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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Lost Cards: 2000-01 UD Vintage Zarley Zalapski

  Zarley Zalapski was drafted 4th overall in the 1986 NHl entry draft.  What is particular interesting is that he never played college or major junior hockey.  He was drafted from the Canada National team.  Prior to 1988, professionals were not allowed to compete at the Olympics.  The lure of the 1988 Olympics on home soil was enough for a few top prospects to join Team Canada.  There was also coach Dave King who was beginning to make a name for himself.  Three players from the Canadian National team were drafted in the 1st round in 1986.
  While 1988, was the first year professionals were allowed to participate in the Olympics, the NHL did not schedule a break in thier schedule, so few NHLers were able to join.  The roster for the Olympics was a mixture of amateurs, prospects, ex-NHLers, NHL hold-outs and a few players who were granted leave by thier teams.  Hopes were high for Team Canada, who had performed well in tournaments prior to the Olympics.  Unfortunatley, the last-minute influx of a few NHL players, did not boolster the team as expected.  Team Canada finished in 4th place.

1988-89 OPC Olympians - Zarley Zalapksi
  After the Olympics came to an end, several of the amateur players, including Zalapski, made the jump to the NHL.  Zalapski had an assist in each of his first two NHL games and had a 4 point night, including his first career goal against Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers.  Zarley finished the season with 11 points in 15 games.  In 1988-89, Zarley scored 45 points in 58 games and was selected to the All-Rookie team.  It was enough to get Zarley his first OPC card in the 89-90 set.  I wasn't very impressed by it so I created a 88-89 OPC rookie for Zarley.

  After another injury shortened season in 89-90, Zalapski was finally healthy, but the addition of Larry Murphy to a blueline that already included Paul Coffey, made Zalapski expendable.  The Penguins had an excess of offence but a lack of grit on the backend.  Zalapski was part of the blockbuster deal at the trade deadline with the Hartford Whalers, than sent Ron Francis and Ulf Samuelsson to the Penguins and helped propel the Pens to two back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship.  Zalapski would have his best offensive season while with the Whalers, scoring 20 goals in 92-91 and 65 points in 92-93.  Zalapski was traded to the Calgary Flames at the 1994 trade deadline.  Zarley would slide down the depth charts with the Flames, before a knee injury caused him to miss almost the entire 1996-97 season.  Zalapski continued to struggle during the 97-98 season and was traded to the Montreal Canadiens to finish the year.  Zarley signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 1998 off-season, but failed to make the team out of training camp.  Although Upper Deck thought it would get a head start and included Zarley as Ranger in their 1998-99 set.
  Zarley went overseas in 1999 but returned to North America to play in the IHL.  During the season, the injury bug bite the Philadelphia Flyer's blueline and Zalapski was signed to fill in the gaps.  Zalapski began his Flyers career like he did his NHl career, notching assists in his first two games.  After that, Zalapski failed to score a point in ten more games.  As players returned from injury, Zalapksi's ice time disappeared.  While Zalapski would not play in the NHL again, he would continue to play pro hockey, either in North America or Europe, until 2008.
  In 2017, Zalapksi passed away due to a heart disease.
  Zarley's brief stint with the Philadelphia Flyers did not warrant a cart from any of the major card companies, so I decided to create one.  It was an easy choice as to which design to use.  The 2000-01 UD Vintage set was my favourite design from that season.  This was before retro or vintage sets were popular.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC John Kordic

  I had this post sitting in the draft folder for a few months now.  Originally I was going to try to write a very short bit on John Kordic. With each Lost Cards post, I try to do a recap of a player's career and highlight anything significant or interesting.  While Kordic's career was short, it was long on significant and interesting.  So even with the intentions on keeping it short, I ended up writing several paragraphs on Kordic, even before we had traded to the Leafs.  I made a decision, I was either going to write it all, or nothing, about John Kordic.  So I will write (almost) nothing.
  If you want to do more reading I suggest the Sports Illustrated's article Death of a Goon and the New York Times piece on his Funeral as starting points.  There was also a book written, John Kordic; The Fight of his Life, which had its movie rights purchased, although never filmed.
  I will say that I would love to see a movie on Kordic.  It's the Canadian Dream turned nightmare.  The price Kordic paid for success would lead to his demise.  Kordic and his father Ivan, were at odds over Kordic's role in the NHL.  His father loved hockey, but disapproved of Kordic fighting.  The death of his father in 1989 was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Kordic's downward spiral accelerated.  His play and attitude soured, and his substance abuse increased.  In August of 1992, Kordic, after an evening of alcohol and drugs, died of a heart malfunction after resisting arrest.  It is truly a tragic story.
  Kordic's rookie card was a 1990-91 OPC, as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He never had a card while with the Montreal Canadiens.  As a rookie, he won a Stanley Cup with the 1986 Canadiens, so I thought it'd be fitting to include him that's set.

1986-87 OPC #270 John Kordic (RC)

1986-87 OPC #270 John Kordic (RC)

  Since John would have preferred to be remembered for more than just his pugilism, here is another card of Kordic.

1987-88 OPC John Kordic

  While Kordic would have a card with the Quebec Nordiques, his final NHL team, his brief 7 game stint, and 101 PIM, with the Washington Capitals would go uncarded.  Below is what it could have looked like.

1991-92 OPC John Kordic

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lost Cards: 1987-88 OPC Thomas Gradin

 In 1978 off-season, the Canucks delved into the European market.  Within three days, they signed Swedish leagues players Lars Zetterstorm, Lars Lindgren, and Swedish NHLer Roland Eriksson.  A week later they traded for their future team career points leader, Swedish player Henrik Sedin, I mean Thomas Gradin.
  Gradin was easily the best of the four Swedish players the Canucks acquired in the summer of 1978.  Originally drafted by the Chicago Black Hawks, 45th overall in 1976, Gradin never signed with the Black Hawks.  Two years later, the Hawks traded Gradin to the Canucks for a second round pick, with the Hawks option of 1979 or 1980.  The Hawks passed in 1979, Canucks drafted Brent Ashton, 26th overall, which left the Hawks with 28th overall pick in 1980 (Steve Ludzik).
  Gradin scored 51 points in his rookie season, including 3 points in his first career NHL game.  Thomas led the Canucks in points during the 80-81 season, 69pts, and the 81-82 season, 86pts.  During their surprising run to the 1982 Stanley Cup finals, he led the team with 19 points.

1986-87 OPC Thomas Gradin

  Gradin left the Canucks for the Boston Bruins as a free agent in the 1987 off-season.  At the time, he was the Canucks franchise leader in points, 550.  Gradin scored 43 points in 61 games during his only season with Bruins and his final NHL season.  Gradin left the NHL and returned to the Swedish league in 1988.  He retired in 1990, but made a brief return to professional hockey in Sweden in 1997.
  Gradin returned to the Canucks organization 1994, as a scout.  He was instrumental in the Canucks pursuit and acquisition of the Sedin twins in the 1999 NHL draft.
  Gradin's last NHL card was in the 1985-86 set.  I had a chance to rectify two oversights on OPC's behalf.  Gradin was never pictured in the glorious mustard yellow home jersey of the Canucks.  So I took artistic license and used an older picture of Gradin for the 86-87 OPC above.  If OPC can use old pictures, then so can I.  Second was giving Gradin a career capping card as a member of the Boston Bruins.

1987-88 OPC #270 Thomas Gradin

1987-88 OPC #270 Thomas Gradin

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1981-82 OPC Glen Cochrane

  Glen Cochrane played 411 games over 10 NHL seasons but never got a NHL card during his playing days.  His rookie card was part of the 2002-03 Fleer Throwbacks Set.
  Cochrane was drafted 50th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1978 Entry Draft.  He made his debut on November 24, 1978 against the Minnesota North Stars.  After registering a -2 in that game, Cochrane was sent back to the Maine Mariners of the AHL.  Cochrane led the Mariners in PIM and had seven points in 10 play-off games as the Mariners won the 1979 Calder Cup as AHL Champions.
  Cochrane returned to the NHL in the 1980-81 season, quickly amassing 219 PIM in 31 games, including back-to-back games with 42 PIM against the Los Angeles Kings and then 33 versus the Vancouver Canucks.  In the latter game, Cochrane earned a suspension for being the first man off the bench.  He scored his first career goal, and had a three point night, against the Winnipeg Jets, in a 10-1 victory.  Cochrane had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick Against the Calgary Flames in the play-offs.
  Cochrane led the Flyer in PIM for three consecutive seasons starting in 81/82 with totals of 327, 237 and 225 PIM.  The arrival of Mark Howe in 1982 helped Cochrane produce his two best NHL seasons.  He set career highs in points, 24, and was a +42, in the 82-83 season.  A season-ending knee injury late in the 83-84 season limited Cochrane to only 18 games in 84-85.  He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a 3rd round draft pick during the following offseason.

1986-87 OPC Glen Cochrane

  Cochrane who was never known for his mobility, became even slower due to a bad knee.  A local boy, born in Cranbrook B.C., Cochrane had a disappointing tenure with the Canucks.  For the Canucks he had 3pts, and 177 PIM in 63 games over two seasons.  Cochrane missed time due to his knee injury and also suffered back spasms, which required surgery.
  The Canucks left Cochrane unprotected for the 1987 Waiver draft and was subsequently picked up by the Chicago Black Hawks.  Cochrane played his last full season in the NHL with the Hawks in 87-88.  He had 9 points, and 207 PIM, while playing in 73 games.
  Cochrane was on the move again via waivers in 1988.  A month into the season, the Hawks placed Cochrane on waivers and the Edmonton Oilers picked him up.  Cochrane had 52 PIM in 12 games as Oiler.  As the calendar year came to a close, the Oilers sent Cochrane down to the minors.  Instead of reporting, Cochrane decided to retire.  Cochrane retired with 1556 PIM in 411 career games.

1989-90 OPC Glen Cochrane

  As mentioned Cochrane never had a NHL card during his playing days.  He had a few team issued cards and also was part of the 1986 Kraft set, which was an awesome set by the way.  Good pictures of Glen are surprisingly hard to find.  I was reluctant to do a Canucks card for him due to the picture quality but my searches didn't turn up any custom cards with Glen as a Canuck.  I did see a few as a Hawk.  I was surprised to find a few high quality pictures of Cochrane as an Oiler.  Although now onto the main event, the Lost Rookie of Glen Cochrane.

1980-81 OPC #399 Glen Cochrane (RC)

1980-81 OPC #399 Glen Cochrane (RC)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Lost Mike Bossy's: 90-91

  Mike Bossy was a gifted goal scorer, who retired early due to back issues.  He played 10 seasons in the NHL and scored 50+ goals in his first nine seasons.  He was the second player in history to score 50 goals in 50 games.  Bossy retired after scoring 573 goals in 752 games.  He holds the NHL career record for average .76 goals per game.  In his final NHL season, 1986-87, Bossy had 29 goals and 56 points in 41 games before missing two week due to his back injury.  He would only score 9 goals and 19 points in his final 22 regular season games.
  If Bossy had been able to play a few more seasons, could he had challenged Gordie Howe's 801 career goals?  If he could have played 6 more seasons and average 40 goals a year, he would have done it.  Granted, if all players had perfect health for their full careers, I am pretty sure the record book would look very different.
  Assuming Bossy's back held up until the junk era, here's his 1990-91 base cards.

90-91 Bowman Mike Bossy

90-91 OPC Mike Bossy

90-91 OPC Premier Mike Bossy

90-91 Pro Set Mike Bossy

90-91 Score Mike Bossy

90-91 Upper Deck Mike Bossy

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC Lee Norwwod

  Lee Norwood played 12 seasons in the NHL.  It took him six seasons and four franchises until OPC paid him some love with a rookie card in the 1988-89 set.  He didn't much more love after that though.  Norwood had a total of nine NHL cards during his career.  A career that included the junk explosion of the early 90s.
  Norwood was drafted 62nd overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.  Norwood started the 1980-81 season with the Nordiques and had a point in each of his first two career games.  Pointless in his next eight games, Norwood was sent to the minors.  After playing a pair of game with the Nordiques the following season, he was traded to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Tim Tookey, who was previously featured on The Lost Rookies.  Norwood had 17 points in 27 games after the trade, including a four point night against the Philadelphia Flyers, in a 4-4 tie..
  It wasn't enough to keep Norwood on the Capitals.  After spending the majority of the 82-83 season in the AHL, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Norwood never made the Leafs roster and spent a season with the Leafs AHL affiliates, the St. Catherine's Saints.
  Prior to the 1984-85 season, Norwood signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Blues.  He played the 1984-85 season with the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL.  Norwood was selected as the leagues top defenceman as he helped the Rivermen win the IHL Championship trophy, the Turner Cup.  Norwood made the Blues roster for the 1985/86 season and was part of the Blues 1986 play-off run.  The Blues played the maximum games in each of three series before losing to the Calgary Flames in the Campbell Conference Finals.  It was against the Calgary Flames in which the Blue performed their Monday Night Miracle.
  Norwood was traded in the offseason to the Detroit Red Wings.  He would play, and lose, in two more consecutive Campbell Conference Finals, both times to the Edmonton Oilers.  As a Red Wing, he would have a career year in 1988-89.  First, he received a rookie card in the 88-89 OPC set, and then he proceeded to set career highs with 10 goals, 32 assists, and 42 points.  Norwood played four and half seasons with Detroit and spent time as one of their assistant captains.
  Lee finished his career as an oft-injured journeyman.  He played for five franchises in his final four seasons, from 1990-1994.  The Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames.  He struggling to find ice time as on-ice injuries, and moving motorcycles out of Brendan Shanahan's garage related injuries, caused him to miss games. He retired after the 1993-94 season, but made a brief minor league comeback from 1995 to 1997.  He finished his career after having played 503 games over 12 seasons.
  I would have liked to have done a Lost Rookie of Norwood as a Nordique or Capital, but I could not find any usable pictures.  Norwood also did not have card issued of him as a Whaler or Flame.  If anyone can direct me to some quality pictures of Norwood in those uniforms, it'd be much appreciated.  He played with seven franchises and only had cards with three of them.  He played for the Blues twice but only got cards made during his second tenure.
  So the best I can do is a 1986-87 OPC Lost Rookie of Lee Norwood.

1986-87 OPC #271 Lee Norwood (RC)

1986-87 OPC #271 Lee Norwood (RC)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Lost Cards: 1987-88 OPC Glenn Resch

  The best New York Islanders goalie in the 70s was not Billy Smith, but Glenn "Chico" Resch.  Chico consistently outplayed Billy in the regular season, but was part of a few disappointing early exits for the Islanders as the decade came to a close.  Which is why one is in the HHOF and the other is one of the most underrated goalies of the 70s/80s.
  Resch was property of the Montereal Canadiens, as one of the last players under the old sponsorship program.  Feeling his chances of making the NHL were not a guarantee, he opted to get educated and accepted a scholarship with at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Resch guided the university to it's first ever post-season win in 1971, and was selected to the WCHA 2nd All-Star team.  He attended the 1971 Montreal Canadiens training camp but the team was engorged with young goaltender talent, including rookie Ken Dryden, whom had led them to a Stanley Cup the previous spring.  Resch also found himself behind his idol Rogie Vachon, Phil Myre, Wayne Thomas and Michel Plasse.  The Canadiens had six goalies under contract who we all between the ages of 22 and 26.
  Resch was sent to the Muskegon Mohawks of the IHL to play the 1971-72 season.  Resch won multiple awards including top goalie and rookie of the year.  His play, and the voice of junior coach Bob Turner, drew the attention of New York Islanders GM Bill Torrey.  The Isles and Habs swung a trade that saw four players, including Resch and veteran goalie Denis Dejordy, head to the Island in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick, whom the Habs used to select Glen Goldup.
  Resch would spend two more seasons in the minors, including a brief call-up in 1973-74, before making the NHL for good in 1974-75 season.  Resch was in the back-up role for the regular season, but was given the starters gig in the play-offs.  Then he lost it to Smith, then Smith lost it to Resch.  Resch led the Islanders to an improbable run that included a 3-0 comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarter-finals, and then almost duplicating the feat in the semi-finials, pushing the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Philadelphia Flyers, to seven games.  The Islanders lost in the Stanley Cup semi-finals in four out of five years from 1975 to 1979.

1974-75 OPC Glen Resch Variant (RC)

  In the six seasons leading upto the Islanders 1980 Stanley Cup victory, Glenn and Billy Smith posted remarkable similar regular season numbers.  Although Resch was twice selected as a 2nd Team All-Star.

Query Results Table
Rk Player Tm From To Active GP W L T/O GA SA SV SV% GAA GA%- SO MIN GPS
1Glenn ReschNYI197419806248138614260069386338.9142.4977221445057.3
2Billy Smith*NYI197419806248121665164868716223.9062.7484131421351.5
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2019.

  It was the play-offs, in particular the failings, that has Smith in the HHOF and Resch traded into wasteland of the Colorado/New Jersey franchise.  Looking at the five post-season runs leading up to the 1980 Cup win, Smith had been outplayed by Resch overall.

Query Results Table
Rk Player Tm Pos From To Active GP W L GA SA SV SV% GAA GA%- SO PIM MIN
1Billy Smith*NYIG19741979530161182863781.9052.88941381705
2Glenn ReschNYIG19741979534171574932858.9212.3780241874
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/23/2019.

  After the play-off success of 1974, the inability to reach the Stanley Cup final the next four seasons were viewed as disappointments.  In particular was the 1978 play-offs, in which the Islanders didn't win a round.  Resch started all seven games against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  He allowed four in the first period of game 6 before being pulled, and then allowed the overtime series winning goal to Lanny McDonald, at home, in game 7 to complete the upset.
  The following post-season, Smith and Resch split starts.  Although their play was similar, Resch lost three games to Smith's one and was in between the pipes in the game six loss to the New York Rangers.  It was another shocking upset and yet another season the Islanders failed to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.
  The 1980 playoffs started off like the previous season, with Smith and Resch alternating starts.  Smith and the Islanders easily beat the Los Angles Kings 8-1 in the series opener.  Resch struggled in game two, allowing 6 goals in 20 minutes of play as the Islanders lost 6-3.  Resch would be benched as Smith started all but one of the remaining games in the Islanders play-off championship run.  The other game Resch started was a 2-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

1980-81 OPC Glenn Resch Variant

  The following season, the Islanders, convinced they would go with Smith in play-offs, and encouraged by the play of rookie Roland Melanson, traded Resch to the Colorado Rockies.  Billy Smith and Islanders would go onto win the Stanley Cup three more times.  Resch and the Rockies would move to New Jersey to become the Devils.  Resch played in the heyday of the Mickey Mouse Organization.  Resch went on to lead the league in losses twice, once as a Rockie and once as a Devil. His GAA with the Rockies/Devils would be 4.10.

1981-82 OPC Original and Reboot
  Glenn was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers late in the 1985-86 season.  In a season and a bit with the Flyers, in limited play, he posted a GAA of 2.97.  He still had it.
  In Resch's last NHL season, he backed-up Calder winner, Ron Hextall, and accompanied the team to the 1987 Stanley Cup finals.  Along the way, Resch played an integral part of play-offs pre-game brawl that would change NHL rules.  The Flyers lost the Finals in seven games to the Edmonton Oilers.
  Resch would get a sorry looking airburshed job in the 1986-87 OPC set.  As a Resch fan, it was not justice.  So created a career capping Lost Card of Glenn Resch for the 1987-88 OPC set.

1987-88 OPC #269 Glenn Resch

1987-88 OPC #269 Glenn Resch