could be considered action shots.
  There were a few curious omissions from the set.  Gerry Cheevers was not included since he retired in the offseason, although it would have been nice to have a career capper for him.  Although this oversight gave me a chance to add Cheevers to the Lost Cards series on this blog.  Also curious was the omission of Mario Lessard.  There was actually no Los Angeles Kings goalies in the set.  Canadiens #1 netminder Michel Larocque never made the cut, instead OPC inserted Canadiens rookie Richard Sevigny.  Sevigny only played 11 regular season games and none in the play-offs.  It would also been nice to see Rob Holland in the set.  Rob played 44 career games, with 34 of those coming in the 1979-80 season.  He never had a OPC card made of him.
  For the strange additions, the biggest head scratcher is Doug Soeteart.  Soeteart played 8 games in 79-80 and a total of 51 over the past five seasons, but OPC decided this was the year to have a Soeteart rookie card.  With the addition of Soeteart, the New York Rangers had three goalies in the 80-81 set.  Jim Craig made the set but based on the his Olympic play and Gold medal for the USA, it's difficult to argue against his inclusion.
  For top cards of the set, there is not a lot to choose from.  All the images are from the Trading Card Database website.  Here are my runner-ups.

1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #333 Ron Low Front
1980-81 OPC #333 - Ron Low

  I considered docking points on this card since it is the same picture used for Ron' Low's card in the 1979-80 OPC set.  The only thing they changed was the "Now with Oilers".  In the 79-80 set, they had "NOW WITH NORDIQUES".  I guess the proper utilization of capital letters was an improvement.  The rest of goalie cards in this set are just too bland.  There are actually only three painted masks in the set.

1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #31 Mike Liut Front
1980-81 OPC #31 - Mike Liut

  Mike Liut had a classic mask while with the Blues.  Although it's a bit odd that he went to a plain white mask after donning a much more elaborate design while playing with the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA.

1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #190 John Davidson Front
1980-81 OPC #190 - John Davidson

  I have to give the nod to John Davidson for being the top goalie card in the 1980-81 set.  it was a close call between him and Liut but Davidson's card screams 1980.  First , you have the painted mask.  Next is the exaggerated crouch positioning.  Lastly, is the net to goalie ration.  Even with a goalie on his back in today's game, there is less net showing.  One of the reasons there were so many goals back then.

  As for the worst goalie card in the set, that dishonour goes to Bob Sauve.  This is actually Sauve's fourth OPC card, all with the Sabres.  After two photo-day shots, he actually had a pretty nice card in the 79-80 set.  Sauve led the NHL is GAA in 1979-80 and OPC rewards him with another photo-day head shot.

1980-81 O-Pee-Chee #266 Bob Sauve Front
1980-81 OPC #266 - Bob Sauve

  Overall, the 1980-81 OPC set is massively unsatisfying for a goalie card collector.  While at 35 goalies, it's one of the biggest sets for goalies, but the picture selection is dreadful overall.  It's the first set of the 80s, and certainly the forerunner for worst set, with regards to goalies.




Friday, March 27, 2020

Lost Cards: 1985-86 OPC Steve Shutt

  Steve Shutt was inducted into the HHOF in 1993.  Drafted 4th overall in the 1972 draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Steve was one of four first round draft picks by the Canadiens that year, and was easily the most successful.  The Canadiens acquired the draft pick used on Shutt, back in June of 1968.  They traded minor league goalie Gerry Desjardins to the Los Angeles Kings for a 1969 1st rounder and a 1972 1st rounder.  They used the 1972 pick on Shutt.  The Montreal Canadiens GM Sam Pollock helped craft the Canadiens dominance during the 1970s by trading away aging role players for high draft picks to the expansion teams of the late 60s.
  One of the drawbacks of being selected by the Montreal Canadiens was the depth of that team.  Like other prospects, Shutt was brought along slowly.  He scored his first goal against Phil Myre of the Atlanta Flames in a 4-4 tie on December 2, 1972.  For his rookie season, Shutt would often be a healthy scratch and scored only 8 goals and 16 points in 50 games.  He followed it up with 35 points in 70 games the next season.
  1973-74 was a big season for the future of the Montreal Canadiens.  Young star, and future HHOFer, Guy Lafleur finally broke out and scored 119 points, which was more than his past two seasons combined.  Shutt earned a spot on the top line with Lafleur and had the first of his 9 consecutive 30 goal seasons.  Shutt and Lafleur would be linemates for the next decade.  Shutt had his best season a few years later in 1975-76, setting a then record by a left winger, 60 goals, as well as 105 points.  This was in the midst of the Montreal Canadiens winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979.  During the four straight Cups, Shutt had 61 points in 53 play-off games.
  The end of the Canadiens dynasty coincided with the retirement of goalie Ken Dryden in 1979 and the pieces started falling away.  Shutt's production began to slip as linemate Guy Lafleur battled injuries.  Shutt scored 35 goals in 1982-83, the last of his nine consecutive 30 goal seasons.
  Early in the 1984-85 season, frustrated by his ice time being cut and his reduced role with the Canadiens, Shutt requested a trade.  He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations in November of 1985.  Shutt tallied 41 points in 59 games as a King, but did not fit into the Kings future plans.  At age 32, he was the second oldest player on the roster.  The Kings had an option to return his contract to the Canadiens and did so.  Shutt didn't suit up for the Canadiens but was able to retire as one.  Which was nice for Shutt since the Canadiens at that time gave a retirement bonus worth one year's salary to its veterans.
  Although Shutt grew up a Toronto Maple Leafs fans, and enjoyed lack of pressure while playing for the Kings in Los Angeles, he will always be best remembered as a Montreal Canadien.  Which makes seeing him in the yellow and gold a bit jarring.  His solo season with the Kings, and subsequent retirement, did not make the cut of the slimmed down 1986-86 OPC set.  So here is his 1985-86 OPC Lost card.

1985-86 OPC #277 Steve Shutt

1985-86 OPC #277 Steve Shutt



Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1988-89 OPC Adam Graves

  For some reason I always group  Adam Graves  and Ray Sheppard together as the same type of player and career.  They both debuted in the NHL in 1987-88.  They both played for the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers early in their careers.  In 1993-94, they both set a career high with 52 goals.  Their second best total was 38 goals each.  Both were goal scorers who had more goals then assists.  Both signed as free agents in 1991 to the teams they had their most success with during their career.
  Graves did have a longer career, 1124 GP vs 817 GP to Sheppard.  Was a grittier player, earning 1224 PIM to Ray's 212.  Graves also was a 2nd Team All-Star in 1994 and is a two time Stanley Cup Champion.  Still, the similarities are close enough to give credence as to why I associate the two so closely.
  One difference I didn't mention was that Sheppard made an immediate splash in the NHL, as a runner-up for the Calder trophy in 1988, and earning himself cards in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 OPC sets.  On the other hand, Graves's career started out much slower and he didn't get a rookie card until the 1990 card boom.  So to try to even up the scorecard on the Graves-Sheppard similarities, here's a 1988-89 OPC Lost Card of Adam Graves, as well as a 89-90 OPC.

1988-89 OPC #269 OPC Adam Graves (RC)

1988-89 OPC #269 Adam Graves (RC)

1989-90 OPC Adam Graves

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Blog Status Update

 It's been a while since I posted.  I have been on the move of late and have yet to settle down.  My computer that has all my files, Photoshop, and custom cards, was packed up into a moving box and is still not in possession.  Even if I did have it, I don't think I'd be setting it up until I reach my final destination.  I do have a couple of older posts in draft, which I will try to finish up and post.  Otherwise, the blog will likely be fairly quiet for the next month or two. 
  Unless I actually buy and post about some real hockey cards, now that I back down south, as opposed the Arctic, it's easier to get my hands on some new wax.  Granted I was at a small show the past weekend and didn't buy a thing other than a $10 wax box of 1991-92 OPC.  I just don't have any interest in modern hockey cards.  And the vendors seem to have little interest in dragging out their boxes of early 90s singles.  Although I really do appreciate the collation in modern boxes as opposed to early 90s OPC.  40% of the box I bought were doubles or even triples. Not to mention the minus one card per pack due to the gum.  If anyone else is collecting 91-92 OPC, drop me a line.  I am still about 100 cards short myself from a complete set and I have 100s of doubles and triples.
  Regardless, the blog, and myself, will be fairly sporadic until I am resettled. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Lost Pages: 1984-85 OPC #397-405

  Another 9 pocket page has been completed, this time for the 1984-85 OPC set.  This set was the only one OPC used head portraits on the front for hockey.  Certainly a classic set.  It was also the start of the Lost Rookies and Cards posts, which has become the focus of this blog.  Bob Mason was the inaugural Lost Rookie, although it was originally part of The Forgotten blog posts.   The Forgotten were posts that looked at goalies or players who only played a few games or never got a card during their careers.  The Forgotten eventually changed to the Lost Cards and focused on creating custom cards.
  The other highlight for me from this Lost Page is Frank Caprice.  Through TTM and the custom card I sent him, I was able to score an interview with him.  It's one of two interviews I was able to do with ex-NHLers for this blog.

1984-85 OPC #397-405 Lost Cards

  All of the Lost Cards I made for this set have been Lost Rookies, with the exception of Pelle Lindbergh.  Pelle was outplayed by rookie Bob Froese and was skipped over by OPC for the 1984-85 set.

1984-85 OPC #397-405 Lost Cards

Here's the checklist and links to the posts for each Lost Card featured above

  • 397 - Bob Mason (RC)
  • 398 - Pelle Lingbergh
  • 399 - Frank Caprice (RC)
  • 400 - Michel Petit (RC)
  • 401 - Marc Behrend (RC)
  • 402 - Marty McSorley (RC)
  • 403 - Dave Richter (RC)
  • 404 - Ken Daneyko (RC)
  • 405 - Claude Loiselle (RC)

  •   Although looking into the Lost Cards of 1984-85 OPC set, I realized there was a Lost "Lost Card" from the 1984-85 OPC set.  

    The Lost Lost Rookie - 1984-85 OPC #400 Tim Hunter (RC)

      In 2016, I switched computers.  I had previously backed-up all my files but did not failed to update my back-ups.  So I figure I lost about a year of files, which includes the Lost Rookie of Tim Hunter.

      Reader feedback time.  If you could add one of the Lost Cards above to the original 1984-85 set, which one would be your choice?  Also, is there a player who was omitted from the 1984-85 set that you would vote in?

    Thursday, January 23, 2020

    Lost Cards: 1988-89 OPC Pat Riggin

      Pat Riggin was a Baby Bull.  In 1978 the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA in desperate need for players, and players on the cheap, signed six junior age players to their roster.  It was the final season of the WHA and the Bulls were not one of the teams to merge into the NHL.  The six junior players they signed would all be available in the NHL Entry draft, since no team held their rights.
      Riggin was the first goalie drafted in the 1979 NHL Entry draft, at 33rd overall to the Atlanta Flames.  Riggin played 25 games in his rookie season and also racked up a pair of shutouts, while playing behind Dan Bouchard (Lost Cards).  It was Riggin's only season in Atlanta, but not his final as a Flame.  The Flames struggled in the standings and financially, and the franchise was sold for a then record $16 million in 1980.  The new owners moved the team to Calgary and OPC responded by with a dreadful airbrush treatment of the entire team, colouring over the Flames logo on each card.  Riggin never got a card in the 80-81 set, so below is a card of Riggin as an Atlanta Flame.

    1980-81 OPC Pat Riggin

      It did not take long for Riggin to takeover as the #1 goalie in Calgary.  He played 42 games in 1980-81 and helped the team make the Stanley Cup semi-finals.  He received a rookie card in the 198-82 set and although his card did not need it, he was part of my 1981-82 Goalie Reboot project. The following season Riggin played in 54 games, but the team was swept in three games in the first round of the play-offs by the Vancouver Canucks.  On draft day 1982, the Flames made a pair of deals to improve their crease.  They acquired two time All-Star Don Edwards (and previous Lost Card recipient) from the Sabres, and also traded Riggin to the Washington Capitals.
      The Capitals were going through a changeover themselves.  Riggin joined the team as the franchise began to focus on defence.  It paid off for Riggin as he led the league in GAA, 2.67, and shutouts, 4, in the 1983-84 season and also shared the William J Jennings trophy with creasemate Al Jensen.  Riggin was a Second Team All-Star and finished third in Vezina voting.  The following season, Riggin finished second in the league in GAA, 2.98.  With the exception of injuries, Riggin and Jensen were goalies 1A and 1B for the Capitals.  Riggin did end up on the short end of the cards, as Jensen was featured in the 1983-84 set but Riggin was left out.  Here's a 83-84 of Riggin for the Riggin fans.

    1983-84 OPC Pat Riggin

      Although the Capitals played well and climbed the standings each season, they could not beat the New York Islanders in the play-offs.  They lost to the Islanders in three straight seasons, winning only 4 of the 14 playoffs games played between 1983 and 1985.  After bowing out in the 1985 play-offs, Riggin joined Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships, where he helped the team win a Silver medal.  In his first game, they defeated the U.S.A. and Riggin made some comments that were regarded anti-American.  In particular, he said he was "sick and tired of Americans coming to the NHL and taking our jobs."  Not the wisest of rants for a goalie playing in America's national capital and on a team that rostered the most American players in the league, including team captain, and two-time Norris winner, Rod Langway.  Riggin acknowledged the controversy in pre-season and stated "I am going to have to get off to an excellent start to get the fans behind me again."  Riggin did not get off to an excellent start.  In 7 games, he went 2-3-1, with a 3.75 GAA and a .826 save percent.  He was traded to the Boston Bruins for Pete Peeters.  OPC was not to press yet and Riggin got a "Now With..." card in the 1985-86 set.  His last card during his career.
      Riggin had a decent season in Boston but his stats fell a bit after leaving the defensive-centric Capitals.  Although he was the main starter throughout the year, he was benched in favour of rookie Bill Ranford after a game one loss in the play-offs.  The following season, Riggin found himself as the odd man out as the Bruins went with Ranford and Doug Keans (a previous Lost Rookie) between the pipes.  Somehow OPC must have seen the writing on the wall as Keans got a card in the 1986-87 set, but Riggin did not.  So in my quest to be the favourite blog of Pat Riggin fans, here's right to that wrong.

    1986-87 OPC Pat Riggin

      As mentioned, Riggin found himself as the odd man out in Boston, and soon found himself out of Boston.  After being sent to the AHL, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in February of 1987 for goalie Roberto Romano.  Riggin played two seasons with the Penguins, posting respectable numbers, considering he played with the Penguins in the 80s.  Over two seasons, Riggin played 39 games, was 15-14-7 and had a 3.65 GAA.   Riggin was never able to takeover as the #1 goalie and was sent down to the AHL in Januray of 1988.  Riggin never returned to the NHL and retired at the end of the season.
      I have read that Riggin burned too many bridges while playing in the NHL, but the anti-american comment is only bridge I can find burned.  He was one of the top goalies in the mid-80s but put up average numbers outside Washington.  Riggin became a race horse trainer after retiring.  I previously had a TTM success with Riggin.  And now I present a Lost Card of Pat Riggin, a 1988-89 OPC.
      Hold on a sec.  I just noticed something about the stick.  Riggin uses a Wally goalie stick for the majority of his career, which you can see in the pictures above.  While he was in Pittsburgh, there are pictures of him using the Wally, but also pictures of the Louisville.  Also, the Penguins jersey made a minor change for the 1987-88 season, which was changing the collar on home jersey from black to gold.  You can compare the slight difference to this picture.  So based on the stick and jersey, I know I can find an actual picture from his final NHL season and thus best suited for the 88-89 card, although I would have preferred a higher res picture.  The original picture I was using, with Riggin in the black away photo, just looks older.  As well, the helmet looks different in the pictures, but the helmet used in his 87-88 OPC looks the same as the picture of Riggin in a home jersey with the black collar.  Although I could just ignore the difference and still used the older picture on the 1988-89 design.  OPC themselves often used, or reused, older pictures.
      So after a bit of editing, I made yet another Pat Riggin Card.  So including the 1981-82 reboot card, that's six I have done for Riggin.  I think I deserve an honorary spot in the Pat Riggin fan club by now.   So here's a 87-88 OPC and then the lost card of the 1988-89 OPC.  Do You think I made the right call in switching the pictures?

    1987-88 OPC Pat Riggin

    1988-89 OPC #271 Pat Riggin


    1988-89 OPC #271 Pat Riggin


    Thursday, January 16, 2020

    Lost Cards: 1987-88 OPC Richard Sevigny

      Richard Sevigny was a Stanley Cup Champ even before playing a NHL game.  Drafted 124th overall, in the 7th round by the Montreal Canadiens in 1977, Sevigny was called upon to dress as an emergency back-up for game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in 1979.  Michel Larocque was scheduled to start but was hit in the head with a slapshot during the pregame warm-ups.  Ken Dryden started the game, and Sevigny dressed as the back-up for that night.  Larocque only missed a single game and Sevigny didn't dress again during the Finals.  His ride on the pine was enough for Sevigny to get his name engraved on the Stanely Cup as the Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in five games.
      Sevigny played his first NHL game on November, 13, 1979, a 5-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues.  Sevigny was called-up and pressed into action after starters Larocque and Denis Herron were injured on back-to-back days.  The following season, Sevigny became part of history.  It was the final season that the Vezina trophy was awarded to the team with the lowest goals against, instead of a voted-on best goalie in the league.  Sevigny shared the trophy with teammates Denis Heron and Michel Larocque, as all three qualified by playing at least 25 games for the Canadiens.  Including the William Jennings trophy, which is now awarded to lowest goals against, it is the only time three teammates shared the award.  For his part, Sevigny led the league in GAA, 2.40.
      The season ended on a sour note, which included an ill-advised quote by Sevigny.  The heavily-favourite Montreal Canadiens were scheduled to play the underdog Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the play-offs.  It was billed as Guy Lafleur versus Wayne Gretzky.  Before the series begun, Sevigny quipped "Lafleur will put Gretzky in his back pocket."  The Oilers swept the Canadiens in three games.  Gretzky scored 11 points.  Sevigny allowed 13 goals.  Lafleur had one assist, which tied him with Sevigny for points.  It was the passing of the torch from Lafleur to Gretzky as the league's premier star.
      Sevigny, like most 80s goalies, suffered through OPC's lame warm-up photography.  Which is unfortunate since Sevigny had a fairly nice mask.  While it can be seen on his 1983-84 card, it is never done justice.  Years ago I did a complete reboot of all goalies for the 1981-82 set, below is the Sevigny version.

    1981-82 OPC Richard Sevigny

      The Montreal Canadiens won the inaugural William Jennings trophy the following season, but Sevigny did not qualify for the award.  During practice, a shot fractured his glove hand and he missed almost two months.  The injury opened the door for rookie Rick Wamsley to take over as the team's starter.  Wamsley and Herron had their names on the William Jennings trophy.  They also were included in the 1982-83 OPC set, sans Sevigny.  This gives me another opportunity to showcase Sevigny's mask.

    1982-83 OPC Richard Sevigny

      The Canadiens, who had won five out of the last six Vezina/Jennings for fewest goals, began to fall down the charts.  They finished 7th in fewest goals in 1982-83 and 1983-84.  Prior to the 1984 playoffs, the Canadiens had three consecutive first round exits, including two sweeps.  During the 1984 play-offs, a goalie savior appeared, the next Ken Dryden, as rookie Steve Penney led the team to the Stanley Cup semi-finals.  Sevigny did not play, but did collect a fighting major and game misconduct in the Good Friday Massacre during Game 6 versus the Quebec Nordiques.  A few games later, Sevigny again came off the bench during a brawl.  this time racking up 17 PIM while fighting Billy Smith of the New York Islanders.  I am pretty sure his 32 PIM is a single season play-off record for a player who never actually played a game.
      It was enough for the Habs to reboot their goalies, rookie Penney became the new starter and the team dealt away Wamsley and brought in Doug Soetaert.  Sevigny's contract was up and the Canadiens did not offer him a contract.  As a Quebecois, Sevigny opted to stay in his home province and signed with the Quebec Nordiques.  Injuries and rookie goalies continued to plague Sevigny in Quebec.  Sevigny was once again part of a 3 goalie committee, which included incumbent Dan Bouchard, a previous Lost Cards feature, and rookie Mario Gosselin.  Interestingly, the back-up goalie he fought the previous play-offs, Clint Malarchuk, was the odd man out and spent the season in the AHL.  In his first game as a Nordique, Sevigny allowed 9 goals on 32 shots against the Edmonton Oilers.  He did not play again for two more months.  His 20 games played in 1984-85 was his most as a Nordique, as he only played in 15 more games over the next two seasons.  After starting the season in the minors in 1987, Sevigny retired.
      Sevigny did have an OPC card as a Nordique, an actually decent airburshed job in the 1984-85 set.  I found a few good pictures of Sevigny as a Nordique and decided to give him a career capper as a Lost Card.

    1987-88 OPC #272 Richard Sevigny

    1987-88 OPC #272 Richard Sevigny