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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Lost Rookies: 1984-85 OPC Marty McSorley

  Marty McSorley will most likely be remember for one of three things, being Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard, an illegal stick, or his career-ending slash on Donald Brasheur.
  McSorley was passed over in the 1981 and 1982 NHL drafts, allowing him to sign a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent.  McSorley made his debut on October 8, 1983, and had his first career NHL fight against Tom Laidlaw of the New York Rangers, 3 minutes into the game.  On Januray20th 1984, McSorley scored against Steve Weeks of the New York Rangers for his first career NHL goal.  He finished the season with 2 goals, 9 points and 224 PIM in 74 games.  Marty started the 1984-85 season, the Penguins' Mario Lemieux era, with the club but was sent down after a month.  He finished the season playing 15 games, 0 points and 15 PIM.
  Marty's big break came the following offseason when he was traded as part of a package to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Gilles Meloche.  Marty joined Dave Semenko and Kevin McClelland as a Wayne Gretzky bodyguard.  On January 2nd, 1986 against the Calgary Flames, McSorley and McClelland combined for a unique Gordie Howe Hat Trick.  They both achieved Gordie Howe Hat Tricks, from the same plays.  McSorley and McClelland had an assist on the other's goal, and then both got fighting majors at the same time during a line brawl.  McSorley spent the next three seasons with the Oilers, wining Stanley Cups in 1987 and 1988.  During his time with the Oilers, McSorley was often employed as a winger.
  When Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in August of 1988, his bodyguard, McSorley was part of the package.  McSorley had his best seasons in Los Angeles.  He led the league in +/- in 1990-91 with a +48, and set career highs in goals, 15 in 89-90 and 92-93, and points, 41pts in 92-93.  McSorley had the all-time 5th highest PIM total for a single season in 1992-93, with 399.  Marty assisted on Gretzky's record setting 802nd career goal.  Unfortunately, McSorley's time with the Kings would end on a low note.  With the Kings up one game to none in the series, and also up 2-1 in the game two of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Montreal Canadiens, McSorley was penalized for using an illegal stick.  The penalty was called with less than two minutes left in the game.  Eric Desjardins scored the game tying goal on the powerplay, and then scored the winner in overtime.  The Canadiens swept the rest of series and won the Stanley Cup.
  The Kings traded McSorley in the 1993 offseason to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Shawn MacEachern.  Several months into the season, the same players returned to their teams as part of a four player trade.  McSorley played two seasons with the Kings during his second tour of duty with the team before being traded to the New York Rangers at the 1996 trade deadline.  The following offseason McSorley signed with the San Jose Sharks as a free agent.  Two seasons later, McSorley made his return to Edmonton, again as a free agent.  Marty spent a single season in Edmonton before moving on via free agency to the Boston Bruins.
  On February 21st, 2000, McSorley played his last NHL game.  McSorley and Donald Brashear were regular combatants, having fought against each other six times during their careers.  McSorley and Brashear had a fight in the 1st period of the Bruins and Vancouver Canucks games of February 21st.  McSorley attempted to start another fight with Brashear a few times during the game, but Brashear did not want to fight.  As the game was able to come to an end, a 5-2 loss for the Bruins, McSorley followed Brashear up the ice looking for a fight, as Brashear continued to skate away from McSorley, Marty slashed Brashear on the side of the head.  The slash, combined with his head hitting the ice, knocked Brashear out.  Brashear missed 20 games due to injury, while McSorley was suspended for the remainder of the season, 23 games, and play-offs.
  McSorley was also charged by the RCMP for assault with a weapon.  McSorley claimed he was trying to hit Brashear on the shoulder and not the head.  McSorley was found guily and given a 18 month conditional discharge.  After the trial, the NHL increased McSorley's suspension to a full year, ending on February 21, 2001.  It is the longest suspension for an on-ice incident in NHL history.  The suspension was honoured by the IIHF as McSorley attempted but failed to gain employment overseas in 2000. McSorley joined the Grand Rapids Griffiths of the IHL in February of 2001, and was ejected for fighting in his first game.  Marty retired at the end of the season.
  McSorley was a tough competitor and a good teammate.  He played with three franchises twice, Penguins, Oilers, Kings, showing he was welcomed back by his teams.  Although McSorley has the fourth highest total career PIM in history, 3381, he was more than just a goon.  Unfortunately, McSorley will be best remembered for his illegal stick and slash to Brashear's head.
  Marty's rookie card was part of the 1987-88 OPC set.  His next cards wouldn't be until the 1990 junk wax explosion.  I am not a big fan of the 87-88 picture used for McSorley as it is a warm-up picture, sans helmet.  Although McSorley was also know for his blonde surfer's haircut during his career.  So I did up a quick 86-87 OPC for Marty with an action shot.

1986-87 OPC Marty McSorley
  Back to the main event, McSorley's Lost Rookie.  From the 1984-85 OPC set, McSorley as a rookie during his first tour of duty with the Penguins, with a cameo by long-time NHL linesman, Kevin Collins.  Collins was a NHL Linesman from 1977 to 2004.

1984-85 OPC #402 Marty McSorley (RC)

1984-85 OPC #402 Marty McSorley


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