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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

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Lost Page: 85-86 OPC

  I have reached a minor milestone in the Lost Cards.  I have my first full sheet of cards from a single set.  As a set collector, I have many binders full of nine pocket plastic sheets, so that's why the number 9 is a milestone.


  Here's a much higher quality view of the cards, sans plastic protector.



  You might notice the three cards in the middle have watermarks on.  A few years ago I switched computers but never properly backed up all my files.  So I lost about a year or so worth of files, which included many customer cards.  I redid the Butch Goring, since I will eventually print it off for my one star, one sheet personal project, but I haven't had the urge to redo the others I lost.


  For those of you checking them off at home, want to check out a card in more detail, or want to read a bit about the player featured, here are the original posts
  Time for me to solicit some feedback.  If you could add only one card above to the original set, which card would you select, and why?  Is there a player missing from the 85-86 set that you can make a strong case for including?  I might be inclined to add him.  

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lost Cards: 1988-89 OPC Behn Wilson

 Behn Wilson was a highly touted prospect for the 1978 NHL Entry draft.  Wilson was a skilled and rugged defenceman who had already proven his readiness with a 12 game stint in the minor professional league, the IHL.  He was exactly the type of player the Philadelphia Flyers, aka The Broad Street Bullies coveted.  The Flyers, who already owned the 7th overall pick via trade, on the eve of the draft, traded three players, including All-Star defenceman Tom Bladon, for the 6th overall pick with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Flyers used the 6th overall pick on Wilson.
  Wilson made the team out of training camp, led all rookie defencemen with 49 points, and finished fourth in Calder voting for the 1978-79 season.  Behn led the Flyers defencemen in scoring in three out of his first four seasons.  Behn also earned a reputation as a feared fighter, even highly regarded by Islanders enforcer Clark Gillies.  In fives seasons a Flyer, Wilson garnered 873 PIM in 339 games.  During Wilson's tenure as a Flyer, he was known for three things, a feared fighter, end-to-end rushes and defensive gaffes.  The 1983-84 season saw Wilson slide down the depth chart of the Flyers.  Prior to the season, the Flyers added international star Miroslav Dvorak and future HHOFer Mark Howe.  Wilson was unusually un-pugilistic in his final season as Flyer, setting a career low of one fight and career low of 93 PIM.  His season a was also marred by a six game suspension received for high-sticking New York Rangers goalie Glen Hanlon. Wilson had also been hobbled by a groin injury that sidelined him in each of the past two seasons.  Considering all this, the Flyers found Wilson to be expendable.  O-Pee-Chee would also follow suit.
  Wilson was traded to the Chicago Black Hawks during the 1983 offseason for defenceman Doug Crossman and a second round pick (Scott Mellanby).  A fantastic trade on the Flyer's end.  As for the Hawks, Wilson would not live up to expectations.  The Hawks even experimented with playing Wilson as a winger.  After two middling seasons, 65 points in 135 games, Wilson had a bounce-back campaign, scoring 51 points in 69, including a career high 10 powerplay goals in 1985-86.  The Hawks won the Norris division and had a first round match-up with the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Hawks got swept in three games.  In game two, Wilson was caught up in a collision and suffered a devastating back injury.  He would miss the entire 1986-87 season due to back spasms.

1984-85 OPC Behn Wilson
1985-86 OPC Behn Wilson

  Wilson would return to the Hawks for the 87-88 season and score 29 points, 166 PIM, in 59 games.  Due to a contract dispute, Wilson held out during the Hawks training camp the following season.  When the Hawks suspended him, he announced he would retire.  As such, the Hawks left Wilson unprotected in the waiver draft and he was picked up by the Vancouver Canucks.  Wilson stuck to his decision to retire rather than report to the Canucks.
  Wilson had a card for each season he was a Flyer, up until he was traded to the Black Hawks.  He never had a card produced as a Hawk.  So you may have already perused the 84-85 and 85-86 OPC I created, behold below the 1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson career capper Lost Card.

1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson


1988-89 OPC #268 Behn Wilson