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Monday, December 31, 2012

TTM: Pierre Sevigny

  With the World Juniors in full swing, let's post a return from '91 WJC grad, Pierre Sevigny.  Pierre was a fan favourite from the 1992 Team Canada squad.  A gritty player who could put the puck in the net and the man through the boards.  He made the QMJHL All-star team three years in a row, and in the 89/90 season he finished 9th in league scoring while also receiving 207 PIM.  At the 1991 WJC, Pierre scored 6 points in 7 games, including a goal in the pivotal Canada vs USSR match-up.  While he enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the minor leagues, he was never able to secure a permanent roster spot with a NHL team.  In 4 seasons, he scored 9 points in 78 games.  He would retire from professional hockey in 2008.  Pierre started planning for life after hockey early.  Even before he played a NHL game, he owned, and still owns, a Tim Horton franchise in Quebec City.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Lost Cards: Jiri Crha

  O-Pee-Chees sets of the early 80s are known for their poor pictures, especially of the goalies.  In the 1981-82 OPC set, there are 32 goalie cards.  Out of the 32, there are 22 on which the goalie is not even wearing his mask/helmet.  Check out Jiri Crha's rookie card below.

#315 - Jiri Crha
  Crha was a 29 year old rookie when he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs near the end of the 1979-80 season.  He had spent his previous seasons in Czechoslovakia.  The Maple Leafs had actually won a bidding war for Crha's services.  Chra spent the majority of his first season, learning the North American style of hockey, in the AHL and also as a third goalie for the Maple Leafs.  On February 16, 1980, Crha, sporting one of the ugliest masks ever, makes his NHL debut, coming in for the injured Curt Ridley.  Crha would play well the rest of the season and would be the #1 goalie for the Leafs for the 1980-81 season.  While Crha was the Leafs best goalie in the regular season, he bottomed out in the play-offs.  The Leafs would be swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the New York Islanders.  The series wasn't even close.  The Leafs lost 9-2, 5-1 and 6-1.  Crha would never play again for the Leafs.  He would only play 3 more games in North America before going overseas to play in Germany.  He is sometimes mentioned by Leaf fans as one of the worst goalies who ever played for the Leafs.  I think it based more on bitterness that reality.  There were some high hopes for Crha, (think Jonas Gustavsson) but instead he was basically one and done.
  When I came across Crha, I thought he had a really cool mask, his second mask that is.  I thought it was a great injustice that he had such a bland hockey card.  So I set out to change that.

1981-82 OPC Jiri Crha - Remastered

  In the end, I made two alternate versions.  I love the picture on the left.  The colours pop and his mask is on full display, but in terms of pixels, it's a low quality picture.  The card on the right has a much better quantity, in terms of pixels.  The mask is on display, but it's not as exciting as the first card I made.  Which card do you prefer? 

2014 Update since for some reason I was looking up Crha again
First goal scored against Crha was scored by Jordy Douglas.  Gordie Howe got an assist.
Ex-teammate David Shand calls Crha as the worst goalie on the planet.
Nobody can find the game Shand is refering to

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lost Rookies: Frank Caprice - with Q&A

  Frank Caprice played 102 NHL games over six NHL seasons, all with the Vancouver Canucks.  Caprice spent the majority of his career as a back-up, battling incumbent "King" Richard Broduer and injuries during his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks.  While Frank was never able to secure the starting job to himself, he still had a remarkable career and some great achievements.
  Prior to the 1982 World Junior Hockey Championship, Canada had never won a gold medal in that tournament, but Team Canada, led by the goaltending duo of Mike Moffat and Frank Caprice, secured the nation's first ever World Junior Hockey Gold Medal.  Frank was 3-0 with only 7 goals allowed in his starts.  Going into the tournament an underdog, not even expected to medal, Team Canada rolled over the competition, going 6-0-1 in seven games.  It was the first year of Canada's Program of Excellence and it paid immediate dividends. 
  Frank Caprice would also be a underdog in his first career start in the NHL, versus the Edmonton Oilers, shown live on Hockey Night in Canada.  The 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers, who would set a NHL record by scoring 446 goals that season, could only put two pucks past Frank Caprice.  The Canucks would win 3-2 and Caprice would earn the First Star of the Game.  Later in the same season, he would earn his first career shutout in a 5-0 victory against the Hartford Whalers.

     While Caprice would battle Richard Brodeur for starts, he would battle John Garrett for a spot in the OPC card sets.  John Garrett would win out in the 84-85 OPC Set, with one of the better looking cards in the set, and also in 1985-86, with one of the worst looking cards in the set.  Seriously, Garrett went 1-5 with a 6.49 GAA in the season before and then retired to boot.  Although 1988-89 OPC was a low point for Vancouver Canuck goalies, as no Canuck goalies made the set that season.
  The Cauncks would trade Caprice to the Boston Bruins at the 1989 NHL Entry draft.  After one more season, Frank would retire from hockey.  But only for a few seasons, before restarting his career in Europe.  He would play several more seasons in Italy and Britain before retiring from professional hockey for good.  
  When I realized Frank Caprice never had a rookie card, I decided to make a custom rookie card of him.  Below is how Frank Caprice's rookie should have looked.
1984-85 OPC #399 - Frank Caprice

  So what did Frank Caprice think of his new rookie card?

Frank Caprice: Thank you for your kind letter and for the card, I actually don't have any cards and its great to now have one as a keep sake.

The Cardboard & Me:  You were part of the first team under Canada’s Program of Excellence to compete at the WJC.  What were the expectations for the team? 

Frank Caprice:  We did not have any expectations as it was a new program.  We all wanted to prove ourselves but did not know what to expect or what the level of competition would be,

C&M:  Today, the selection camp for the WJC team is heavily covered by the media.  TSN will even show the highlights of practice scrimmages on sportscenter.  What kind of media coverage was there on the team before the tournament in 1982? 

Frank Caprice:  We had almost no media coverage, in fact there is almost no footage of any of our games.  The gold medal game was played in a small arena far from the city center and I think we had just one reporter following us the entire time, including the gold medal game.

C&M:  Today, by the time players make it to the WJC, they are already familiar with a lot of the other teams through previous international experience or playing as opponents or teammates in junior.  How much did you know about your opponents leading into the tournament?

Frank Caprice:  Me personally, not one thing, just that the Russians were to be feared along with the Swedes the Czechs and the Fins.  We were very much underdogs.

C&M:  With a gold medal on the line, and the game being played in Rochester, Minnesota, (a 7 hour drive from Canada) can you describe the atmosphere in the building? 

Frank Caprice:  The games was played in a small dim lighted arena, the atmosphere was not much of a factor, not really different than any other game in fact. We were so pumped as a team and just really focused on the job at hand, the Gold medal, which was passed around the room before the game.  We all had a chance to see it and touch it, from that point on, that's all we could think of, just win or tie this game and it was ours. The Czechs were the best team we faced and it was a huge task. In the end, we won the Gold and when I look back, we had a extremely talented and great team, with a great coach. I only have very happy and wonderful memories.

C&M:  What is your strongest memory from the Gold medal game?

Frank Caprice:  The last 5 minutes the Czechs were all over us and the end when we won and all sang the national anthem because they did not even have the anthem to play over the sound system.

C&M:  Is there a game in particular from your NHL career that stands out the most, and why that game?

Frank Caprice:  My first ever game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Gretzky, Messier, Fuhr era.  We won 3 - 2 and I got first star.

C&M:  The “Flying V” jersey of the Canucks is on almost every internet list of 10 worst NHL jerseys.  Was it the worst jersey you ever had to wear in your professional career? 

Frank Caprice:  Tough question, I would say the most boring jersey was the Maine Mariners.

C&M:  You played several years overseas in Italy and Britain.  Can you compare the experience of playing in Italy as opposed to playing in the NHL.

Frank Caprice:  I loved my time in Europe, it was a wonderful experience, I have nothing but the fondest of memories. I was treated so very well in Italy. It was more about the lifestyle than it was about the game. Dont get me wrong, the people were very passionate about their teams, but it was the culture that I fell in love with.

C&M:  Did you have a favourite teammate? 

Frank Caprice:  Favorite teammate was Cam Neely, we lived together and roomed together on the road.  We became close friends.

C&M:  Who was your favourite team and player while growing up? 

Frank Caprice:  Did not have one, just loved all the goalies.

C&M:  Did you collect hockey cards?  Do you have a favourite set or card? 

Frank Caprice:  Nope never did.

C&M:  You never had a hockey card during your playing days.  Would you check each year to see if you had a card?

Frank Caprice:  Nope, the only one I had was the shell gas station card

C&M:  Do you have a favourite piece of hockey memorabilia? 

Frank Caprice:  My gold medal and my Italian all star jersey.

C&M:  Do you get many autograph requests through the mail? 

Frank Caprice:  Yes, still do, and its humbling and flattering.  I get about 5 or 6 a year

C&M:  What have you been doing since you retired from hockey? 

Frank Caprice:  I have worked with the provincial government of Ontario, for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming as a senior manager of corporate compliance, I am in my 13th year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Chirstmas!

  There's no NHL hockey, but the World Junior Championship starts tonight, or tomorrow morning, depending on where you live.  Santa's ready for some hockey.  Are you?

Monday, December 24, 2012

TTM Success: Ryane Clowe

Ryane Clowe, that's Ryane with an "e".  I didn't get a response to my first letter to Ryane.  It's possible that me spelling his name "Ryan" might have had something to do with that.  On the positive side, I got a response on my 2nd attempt.  Ryane is spending the lock out getting coaching experience with the San Fransisco Bulls of the ECHL.  He has been pretty active in responding to TTMs.  In 2012, Ryane became the third Newfoundland born player to eclipse 100 career NHL goals.  He is actually in the top 5 for each of the following categories; GP, G, A, PTS, +/- and PIM.  Clowe made some news late in the 2011-12 by being involved in a questionable play.  I love the use of the telestrator by the play-by-play guy.  That is how you do it.  Clowe signed 3 of 3 care of the San Fransico Bulls.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

TTM Success: Matt Calvert

  Matt Calvert helped me set a new record.  It's a dubious one.  A 432 day return, my longest so far. What I find most interesting is that I sent this to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the start of the 2011-12 season.  According to the postmark, he sent it from Springfield, where Columbus's AHL team plays.  I was considering resending this since I was seeing quicker returns for other senders.  I guess this one must have got misplaced.  It was a real surprise when it came back.  What made me want to send to Matt was this picture.  I just felt like it was an amazing picture.  Even cooler is that there is a reverse angle of this pic here.  I was tempted to make a double sided card.  It really does look like the pictures were taken at the exact same time.  Or maybe you want to see it in moving pictures.  He doesn't score often, but when it does, they tend to be highlight material.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TTM Success: Vincent Riendeau

  Vincent Riendeau played in 184 games over the course of a eight year career.  Riendeau's career was looking up after the 1990-91 season.  He was 29-9-6 while playing in 44 games with the St. Louis Blues.  In the play-offs he helped the Blues come back from a 3-1 deficit in the first round against the Detroit Red Wings.  In the second round, he had two bad games on the road in Minnesota and even though he allowed two goals in each of the final two games, the North Stars sent the Blues, along with 86 goal scorer Brett Hull, packing. 
  The following season, the Blues found itself with a glut of young goalies, along with Riendeau, the Blues also had Pat Jablonski, Guy Hebert and Curtis Joseph.  Jabonski and Hebert shared the James Norris Trophy the previous year, the IHL version, which is for the Lowest GAA.  Six games into the 91-92 season, Riendeau was traded to the Detroit Red Wings for Rick Zombo.  27 minutes into his first game as Red Wings, and while pitching a shutout, Riendeau suffered a knee injury that would force him to miss the next 70+ games.  Riendeau played a few more seasons as a back-up and would eventually finish his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in 1995. 
  He had a diverse career after the NHL, playing in Manitoba, Germany, Switzerland, Britan, Russia and Alaska.  As a rookie, Riendeau only played 1 game for the Montreal Canadiens.  I had to be a bit creative with making him a 88-89 OPC card.  The only decent picture of him I found in a Canadiens jersey had a plain white background.  I had to layer two pics together.  Riendeau is currently the goalies coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012-13 Panini Classics Box Break

  There are times when the buyer remorse sets in immediately after you click that Buy It Now button, and this was one of those times.  I was really drawn in by the base cards.  An odd assortment of retired superstars, stars, veterans and forgottens.  I fought off the first urge to buys a box at $180 plus s/h, but then I saw a box at $170 with free shipping, and I did dumb. 

   The fronts of the base cards didn't disappoint.  I love the design and the fonts used.  I can see myself trying to fill out a set and then getting extras for TTM.  After one box, I had the set 9% complete.  That's right, I got 18 base cards out of the box.  It did register at some point before I bought the box that I would only get a very small portion of the set but it didn't hit home until I finished opening my packs.  As for the photos, the set seems hit and miss.  In the three above, I really like the Nicholls picture.  The picture is really clear and he jumps out from the background.  On the other hand, when did Brent Sutter play?  Was it the 80s or 90s, or was it the 40s or 50s.  Seriously, a black and white photo??  Totally unacceptable for a player who wasn't Original Six.

   At first glance I like the backs of the cards.  I'll take the brief bio of the player as opposed to complete stats.  I can get season-by-season stats for any of these players on Hockey Reference.  I actually found the bios to be interesting.  Milt Schmidt's first paycheque, the runner-up to Bobby Orr for the Calder, Marty McSorley building up his credits for his IMDB page by making appearances in Bad Boys and Con Air.  No, there isn't a hyperlink on the card itself.  I wonder if IMDB paid for that ad?  The only thing I'd like to have added is the first and last year of the players career.  It' be nice to have, especially for the obscure players.  I am looking at you Bruce Shoebottom.

Dear Mr. Shoebottom.  
            Please don't punch me in the face.  I loved you in Zamboni Rodeo.

  In each pack there is a Retired Numbers Banner card.  I didn't realize they came one per pack.  They suck.  I am not even going to scan one.  "Hey, I got a banner card in this case of beer"  "Awesome!"  "Hey, I got this banner card in a $30 pack of cards"  "You're a sucker!" 

   Speaking of being a sucker, let's look at my auto haul.  Craig Hartsburg, a three time all-star, as in all-star game, not 1st or 2nd team.  Geoff Courtnall, a one-time 40 goal scorer.  Brent Sutter, one time 100 points and one all-star game.  I actually passed up on the Geoff Courtnall auto on eBay, it went unsold at 97 cents + s/h.  I have nothing against these three players, they are just not $30 a pack material.  But that must mean something good is still on its way..

  Errrr..... no.  Anton Stastny, one all star game.  Darren Pang, perhaps the worst player out of the six autos but the most famous due to his tv appearances.  John Ogrodnick, a 50 goal scorer and a 1st team All-Star in 1984-85.  (Goulet was injuried, Messier moved to center, and also got injured)  Again, a trio of players I like, but nothing that justifies paying $170 for the box.  Hell, I couldn't see myself paying $30 combined for all six autographs.  I would have preferred a Bruce Shoebottom autograph.  Although, I do think Pang has a sweet signature.

  So in the end I regret getting this box.  I wish it had 24 packs instead of 6, but kept the 6 autographs and 6, or preferably less, banner cards.  I have a feeling this set will follow the path of last year's Donruss Elite, which was originally around $120, but in a little over 6 months, is now a $60 box.  Once this hits $90, or less, I might be tempted to try my luck again.  It can't be much worse. 

  Did you know; Panini has produced more Bruce Shoebottom NHL licensed cards that all other card companies combined?    Panini 5 - Pro Set 1

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Lost Rookies: Perry Berezan

  Perry Berezan played 242 games through 6 seasons before getting a rookie card. When Berezan made it into the league, OPC had just went from a 396 card set to a 264 cards, making the set line-up harder to crack.  Even though he "scored" one of the most goals in NHL history, he still couldn't crack the OPC line-up.  Injuries, and the Flames depth, also played a role. After playing 55 games in 85-86, he only played 24 and 29 games in the following seasons.  It would take a trade to the Minnesota North Stars and the 1990 hockey card boom before Berezan would get a rookie card.  Below is what a 1985-86 Perry Berezan's rookie card might have looked like.

1985-86 OPC #265 Perry Berezan RC
1985-86 OPC #265 Perry Berezan RC Back


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sportlots Oddball Buys

  I love using Sportlots for my base card needs.  Whether for set building, TTM needs, or for finidng cards needed in various projects.  One of the drawbacks cited for this website is that shipping is calculated for each seller, as opposed to one charge, like Check Out My Cards.  So to minimize shipping and handling charges, you need to find a single seller who has enough cards to make the S/H worth your while.  Personally, I never find this to be an issue.  I usually pick a seller who has good s/h rates to Canada and a half decent amount of cards.  I start an order and it usually takes me 3-7 days to finish it filling it.  Sometimes when I start nearing the end of the order, I pick out an oddball item or two.  Here three oddball items I snagged at 27 cents each, including the S/H.

1994 Hockey Wit #91 Alexandre Daigle

   1994 Hockey Wit is a set of 108 cards.  Each card has trivia question on the back.  I never heard of this set as a kid, so I am not sure of where it was sold.  The set was made up mostly of active players, but also had a number of retired HHOFers. 

1983 Vachon - #83 Dan Daoust
  In 1983 Vachon put out a 140 card set made up exclusively of player from Canadian teams.  They came in panels of 2 cards.  In case you were wondering, Wayne Gretzky was teamed up with Alan Jere.  Don't remember Alan Jere?  For some reason, Vachon used Jere Gillis'  first and middle name, reversed them and then used it for the card.   
1984 Kellogg's Accordian Hockey Disc - Rick Kehoe
This Rick Kehoe is the first of the truly oddball items.  The other two card were both standard size.  This Kellog Accordian Disc from 1982, measures approx 2 inches in diameter.  This card originally came attached with 5 other cards.  The cards folded on top of each other in a accordian like manner and came in plastic puck.

The Largest Online Trading Card Marketplace

Baseball Football Basketball Hockey Racing

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

TTM Success: Chris Nilan

  Chris "Knuckles" Nilan  was only the second NHL player to reach 3000 PIM.  He retired with 3043 PIM, which is currently good for 9th spot all-time.  Nilan is best remembered as a Montreal Canadien, a team for which he started and ended his career with.  During his career with the Canadiens, he won a Stanley Cup, led the league in PIM twice, and is only one of six players to have ever recorded 20 goals and 300+ PIM in a single season.  Nilan scored 21 goals to go along with 358 PIM in the 84-85 season.  Today, Nilan is still fighting  While during his hockey days he would fight bullies on the ice, now he fights bullies by using his words.  Nilan tours schools spreading the message of stopping bullying. Nilan has also his own website, Knuckles Nilan.

Monday, December 10, 2012

TTM Success: Sean Burke

  Sean Burke played 820 NHL over 18 NHL seasons.  He also played in two Olympics,earning a Silver medal in 1992.  Burke bursted onto the scene in 1988.  After helping Team Canada win a Silver medal at the Olympics, Burke would create a major buzz in the NHL while playing for the New Jersey Devils.  At the time, the Devils had only made the play-offs once in the franchise's existence.  An existence that included 2 seasons as the Kansas City Scouts and six as the Colorado Rockies.  As  Wayne Gretzky once said, they are "running a Mickey-Mouse operation on the ice." But things were looking up for the New Jersey Devils in 1987-88.  They had just come off a franchise record of 64 points the season before, and they were still in the play-off race in March.  Cue Sean Burke.  Burke went 10-1-1 in 13 games for the Devils.  Burke would win his final 7 starts, including two against the Pittsburgh Penguins and one against the New York Rangers, teams they were chasing in the standings.  On April 3rd, 1988, the Rangers beat the Quebec Nordiques, forcing the Devils to either win or watch the playoffs on tv.  The Devils played the Chicago Black Hawks and the regular season ended in a dramatic fashion.  John MacLean nets the winner in over time and the Devils were going to the play-offs.  A playoff run that would bring the Devils all the way to the Stanley Cup semi-finals before being bowing out to the Boston Bruins.  While Burke would go onto a lengthy career, he never did live up to the expectation set as a rookie. 

  Mr. Burke signed 5 of 4.  He signed and returned the extra copy of the Team Canada picture.  He personalized every card, but he did it with care.  Sometimes personalizations push the actually auto off of prime real estate, but in each of these cards, they share the limelight, with the personaliztion, never overpowering the auto.  I really liked how the Ice card turned out.  I was worried it wouldn't hold the auto, but it looks killer in person.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Let's Trade Some Junk... err... I mean good stuff

  We all have a bunch of base cards laying around.  Cards that will likely never see the light of day.  Holed up in a cardboard box below the bottom shelf, just gathering dust.  I am proposing a trade.  Your under-appreciated junk for my under-appreciated junk.  I live in the Arctic, so I can't even visit my local dollar store for a cheap fix.  So perhaps you can help me.

  10-50 card lots, low-value.  A mixture of stars and commons, from the 80s, (mostly) 90s, and the 21st century.  Shipping methods and protection can be discussed. PWE or Bubble.  Top loaders, sleeves or a piece of cardboard.  I am all for keeping the s/h down on this endeavour. Themes can be suggested, but it will be mostly a mixture.   Post below if you'd be interested.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

TTM Success: Bernie Federko

  Bernie Federko was a star center with the St. Louis Blues from 1976 to 1989, before finishing his career with a final season as a Detroit Red Wing.  He is also generally known as the whiping boy for the HHOF lack of standards.  While Federko scored 1130 points in 1000 games, he was never considered a dominant player in his era, never won any post season awards and only once led the Blues past the second round of the play-offs.  In his 14 year career, he only played in the mid-season all-star game twice.  I am not sure if he was injured every year at that time but Brian Sutter or Rob Ramage would represent the Blues instead of Federko.

  So does Federko belong in the HHOF?  Many people say he is vastly underrated.  He played on a small market team who never achieved any post season success.  If you look at Federko's teammates, he never had a 1A type player.  In New York, there was Bossy-Trottier.  In Edmonton, Gretzky-Kurri.  In Montreal, Lafleur-Shutt.  In Quebec, Stastny-Goulet.  In St.Louis, Federko linemates were the like of Brian Sutter and Wayne Babych.  With Federko's help, Babych was a 50 goal scorer in 1981 and Sutter consistently put 30 goal seasons.  It wasn't until the mid 1980 when, fellow future HHOFers, Joey Mullen and Doug Gilmour proved the skill level to help Federko put together three straight 100 point seasons.  Unfortunately, both Gilmour and Mullen would suffer similar fates, being traded to the Flames, albeit in different seasons.  While the Blues didn't have any play-off success, Federko consistently found the scoresheet in the postseason.  Federko scored 101 points in 91 post season games.  Federko would eventually be traded to the Detroit Red Wings in a deal that gave the Blues Adam Oates.  Federko would play a single season in Detroit before retiring.
  What do you think?  Is Federko the poster boy for the HHOF low standards?  Or is he the poster boy for the under-rated small market superstar?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TTM Success: Garth Butcher

  Garth Butcher played 897 career NHL games in 14 seasons. A tough, stay at home defenceman, Butcher accumulated 2302 PIM in his career, good for 31st all-time. Garth was selected 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1981 draft. That winter, he helped Team Canada win its first ever Gold Medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship. After the tournament, Butcher would make his NHL debut, playing 5 regular season games and a single game in the Stanley Cup finals. Butcher would lead the Canucks in PIM for five consecutive seasons from 1984-85 to 1988-89. Butcher would spend a few seasons in St Louis before finishing his career after brief stops in Quebec and Toronto. Garth signed 4 of 4 and kept the extra copy of 1982 custom card, as offered.
  The custom was a 82-83 OPC design.  You can see the front and back of it on this post.

Monday, December 3, 2012

TTM Success: Peter Stastny

  I have covered Peter Stastny a few times before on this blog.  First time I posted his legends card from the 88-89 OPC tribute set, briefly covered his defection to Canada, and the second time was my first ttm return from Peter.  This time, let's look at the numbers.  From the 1980-81 to the 89-90 season, only Wayne Gretzky scored more points than Peter Stastny.  Stastny scored 100 points or more in his first six seasons and was the first NHL "rookie" to score 100+ points.  His 70 assists is still a record, which he now shares with Joe Juneau.  In his rookie season, Stastny set a rokie by scoring a combined 14 points in consecutive games, including a rookie record of 8, 4 goals and 4 assists, versus the Washington Capitals.  When he retired, he was tanked 11th in career points, 1239.  As of the end of the 2011-12 season, he ranks 36th all-time.  He was inducted into the HHOF in 1988.  Stastny is a strict one-per-request signer and I am passively pursuing the 2006 Parkhurst set.  This is the 26th card I have signed form the set.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Lost Rookies: Mike Moffat

    Can you name the goalie who backstopped Team Canada to it's first ever World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC) Gold medal?  If you said Mike Moffat, you are either know your hockey, or you guessed it from the title of the post. 
  Mike Moffat, a 8th round draft pick by the Boston Bruins in 1980, played his junior hockey with the Kingston Candians.  He played good enough, a 4.14 career OHL GAA which was actually good in those days, to get himself on Team Canada for the 1981 WJC.  Team Canada had never won a Gold medal in the WJC before.  With the exception of 1978, the Memorial Cup winners would represent Canada.  After a dismal 7th place finish in 1981, the Canada's Program of Excellence was created and the best under age nineteen players would represent Canada the following year and every year since.  Team Canada, not favoured to medal, exceeded all expectations.  They went 6-0-1 in the tournament, including a shocking 7-0 trouncing of the favorites, Soviet Union.  Mike Moffat recorded the shutout and he was between the pipes during the final game versus Czechoslovakia.  Team Canada, once again the underdog, needed a tie to clinch the Gold medal, while the Czechs needed a win.  Moffat would turn aside a late barrage by the Czechs to preserve a 3-3 tie and Canada's first WJC Gold medal.

  Moffat would make a splash in the NHL before the season was over.  Mike started the last two games for the Boston Bruins and was then anointed the starter for the play-offs, over incumbents Marco Baron and Rogie Vachon.  Although as shocked as anyone, Moffat played brilliantly through the first round and carried the Bruins into the second round.  Still only a teenager, the pressure started to get to Moffat as the Bruins fought the Quebec Nordiques in a grueling seven game series.  The fans and press were comparing Mike Moffat to a  young Ken Dryden.  As the series went on, Moffat allowed a few weak goals and the Bruins would eventually fall to the Nordiques in game seven, by a score of 2 to 1.  As the last few seconds ticked off the clock (and as Terry O'Reilly takes a swing at referee Andy Van Hellamond) Bruin coach, Gerry Cheevers attempted to console his young goalie.

  Mike Moffat would never again reach the level of play he had achieve in the 1981-82 season.  He would only play 17 more NHL games and by age 22, Moffat would officially retired from professional hockey.  The pressure of the Stanley Cup play-offs was too much for a 20 year old who previously had a total of 2 career professional hockey games under his belt.  Here's a quote from a Boston.com interview

“My mental game needed massive rebuilding,’’ he says. “I should have dealt
with that in the offseason, but I just kind of denied it, put my head down. I was 
fighting the demons and it was nobody’s fault but my own.’’

  I find Mike Moffat's story tragic.  A young player who is living the dream at age 20.  Winning a Gold medal for Team Canada and earning top goalie honours.  Starting and staring for the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.  Except by the time the 1982-83 season had started, Moffat was already on the downside of his career.  He was mentally worn out.  The Bruins must have had wind of this, as they traded for Pete Peeters in the offseason and to further Moffat's decline, Peeters went on to win 40 games and the Vezina  trophy.  What I also find tragic is that, based on the few interviews I have read, Moffat does not appear to cherish his time in the NHL.  In regards to the press clippings of his playing days, Moffat claims to never look at them since "“I guess it would make me cry."  I really do hope that's not the way he truly feels about his hockey days.  He just had too much pressure too soon. His career may have been totally different if had a few seasons in the AHL instead of being thrown directly into the spotlight.

  Mike Moffat never had a NHL card.  For the 1982 set, OPC went with Rogie Vachon, the Bruins #2 goalie during most of the 81-82 season, and newly acquired, and airbrushed, Pete Peeters.  Leaving rookie Mike Moffat and the teams #1 goalie Marco Baron without cards.  Coincidentally, Marco Baron never has never had a rookie card either.  So below is Mike Moffat's lost rookie card.

82-83 OPC -Lost Rookie - Mike Moffat

82-83 OPC -Lost Rookie - Mike Moffat - back