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Thursday, January 24, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot - North Stars and Canadiens

Minnesota North Stars

   The North Stars had made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1981.  They were the underdog in each series.  Minnesota knocked off the Bruins, Sabres, and Flames, before being losing to the New York Islanders.  The North Stars only used two goalies the entire season.

Rk           Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1       Don  Beaupre   G  19 44 18 14  11 138  3.20  0 2585
2    Gilles  Meloche   G  30 38 17 14   6 120  3.25  2 2215
         Team Total          80 35 28  17 258  3.23  2 4800

1981-82 OPC #159 Don Beaupre (RC)

  Don Beaupre was a teenage rookie in 1980-81.  He played in the 1981 All-Star game and might have made the All-Rookie Team, if it had been invented yet.  1982-83 was the first season for the All-Rookie Team.  Don would have a lengthy career, lasting 667 games. 

1981-82 OPC #165 Gilles Meloche

  Gilles Meloche came to Minnesota as part of the merger with the Cleveland Barons. With both the Barons and North Stars struggling financially, the NHL merged the two teams and a dispersal draft was held.  I guess the NHL didn't want this new Barons-North Stars franken-team to be too powerful.  Meloche was one of the 12 players protected by the North Stars.  The following season, the North Stars improved to 68 points, a 23 point increase form the previous season.  Meloche retired in 1988, falling one loss short of the NHL career loss record at that time.  Meloche had 15 OPC cards, with only five including his mask.  His first eight cards were poses or warm-up shots.

Montreal Canadiens

   1980-81 was the Canadiens second season after Ken Dryden retired.  It finished like the first one, a dominant regular sesaon but with an earlier than expected play-off exit.  Although it couldn't be blamed on the goaltending.  The Canadiens goalies won the Vezina Trophy.  It was the last time the Vezina Trophy was awarded to the goalies who played on the team with the lowest goals against.  It was also the only time three goalies who had played for the same team shared the award.  It was also the only time a goalie, Michel Larocque, shared the trophy after being traded.  The following season, the William Jennings Trophy was introduce as the award for goalies on the teams with the lowest GAA.  The Canadiens goalies won it that season as well. 

Rk            Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1    Richard  Sevigny   G  23 33 20  4   3  71  2.40  2 1777
2    Michel  Larocque   G  28 28 16  9   3  82  3.03  1 1623
3       Denis  Herron   G  28 25  6  9   6  67  3.50  1 1147
4       Rick  Wamsley   G  21  5  3  0   1   8  1.90  1  253
          Team Total          80 45 22  13 228  2.85  5 4800

1980-81 OPC #191 Richard Sevign
  For all the success the Canadiens' goalies had, OPC only gave one of them a card.  One crummy card.  Although Larocque would get a "Now With.." treatment later in the set.  Richard Sevigny would have been Beaupre's competition for the All-Rookie team.  Sevigny led the league in GAA.  Sevigny played all three games in the Canadiens first round sweep at the hand of the Edmonton Oilers.  The following season he found himself on the outside looking in as another rookie Rick Wamsley led the Habs to a William Jennings trophy and another first round exit.

Bonus Canadiens

1981-82 OPC Denis Herron

  Denis Herron only played three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.  He had two amazing seasons, with one mediocre one sandwiched between them.  Herron came to the Canadiens via trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1979.  Herron played spectacular, he was 2nd in GAA and his 25-3-3 record is one of the best single season winning percentages for a goalie who played more than 25 games.  He slumped in 1980-81 with a 3.50 GAA, but the following season in 1982-83, Herron led the league with a 2.64 GAA.  The Canadiens traded Herron back to the Pittsurgh Penguins before the 1982-83 season for a 3rd round pick.  That 3rd rounder was later involved in the largest trade ever.  A trade that saw two players and nine draft picks change hands.

1980-81 OPC Rick Wamsely (RC)
  Rick Wamsley had an excellent start to his career.  He was 3-0-1 in five games in 80-81 and in 81-82, he went 23-7-7 and finished second in the league in GAA.  Wamsley was part of the trade that sent Brett Hull from Calgary to St. Louis.  Hull would go on to be a superstar with the Blues, but Wamsley helped the Flames win a Stanley Cup in 1989.


  1. I just found this site....your cards are incredible, and I love the historical information you include!!! This is awesome, its the hockey card equivalent to http://braveandboldlost.blogspot.ca/ !! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!!!

    1. Thanks for feedback. At times I have been tempted to just throw the pictures up without any notes but part of the fun of doing the cards and the blog is learning about the players and obscure parts of NHL history.
      The comic book site is really cool. Thanks for sharing that.