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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Lost Cards: 1985-86 OPC Mike Palmateer

  The Popcorn Kid, Mike Palmateer, was an fan favourite in Toronto during his first tour of duty with the team, although his farewell tour did not go so well.
  Drafted 85th overall in the 5th round of the 1974 draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Palmateer made his debut on October 24, 1976.  Upon being called up, Palmateer reportedly told the Leafs "Your hunt for a goalie is over.".  Palmateer made good on his claim, winning his first three games and going 7-2-1, with 2 shutouts, including one against the Montreal Canadiens, in his first ten.  Palmateer became the Leafs goalie of choice.  Palmateer received a rookie card from OPC in the 1977-78 set but it was one of those helmetless inaction shots, so I put together an action variant for Palmateer.

1977-78 OPC Mike Palmateer

  In the 1978 playoffs, Palmateer's stellar play helped the Leafs upset the New York Islanders in overtime of Game 7.  The Leafs made it to the Stanley Cup semi-finals before getting swept by the Montreal Canadiens.  Mike continued to start for the Leafs but suffered an ankle injury in December of 1979.  He returned a month later, but re-injured his ankle ten minutes into his first game.  Afterwards, Palmateer claimed he felt rushed to return to action and was not actually ready to return.  It took another month before Palmateer played again.
  With his contract up after 1980,  Palmateer and Leafs could not agree on a new contract and were headed to arbitration, before Palmateer was traded to the Washington Capitals in a multi-player and draft picks deal.  Robert Picard, a previous Lost Card, was the key piece received by the Leafs.   The Capitals believed their search for a goalie was over.  In fact, Caps GM Max McNab, believed they would be "set in goalie for the next ten years."  Unfortunately, Palmateer's time with the Capitals was marred by injuries and only lasted two seasons.  Palmateer got a lame warm-up shot for the 1981-92 set, which I previously tackled during the 1981-82 OPC Goalie Reboot.  Palmateer played only 11 games during the 1981-82 season, his second with the Caps, due to injuries, and did not earn a card in the 1982-83 set.  Here's what a 1982-83 OPC Palmateer may have looked like.

1982-83 OPC Mike Palmateer
  There is a story regarding Palmateer leaving the hospital, where he was scheduled for knee surgery, since he was called in to fill-in for injured goalie Wayne Stephenson.  After the game, Palmateer returned to the hospital and had the surgery that week. Obviously, this would not be the type of decision that help prolong a career.  Although, I cannot find out when this actually was.  Stephenson and Palmateer were only teammates during the 1980-81 season.  The best guess I have is either December 17, 1980 or January 4th 1981.  Palmateer suffered a knee injury during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguin on December 12th.  Stephenson started the next game, but did not play again until January 4th.  I cannot find info on his injury.  Palmateer started all the games between Dec 17th and January 4th.
  On January 4th, Palmateer started, and injured his leg in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers.  he was replaced by Stephenson, who finished the game.  Neither goalie played again until January 24 for Palmateer, and February 5th for Stephenson.  In the meantime, Dave Parro started 6 six games and Rollie Boutin started 2.  I would really like to find a newspaper article on this to confirm it.  Since it really is an incredible story.
  The contract Palmateer had signed withe caps put him into the upper echelon of NHL earners.  Frustrated with the returns on investment, and the Capitals abysmal on-ice performance, Capitals owner Abe Pollin basically cleaned house of the Palmateer deal, firing GM Max McNab, coach Gary Green and shipping Mike Palmateer back to the Maple Leafs for cash during the 1982 offseason.
  Palmateer, once again, ended the Leafs hunt for a goalie.  Although Leafs management was unimpressed as his play, as it was hindered by the numerous injuries he had incurred and had continued to suffer.  It didn't help that Palmateer had another contract dispute with the Leafs, winning a salary arbitration case after the 1983 season.  In the 1984 training camp, Palmateer and the Leafs brass once again had disagreements over his injuries.  Palmateer believed he should have rest days after games to heal up while the team felt he should have be back at practice the next day.  With youngsters Ken Wregget and Allan Bester poised to make the jump to the NHL, the Leafs felt Palmateer and his attitude should stay home.  After going unclaimed in the NHL waiver draft, the Leafs paid Palmateer to stay home.  They did not even assign him to the minors.
  In February of 1985,  the Edmonton Oilers contacted the Leafs about acquiring PalmateerGrant Fuhr had suffered an injury and the team was looking for a veteran to back-up Andy Moog while Fuhr healed.  Although the deal never materialized, Palmateer did attend the Oilers 1985 training camp, in which he played against the Leafs in exhibition play.  He never made the team and retired after being cut.
  If he had been traded, or had made the team, perhaps he would have had a place in the OPC set.  Highly unlikely, but he does land a spot on the Lost Cards.

1985-86 OPC #276 Mike Palmateer

1985-86 OPC #276 Mike Palmateer

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC Gerard Gallant

  Gerard Gallant was one of Steve Yzerman's bodyguards during the late 80s and early 90s.  He scored 30+ goals and 200+ PIM in four straight seasons.  He set career highs with 39 goals and 93 points in 1988.  It was good enough for Gerard to be named as a NHL's 2nd Team All-Star.
  During Gerard's second season, 1985-86, Dirk Graham broke Gerard's jaw in a fight.  Gallant missed six weeks and returned to play wearing a football-style hockey helmet.  The same season, Gallant was involved in another serious injury, as he accidentally stepped on Borje Salming's face with his skate.  After the stitches, Salming look like an evil mastermind from a spy movie, feline and all.
  Gallant's career took off after he was put on a line with Steve Yzerman in 1986, which coincided with Gallant's four straight 30 goal seasons.  He was one of the top left wingers in the NHL as the 1980s came to a close.  In November of 1990, Gallant suffered a back injury.  This injury curtailed Gallant's career.  The injury resurfaced throughout the rest of Gallant's career.  His offensive production declined and he lost his spot on Yzerman's wing.
  The Red Wings did not make a contract offer to Gallant in 1993, making him a free agent.  Gallant signed with the Tampa Bay Lightening.  Back injuries continued to nag Gallant as he only scored 13 points and 74 PIM in 51 games with the Lightening in 1993-94.  The following season, Gallant only played one game in the NHL.  Gallant was determined to continue playing and returned to Detroit, this time as a member of the Detroit Vipers of the IHL.  Only 3 games into the season, Gallant re-injured his back.  This was finally enough for Gallant to retire.
  During his career, Gallant had 211 goals, 480 points and 1674 PIM in 615 career games.  He also had 9 Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, including four in 1987-88.  Although today, he is best known as a NHL coach.  In 2018 he coached the expansion team the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Finals.  He won the Jack Adams trophy as the best NHL coach in 2018.
  Gallant's rookie card was part of the 1987-88 OPC set.  Normally, I wouldn't do a Lost Rookie for a player who had a RC with the same team during their first three seasons, but the image of Gallant wearing his football-style helmet makes a good picture on cardboard.  I did a 86-87 Lost Rookie instead of a 85-86 since the fight and broken jaw happened during the 85-86 season and thus wouldn't show up until the 86-87 set.

1986-87 OPC #276 Gerard Gallant (RC)

1986-87 OPC #276 Gerard Gallant (RC)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1984-85 OPC Claude Loiselle

  Claude Loiselle was a feisty competitor who played 616 career games over 13 seasons.  He was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 23rd overall in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft.  Loiselle scored a powerplay goal in his first career game, besting Mike Liut of the St. Louis Blues on February 7th, 1982.  Claude spent the majority of his first two seasons playing in junior while sporadically playing with Red Wings.  Loiselle netted 88 points in 46 games in his last season in the juniors.
  Loiselle split the 1983-84 season between the NHL and AHL.  He also was suspended six games for slashing Bobby Clarke in the head.  Loiselle continued to bounce between the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL and the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL for the remainder of his time as a Red Wing.
  The Red Wings traded Loiselle to the New Jersey Devils in the 1986 offseason.  Loiselle stuck with the Devils and responded with a career high of 40 points.  He scored 96 points over 216 games during three seasons with the Devils.  Although this was not enough for Loiselle to get onto cardboard.  It took the junk wax boom of 1990 and a season in Quebec before Loiselle garnered a bevy of rookie cards.
  The following season at the trade deadline, the Quebec Nordiques put Loiselle on waivers, and then traded him to the Calgary Flames for a prospect.  Except, before the trade went through, multiple teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, had placed a claim on Loiselle.  Loiselle had already landed in Calgary when he learned of the NHL voiding the trade and of becoming a Maple Leaf.  This tidbit actually made the back of Loiselle's 91-92 Score card.  The prospect in the original deal, Bryan Deasley, would later be traded to the Nordiques for future considerations, but never made it to the NHL.
  The Leafs traded Claude to the New York Islanders the following season and he took part in the Islanders Cinderella play-off run, including the game seven overtime victory over the heavily favourite Pittsburgh Penguins.  Loiselle's career was cut short the next season by a knee injury suffered against the Dallas Stars.
  Since Loiselle never had a card as a New Jersey Devil, I drafted up a pair since I the 87-88 and 88-89 sets were the first two OPC sets I collected seriously as a child.  So I enjoy making cards for those sets.

1987-88 OPC Claude Loiselle

1988-89 OPC Claude Loiselle

  Although for the Loiselle's Lost Rookie, let's go back to 1984-85.  I choose this season since it would match with Loiselle's jersey number 21 in the picture.  Also the 84-85 set is classic.

1984-85 OPC #405 Claude Loiselle (RC)

1984-85 OPC #405 Claude Loiselle (RC)

  And the last footnote, several years ago I received a TTM return from Mr. Loiselle.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Lost Bossys: Baseball Edition Pt 2

  The baseballification Mike Bossy's career in cards continues.  By this time, the Islanders Dynasty was in full swing and Bossy had solidified his place as the NHL's top sniper, who is not named Gretzky.
  The 1981 card was a bit of a pain since I had to swap out a baseball cap for a hockey helmet.  The 82 and 83 were fairly simply.  I switch to making them Topps cards since the Topps logo looks a lot better than the OPC in these sets.  I always loved the 1984 set but I couldn't find the right font for the team name so I actually cut and pasted each letter off other 1984 Topps cards, but then had to get them all the same colour.  Not the way I like to do it but the best font I could find would have cost $40.  I like making these cards but I am not up for buying fonts.
  Three more to go.

1981 OPC Mike Bossy

1982 Topps Mike Bossy

1983 Topps Mike Bossy

1984 Topps Mike Bossy

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Lost Cards: 1987-88 OPC Ric Seiling

  Ric Seiling was a solid two-way forward for the Buffalo Sabres for almost a decade before playing a single season for the Detroit Red Wings.
  Seiling scored 110 points for the St. Catherines Fincups of the OHMJL in 1976-77.  The junior team was selected to represent Canada in the 1977 World Hockey Junior Championship.  This was back when the team Canada sent to the World Juniors was an actual team from the junior leagues, plus a few ringers.  The team also added several other OHMJL stars.  Team Canada won a Silver medal, after losing to the Soviet Union in their final game.  Seiling was drafted 14th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft.  The next player selected was Mike Bossy.
  Seiling made the Sabres out of training camp and scored his first career goal, a game winner, against Michel Laroque of the Montreal Canadiens in a 4-0 victory on October 30, 1977.  Seling set career highs in points, 60, in 79-80 and goals, 30, in 80-81.  He was on pace to set new career highs in goals and points during the 1981-82 season.  Through 51 games, Seiling had 22 goals and 44 points.  He was on pace for 34 goals and 68 points.  On January 30th, 1982, Seiling was hit in the left eye by Phil Russell's stick.  The injury left Seiling with limited vision in his left eye and threaten his career.  After returning from the injury, Seiling's offence dipped.  His point total decline to 41, 35, 31, 25 and then 11 in five consecutive seasons.  Seiling also began wearing a visor, becoming one of the few players to do so in 1982.
  Seiling's role on the team declined and during the 1986 training camp, he was sold to the Detroit Red Wings.  OPC was quick to catch on and gave Seiling the airbursh treatment for the 86-87 set.  I gave it a quick fix, sending him back to the Sabres, as per the 85-86 season.

1986-87 OPC Ric Seiling

  Seiling scored a career low 11 points in 74 games during his lone season with the Red Wings.  The following season, 87-88, Seiling was sent down to the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL and performed as a player-coach.  It was his last season as a professional.  His airbrush job in the 86-87 set was his final card.  I created a career capping Lost Card for Seiling, giving him an action shot.

1987-88 OPC #271 Ric Seiling

1987-88 OPC #271 Ric Seilng

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Lost Mike Bossys: Baseball Edition Pt. 1

  What if Topps/OPC used their baseball designs for hockey?  I am not sure but it does give me an excuse to make some more cards of my favourite player, Mike Bossy.  I have the first three done, but hockeyizing the 1981 Topps gave some frustration switching the baseball cap into a hockey helmet that could have a position and team name on it.  So for now, just three Bossy on baseball designs.

1978 Topps Mike Bossy

1979 Topps Mike Bossy

1980 Topps Mike Bossy

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Lost Cards: 1990-91 OPC Robert Picard

  Robert Picard  had a bright start to his NHL career but eventually settled into a second pairing defenceman.  Picard, a highly touted prospect, won the Emile Bouchard trophy in 1977 as the QMJHL best defenceman of the year.  He had 92 points and 267 PIM in 70 games.  The Washington Capitals selected him 3rd overall in the 1977 NHL Amateur draft.
  Picard grew up, and played his junior hockey in Montreal and thus was an avid fan of the Montreal Canadiens.  The Capitals were able to secure his NHL rights before the Montreal Canadiens had a chance to select Picard.  Although there was one other possibility.  The WHA was still around and kicking, and there was a chance the Quebec Nordiques could draft and sign Picard.  The WHA held its draft a week after the NHL had theirs.  The Capitals signed Picard to a contract on the same day they drafted him.  This was not enough to scare the Nordiques away, as the Nordiques drafted Picard 37th overall in the WHA draft and then also signed Picard to a contract.  Picard was now under contract to the Capitals in the NHL and the Nordiques in the WHA.
  The Nordiques offer was about $50,000 more and they also had homefield, or provincial, advantage over the Capitals.  Picard was adamant about playing in Quebec and even stated "I would rather deliver pizzas in Quebec" than play for Washington.  The contract with the Quebec Nordiques was ruled void by WHA president Howard Baldwin, based on a 1974 agreement between the leagues that the WHA would not sign players under NHL contracts.  Picard reluctantly joined the Washington Capitals in time for the 1977 training camp.  As fate would have it, the Capitals visited the Quebec Nordiques for a cross-league exhibition on October 12, 1977.  During the game, a pizza was thrown on the ice.  No word if Picard delivered the pizza off the ice.
  Picard scored 37 points in his rookie season and then followed it up with a career best 21 goals and 65 points.  The next season his totals took a slight dip to 11 goals and 54 points.  He also set a career high of 122 PIM, which is surprising since his NHL career high was less than half of his QMJHL career low in PIM, 267.  The Capitals sold high on Picard in the 1980 offseason and dealt Picard in a package deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs for goalie Mike Palmateer.  OPC caught wind of the trade and Picard got the airbrush treatment for the 80-81 set.  Since it was Picard's only card as a Leaf, I decided to give Picard a proper card as a Leaf.

1980-81 OPC Robert Picard

  Picard was selected to play in the 1981 All-Star game as the lone representative for the Leafs.  I found this very strange since the Leafs also had defencemen Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull, and neither were injured at the time of the All-Star game.  Picard had 25 points and a -32 by the all-star break compared to Salming's  58pts and +3, and Turnbull's 53pts and -7.  Why Salming or Turnbull didn't play instead is beyond me.  Picard would not return to Toronto as he was traded on the day of the All-Star game to the Montreal Canadiens for goalie Michel Laroque.
 Picard was finally a Montreal Canadien.  Unfortunately, it was not the homecoming Picard had hoped for.  The Canadiens entered the play-offs as the number three overall seed, but were swept by the coming-of-age Wayne Gretzky and Edmonton Oilers in the first round.  Picard had 72 points in 141 games over parts of four season with the Canadiens.  A month into the 1983-84 season, Picard was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets for a third round pick in the 1984 draft.  It is arguable the most important trade of the decade for the Canadiens.  They use the 3rd round pick to draft future HHOFer Patrick Roy.
  Picard played about two seasons with the Jets, scoring 12 goals in 84-85, it was his first time reaching double digits since 1980.  The following season he was dealt again, this time to the Quebec Nordiques.  The trade seemed to jump start Picard, as he collected 34pts in 48 games after the trade.  No reports of pizza this time.  He led the team in defenceman scoring even though he barely played half the season with the team.  Quebed won the Adams division but were promptly swept in the first round.  Picard spent three more full seasons with the Nordiques, scoring 28, 16, and 21 points.
  In his final season, Picard was traded mid-season once again, this time to the Detroit Red Wings.  Including his stats with Quebec, he finished the season with 0 goals and 8 assists in 44 games.  Even with the junk wax explosion of 1990, Robert Picard was absent from cardboard.  The Red Wings designated Picard to the minors at the end of training camp, instead Picard retired.
  Picard came out of junior as a top prospect who could score and fight.  Early in his career he did some scoring but never show the same truculence as he did in junior.  He had 1282 PIM in 282 games in the QMJHL, or 4.54 PIM per game.  In the NHL, he average 1.14 for his career and had a career high of 1.71 PIM per game with the Canadiens in 81-82.  It is interesting how he left that part of his game in junior and never returned to it during his career in the NHL, even after it was evident he would not be a top offensive defenceman.
  Picard's last card was part of the 1989-90 OPC set.  He never had a card as a Red Wing.  So here is the Lost Card of Robert Picard.

1990-91 OPC #529 Robert Picard
1990-91 OPC #529 Robert Picard