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Sunday, March 31, 2013

1982-82 OPC Reboot: Caps and Jets

Washington Capitals

  For the second straight season, the Washington Capitals missed the play-offs while finishing the season within two points of the final play-off spot.  The Capitals had the last spot secured as late as April 1st, before getting passed by the Toronto Maple Leafs, with three games left in the season.  The Leafs would finish the season with 71 points; the Capitals had 70.  The Capitals would have to wait until 1983 before making their debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Rk             Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1      Mike  Palmateer   G  27 49 18 19   9 172  3.85  2 2679
2          Dave  Parro   G  23 18  4  7   2  49  3.63  1  811
3    Wayne  Stephenson   G  36 20  4  7   5  66  3.92  1 1010
4         Gary  Inness   G  31  3  0  1   2   9  3.00  0  180
5       Rollie  Boutin   G  23  2  0  2   0  11  5.50  0  120
           Team Total          80 26 36  18 307  3.84  4 4800

1981-82 OPC #351 - Mike Palmateer

  After falling two points short of a play-off birth in 1980, the Capitals traded for Mike Palmateer, sending the Toronto Maple Leafs All-Star defenceman, Robert Picard.  Ironic, that the Caps would then lose out to the Toronto Maple Leafs on the final play-off spot.  Palmateer's time in Washington would be short.  In his second season with Washington, he suffered a season ending knee injury.  It probably didn't help that the Capitals once call upon a drugged up Palmateer off a hospital gurney, just prior to knee surgery, to play a game.  The Capitals would sell Palmateer back to Toronto.  He would retire two season later. 

Bonus Capitals

1981-82 OPC Wayne Stephenson

  Wayne Stephenson had a late start on his NHL career.  He was 27 before he signed his first professional hockey contract in 1972, even then it was only a 30 day trial contract, as Stephenson had a bigger dream in mind, an Olympic Gold Medal.  Stephenson had played with the Canada National team since 1966.  He played in 3 games in the 1968 Olympics, helping the team win a Bronze medal.  He was slated to the be the #1 goalie for the 1972 Olympics, until Canada pulled out of the Olympics and World Championships.  Canada protested that it could never win a Gold as long as Russia was allowed to use "professional amateurs".  Stephenson would start his career with the St. Louis Blues before getting traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he won a Stanley Cup  in 1975, as Bernie Parent's back-up.  He would spend his final two seasons in Washington, before retiring in 1981.

1981-82 OPC Dave Parro (RC)

    With injuries to starters Mike Palmateer and Wayne Stephenson, Dave Parro was made his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals.  His first career start was against the Edmonton Oilers, although the Caps lost, Parro took consolation in stopping Wayne Gretzky on breakway.  In his fourth career start, he earned his first career shutout versus the Los Angeles Kings.  Parro took over starting goalie duties in 1981-82 after Mike Palmateer re-injured his knee.  Although it was not to last, as another rookie goalie, Al Jensen, would upstage Parro in the later stages of the season.  Then during the offseason, the Capitals would trade for another goalie, Pat Riggin. Parro would be the odd man out, playing in only 6 games in 1982-83 and playing a single minute in 1983-84. 

1981-82 OPC Gary Inness

  From the 1976-77 season to the 1982-83 season, a different goalie led the Washington Capitals in games played.  During the 1978-79 season, it was Gary Inness who led the team with 37 games played.  The Capitals signed Gary Inness in December of 1978, after the Indianapolis Pacers of the WHA folded 25 games into their season.  Inness went 14-14-8, becoming the first Washington Capitals goalie to have a .500 or better record, with more than 1 decision.  This did not inspire any faith in him by the Capitals, as they traded for Wayne Stephenson before the start of the following season.  Inness would spend the majority of his time in the AHL the following two seasons before retiring in 1981.

1981-82 OPC Rollie Boutin (RC)

   Rollie Boutin had a strong 1980-81 campaign, in the AHL.  He led the AHL in wins, shutouts and was a Second Team All-Star.  His brief time in the NHL was not as strong.  Rollie failed to build on his 79-80 season, where he went 7-7-1, 3.50 with the Capitals.  He only played two games with the big team in 80-81 and allowed 11 goals in his two starts.  Boutin would bounce around the minors for a few more season before retiring in 1984.

Winnipeg Jets

   The Winnipeg Jets won the Avco Cup, the WHA's championship, in back-to-back seasons in 1978 and 1979.  They struggled in their first season in the NHL, in thier second season, they down right awful. They scored the least goals and allowed the most goals in the NHL.  They won their first game of the season on October 17th.  They didn't win another game until December 23rd, setting a NHL record with a 30 game winless streak.  They were a bad team.

Rk                Player Pos Age GP W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1        Markus Mattsson   G  23 31 3 21   4 128  4.50  1 1707
2           Pierre Hamel   G  28 29 3 20   4 128  4.73  0 1623
3            Michel Dion   G  26 14 3  6   3  61  4.83  0  757
4    Lindsay Middlebrook   G  25 14 0  9   3  65  5.97  0  653
5            Ron Loustel   G  18  1 0  1   0  10 10.00  0   60
              Team Total         80 9 57  14 392  4.90  1 4800

1981-82 OPC #365 Pierre Hamel

  Pierre Hamel was selected by the Jets from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the expansion draft.  Hamel had played in 5 games with the Leafs since 1974.  Hamel would last two seasons with the Jets before returning to the minor leagues to finish his career.

1981-82 OPC #374 Markus Mattsson

    When the Winnipeg Jets merged into the NHL from the WHA in 1979, they lost a lot of key players.  Most of its players had their NHL rights already owned by another team.  The Jets were allowed claim up to two skaters and two goalies as priority selections, if the NHL who held thier rights tried to claim them.  The Islanders, who drafted Mattsson in the 5th round of the 1977 amateur draft, attempted to claim Mattsson, but the Jets denied the Islander's claim on Mattsson by labeling him as a priority selection.  After playing two seasons for the Jets, Mattsson would spend the entire 1981-82 season in the minors before signing as a free agent with the Minnesota North Stars in the following offseason.  Mattson was the Winnipeg Jet goalie to record a shutout in the NHL.

Bonus Jets

1981-82 OPC Michel Dion

    Michel Dion's season actually improved after being sold to the Winnipeg Jets in February of 1981.  While he was a Nordique, Dion was 0-8-3, 5.32 GAA in 12 games.  As a Jet, Dion was 3-6-3, 4.83 GAA in 14 games.  The three wins tied him for the team lead in that category.  He would leave the Jets via free agency to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He had his best season of his career the following year and played in the 1982 all-star game.  This is Dion's second card in the reboot, as I gave him an update card as a Penguin.

1981-82 OPC Lindsay Middlebrook (RC)

  Lindsay Middlebrook had a lot of success in the minors, winning a Turner Cup and twice being named to the 1st or 2nd All-Star team, but in the NHL, he had very little success.  Middlebrook was picked by the Jets in the 1979 expansion draft after the New York Rangers left him unprotected.  In two seasons with the Jets, Middlebrook went 2-17-3, 5.11 GAA.  He would later have stops with the Minnesota North Stars, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers.  It was with the Edmonton Oilers he had his most success, going 1-0-0, 3.00 GAA.

1981-82 OPC Ron Loustel (RC)

  One game, ten goals against.  That is the NHL career of Ron Loustel.  On March 27th, 1981, Loustel, recently called up from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, got the call to start in net against the Vancouver Canucks.  For whatever reason, coach Mike Smith left Loustel inbetween the pipes for the entire 60 minutes and 10 goals.  To Loustel's credit, the Jets defence was atrocious that net, allowing Vancouver to get 51 shots on net including 20 in the final period.   Loustel would return to the junior leagues the following season.  He only play one more professional game.  He allowed 3 goals in 33 minutes with the Fort Wayne Comet of the IHL.
  It'd be interesting to see why the Jets started Loustel and then kept him in for all ten goals.  The previous game was on March 22nd, so the team had five days to decide on who to start.  Loustel was born in Winnipeg, so that might have contributed to the decision to start him at a home game, but why leave him out to dry? 


  1. Nice cards - despite a fairly intensive search I have never seen a picture of Michel Dion in a Jets unform until now.

    1. It took me a while as well. I was able to get it off an old ebay listing. The listing claimed it was the only picture ever taken of Dion as a Jet. Too bad the quality couldn't be better.

  2. I find it strange that dion wore the old-style mask with the nordiques and the helmet-cage combo with the jets, only to switch back to the old-style mask with the penguins