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Sunday, January 27, 2013

TTM Success: Enrico Ciccone

  Enrico Ciccone  made his NHL living with his hands.  He led the NHL in PIM in the last lockout-shortened  season of 1994-95, with 225 PIM.  A fan favourite, Ciccone would play for seven teams in his career, with two stops in Tampa and Washington.  Ciccone now works as a hockey analyst in Quebec.  I love the inscription on the Dallas card, "Keep Punching!"  

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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

TTM Success: Evander Kane

  Evander Kane had an eventful 18 months.  With the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, Kane went from being a tiny fish in a big ocean, to a large fish in a small pond.  From hockey being buried in the sports pages to being on the front page. While Kane set career highs in almost every category that matters, such as goals, 30, and points, 57,  he made several headlines for the wrong reasons.  First there was the accusation of Kane skipping out on restaurant bills.  Then during the lock-out Kane tweeted a picture of him with stacks of cash, which rubbed some fans the wrong way.  Kane tried to stay in shape by playing the KHL, but he was cut after earning as many suspensions, one, as points scored in 12 games.  Hopefully, now that play has resumed in Winnipeg, Kane can get things focused back to his play on the ice.  He has the talent to be the star of the franchise.  Kane signed 2 of 2 and kept a copy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick custom. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Whalers and Kings

Hartford Whalers

  The Avco Cup winning Whalers of the WHA were a distant memory for the Hartford Whalers teams of the earlier 1980s.  The 1979-80 Hartford Whalers had four future Hall of Famers on its roster.  Unfortunately, three of them were well past their prime.  Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull would retire after the season.  Dave Keon would play a few more season before calling it a career.  The fourth HHOFee was Mark Howe, who still holds single season records for most goals, 24, assists, 56, and points, 80, in a season by a Whaler/Hurricane defenceman.  Records he set in the franchises first NHL season.

Rk         Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1    John  Garrett   G  29 54 15 27  12 241  4.59  0 3152
2     Mike  Veisor   G  28 29  6 13   6 118  4.46  1 1588
3     Ken  Holland   G  25  1  0  1   0   7  7.00  0   60
       Team Total         80 21 41  18 366  4.58  1 4800

1981-82 OPC #134 Greg Millen
  If you looked at the Whalers goalies above, you may have notice that Greg Millen was not listed as one of them.  Millen was signed as free agent on June 1st of 1981.  He signed in time for OPC to give him a airbrushed card.  So I decided that since he did start the season with the Whalers, that I'd put him in a Whalers card.  The Whalers, who finished 2nd last in GAA, were so desperate for a goalie they signed Greg Millen, who tied for the league lead in losses with....

1981-82 OPC #137 John Garrett
  John Garrett and Greg Millen shared the league led with 27 losses each in 1979-80.  Like Millen, Garrett would go on to be better known as a sportscaster than a goalie.  Garrett got some pretty poor treatment early in his career, especially in his WHA days, but he had some really solid looking OPC cards, especially once he was with the Vancouver Canucks.  His 1981-82 OPC is one of the few in the set that comes close to an action shot for the goalie.  The reboot is not an action shot, but has him with a much cooler mask and I like the colours on it.  Narrow win for the reboot.

Bonus Whalers

1981-82 OPC Mike Veisor

  If you have reading all the reboots, you'd know that Tony Esposito played in 83% of the Black Hawks games from 1972 to 1981.  Who was the man stuck behind Tony O?  For the most part, it was Mike Veisor.  Veisor only played in 52 NHL games from 1973 to 1979.  Veisor would get three NHL cards, none of them had him in full equipment.  He also never had a Whalers card.

1981-82 OPC Ken Holland
  Ken Holland played a single game for the Hartford Whalers.  One thing I find different about the NHL in the 80s, they weren't against letting their young goalies getting thrashed.  Holland played all 60 minutes of a 7-3 loss against the New York Rangers.  Ken is one of five goalies to have only played a single game in the 1980-81 season.  Out of the five goalies, four of them allowed 7 or more goalies and played the entire game.  Holland is best known for being one of the architects of the Red Wings recent success.  In recent I mean the past twenty years.

Los Angeles Kings

  The Los Angeles Kings of the late 1970s was a team that had potential but was never able to get to the next level.  In the 1980-81 season, it appeared the team was at the cusp once again.  The Kings had 99 points and finished 4th overall in the NHL.  The Triple Crown Line, Dionne, Simmer and Taylor, each scored 100 points.  Hopes were high for the play-offs.  Unfortunately, the Kings would fall flat, losing the opening series in four games, 3-1, to the New York Rangers.  It was the fourth straight season the Kings lost in the opening round.  In the off-season, head coach Bob Berry would leave for greener pastures and become the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens.  Berry would guide the Canadiens to the play-offs the next two seasons, each time losing in the first round.  The Kings would end the 1981-82 season with one of the greatest upsets in hockey history.

Rk           Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1     Mario  Lessard   G  26 64 35 18  11 203  3.25  2 3746
2    Jim  Rutherford   G  31  3  3  0   0  10  3.33  0  180
3       Ron  Grahame   G  30  6  3  2   1  28  4.67  0  360
4        Doug  Keans   G  23  9  2  3   1  37  4.89  0  454
5       Paul  Pageau   G  21  1  0  1   0   8  8.00  0   60
         Team Total          80 43 24  13 286  3.57  2 4800
1981-82 OPC #146 Mario Lessard

  Mario Lessard had a short career.  He spent his entire six season career with the LA Kings.  1980-81 was his best season.  He led the NHL in wins and was a second team All-star.  Lessard would get three OPC cards, all with mask on.  Strangely, OPC did not make a Lessard card for 1980-81 set, in fact no Kings goals were included in that set.  Lessard card is one of the few action shots in the 1981-82 set.  I'll give the win to the original

Bonus Kings

1981-82 OPC Doug Keans (RC)
  Doug Keans is best remembered for being a Boston Bruin.  Keans spent parts of four season with Kings before being picked up on waivers by the Bruins.  Keans was a back-up for Bruins for five seasons.  While he played well, he was never able to get the starting job.  He backed-up Pete Peeters, Pat Riggin, Bill Ranford and Reggie Lemelin. 

1981-82 OPC Jim Rutherford

  The Kings was Jim Rutherford's third team in 1981-82.  He also played with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.  Rutherford's time playing with the LA Kings would be short.  He would play in a total of eleven games with the Kings before moving on.  Rutherford had eight cards with OPC, none of them had him in full equipment.  He had three head shots, two full body studio poses, and three warm-up skate cards.  Today, Rutherford is best known as the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes, a post he has held since 1994.

1981-82 OPC Paul Pageau (RC)
  When I originally learned about Paul Pageau, I read he holds the record for most goals against by a goalie who only played one NHL game.  I can't remember where I read that but it is false.  The goalie who holds that dubious record will be featured on a later card.  I could not find a picture of Paul Pageau in a Kings uniform.  I had the option of doing a head shot card but the picture wasn't in that good of resolution and I thought the picture I used was much more interesting.  I could also use it to pay homage to the "Now With X" cards OPC used to produce.  I did consider doing a paint job on Pageau's unifrom but decided it was too much work and sacrilegious to colour over a Team Canada jersey.  The picture is from the 1980 Olympics.  Pageau's NHL career would last exactly one sixty minute game, in which he allowed eight goals.  The Kings allowed eight goals three times in the 1980-81 season.  Does anyone know which game Pageau played in?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TTM Success: David Harlock

  David Harlock was a member of Team Canada in the 1991 World Junior Hockey Championship.  Team Canada won the Gold with a thrilling victory over the USSR.  It took a long time for Harlock to find a regular spot in the NHL.  Before the 1998-99 NHL season Harlock had appeared in 14 career NHL games spread over five years.  In 98-99 Harlock would be a regular for the New York Islanders, scoring both of his career goals wgile playing for New York.   In the offseason, Harlock would be selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the expansion draft.  He would play 128 games with Atlanta before spending the rest of his career in the AHL.  Harlock did not have a great NHL career, but we was an important part of a great team and Canadian hockey moment during the 1992 WJHC.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Wings and Oilers

Detroit Red Wings

  The Detroit Red Wings were still mired in the Dead Wings era, but change was a-comin.  Mike Illitch would buy the team in 1982 and Steve Yzerman would be drafted in 1983.  It would still take several more season before the Red Wings would become perennial Cup contenders, as they are known as today. The Red Wings used five goalies in the 1980-81 season.  The two main goalies, Gilles Gilbert and Larry Lozinski both got cards in the OPC set.  Jim Rutherford would be traded in midseason.  Al Jensen, who played only one career game with the Red Wings, would go to win William Jennings trophy with the Washington Capitals.  I couldn't find a picture of Al Jensen in a Red Wings uniform.  Claude Legris played four career NHL games, all with Detroit.  There are no cards or usable pictures for Claude Legris as a Detroit Red Wing.

Rk           Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1    Gilles  Gilbert   G  31 48 11 24   9 175  4.01  0 2618
2    Larry  Lozinski   G  22 30  6 11   7 105  4.32  0 1459
3    Jim  Rutherford   G  31 10  2  6   2  43  4.30  0  600
4         Al  Jensen   G  22  1  0  1   0   7  7.00  0   60
5     Claude  Legris   G  24  3  0  1   0   4  3.81  0   63
         Team Total         80 19 43  18 334  4.17  0 4800

1981-82 OPC #88 Gilles Gilbert

  Gilles Gilbert is another poster boy for OPC's pathetic goalie pictures.  His first three cards are studio poses and his next 7 cards are all pre-game.  That would make OPC 0-for-10 with Gilles Gilbert.  The stars on Gilles Gilbert mask is up for debate.  It is told that Gilbert said it represents shutouts.  Gilbert had 21 career NHL shutouts, but the mask has well over 21 stars.  From the best I can count, and as others have counted, there are 34 stars on the mask.  The mystery continues.

1981-82 OPC #99 Larry Lozinski (RC)

  The "Big Lozinksi", okay, not really.  He was 5-11 and 175lbs.  Lozinksi was coming off a solid year with the Kalamazoo Wings in the IHL.  He helped the Wings win their second straight Turner Cup in 1979-80.  His NHL career only lasted a single season.  He would play three more seasons in the Red Wings farm system before retiring.

Red Wings Update

There are no bonus Red Wings since I could not find any usable picture for Jensen or Legris, but if OPC had put out an update set, these two may have been included.

1981-82 OPC Update Bob Sauve

  I already talked about Bob Sauve when I posted the Buffalo Sabres reboot.  Notice the patch on his jersey.  The patch is celebrating 50 years of Family Ownership by the Norris family.  It's funny since they sold the team in the following off season.

1981-82 OPC Update Corrado Micalef (RC)

  Corrado Micalef would play parts of five seasons with the Red Wings.  He got two OPC regular cards, both are lame.  Although he did get a half-decent Highlight card in the 1983-84 set.  I didn't realize until after wards, that I had used the same picture.  I cropped it a bit different but it's still the same.  One thing I find odd is the patch on his shoulder.  Is that not the same patch on Bob Sauve above? And how big is Corrado's forehead?  Dude must have a huge brain.

Edmonton Oilers

  By 1981, the Edmonton Oilers were not yet a powerhouse, but they had served notice.  They only had 74 points in the regular season but a 6 game unbeaten streak vaulted them into the play-offs.  Then the Oilers swept the Montreal Canadiens, who finished 29 points ahead of them in the standings.  The Oilers would lose to the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the New York Islanders.  The names were starting to build on the Oilers offence; Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, and Anderson.  While between the pipes, the 1980-81 season would be a list of who's that? With the exception of a late season call-up.

Rk          Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1        Eddie  Mio   G  27 43 16 15   9 155  3.89  0 2393
2     Gary  Edwards   G  33 15  5  3   4  44  3.62  0  729
3          Ron  Low   G  30 24  5 13   3  93  4.43  0 1260
4        Andy  Moog   G  20  7  3  3   0  20  3.83  0  313
5    Pete  LoPresti   G  26  2  0  1   0   8  4.57  0  105
        Team Total         80 29 35  16 320  4.00  0 4800

1981-82 OPC #119 Eddie Mio

  While many look at the Edmonton Oilers and Indianapolis Racers trade as the Gretzky trade, I am sure there is someone out there who thinks of it as the Mio trade.  Not sure why they would think that way but Eddie Mio was one of three players the Oilers acquired that day in exchange for $700,000.  Mio was the Oilers #1 goalie for their first two seasons in the NHL.  Aftewards, he made stops with the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings before retiring in 1986.  Mio had 5 OPC cards, with only two of him in full gear.  His 1982-83 OPC is one of the better goalie cards in the set.

1981-82 OPC #120 Andy Moog (RC)

  When you talk about goalie cards from the 1981-82 OPC set, this is the card that come to mind.  Moog was a beneficiary of late season injuries to incumbents Mio and Low.  Moog got into seven games in the regular season before being the starter in the play-offs.  While Moog was tremendous in the series against the Canadiens, 6 GA in 3GP, he couldn't hold off the Islanders attack, 26 GA in 6 games  Moog was expected to compete for the starting job the following season, but another surprise rookie took the job.  This is a close call between the original and the reboot.  When I think about 1981-82 OPC, I think about Moog's rookie card.  Rare win for the original.

Bonus Oilers

1981-82 OPC Gary Edwards

  Gary Edwards was a back-up goalie almost his entire career.  He spent the majority of his time in the NHL backing-up Rogie Vachon while playing for the Los Angeles Kings during the 1970s.  Gary had eight OPC cards and not a single card has him wearing his mask.  Even worse, in each of his first five cards, you can barely see any goalie equipment.  His blocker barely makes the crop in two of his cards. He had a pretty funky mask during his last few season with the Kings. 

1981-82 OPC Ron Low

  Ron Low wasn't around when the Edmonton Oilers starting winning Stanley Cups, but he was around when the Oilers won Cups in 1987, 1988 and 1990.  Low was traded from the Oilers in 1983, prior to the Oilers first Stanley Cup appearance.  He would play a few seasons on some horrendous New Jersey Devils teams before retiring and moving into coaching.  He won three Stanley Cups as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers and was head coach from 1995 to 1999.

1981-82 OPC Pete LoPresti

  Pete LoPresti played two NHL games for the Edmonton Oilers.  I debated about making him a card, since this was the only usable picture I found and then figured why not.  It is an improvement on his 1981-82 OPC card since he never had one.  (Update:  I found a low quality picture of Lopresti in uniform, so I included that card.  Then I decided just to keep both on the blog)  LoPresti played five seasons for the Minnesota North Stars.  In the 1977-78 season, the North Stars finished last in the NHL and LoPresti led the league in losses, with 35.  In the off-season, the North Stars would merge with the Cleveland Barons.  LoPresti found himself as the odd man out as the Baron's tandem of Gilles Meloche and Garry Edwards took over the crease.

Oilers Update

1981-82 OPC Update Grant Fuhr (RC)

  The rookie that came out on top of the Oiler's training camp battle in 1982 was not Andy Moog, but Grant Fuhr.  Fuhr stepped straight out of juniors and was a Vezina trophy runner-up in his rookie season.  Fuhr would have a RC in the 1982-83 OPC set.  Fuhr wore a variety of masks, and helmets, early in his career.

Friday, January 11, 2013

TTM Success: Wes Walz

  Wes Walz had to leave the NHL to become a more complete player.  Walz played 169 games with four franchises over parts of six NHL seasons.  Unable to find a full time role in the NHL as a playmaker, Walz left to play in Switzerland.  After 3+ seasons in Europe, Walz returned to the NHL to play for the expansion Minnesota Wild.  He played a key role in Minnesota on the penalty kill.  He score a franchise record 7 shorthanded goals in 2000-01 and is also the franchise career leader in SHG with 14.  Walz was a finalist for the Frank Selke trophy, as top defensive foward in 2003. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Hawks and Rockies

Chicago Black Hawks

  The Black Hawks only used two goalies during the 1980-81 season.  Bannerman would eventaully ease Esposito out of the role of starter, a position he held with the Black Hawks since 1969.  Both goalies made the 81-82 OPC set.

Rk             Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1       Tony  Esposito   G  37 66 29 23  14 246  3.75  0 3935
2    Murray  Bannerman   G  23 15  2 10   2  62  4.30  0  865
           Team Total          80 31 33  16 308  3.85  0 4800

1981-82 OPC #54 Tony Esposito

  In an era of having a 1A and a 1B netminding tandem, Esposito had a monopoly on the Black Hawks net.  He finished in the top 3 in goalie games played in the NHL for 9 consecutive seasons, including leading the league four times.  From the 1972-73 to the 1980-81 season, Tony O played in 83% of the Black Hawks regular season games.  There's a bit more action going on in the original card, but I like the colours in the reboot.  Narrow win for the reboot.

1981-82 OPC #67 Murray Bannerman (RC)

  This is exactly the type of card that needed a reboot.  I like this reboot so much that I will even call this one a remastered edition.  Bannerman had one of the best masks of all-time.  It's a farce that OPC put out three cards of Bannerman before showing off the mask in the 1984-85 set.  Bannerman would have 6 OPC cards and only two have his mask on display.  This is a banner card for the reboot, man.

Colorado Rockies

  Like the Colorado Rockies pitchers of the 1990s, Colorado Rockies goalies of the 1980s were getting lit up.  The season was so bad for the Rockies goalies that all three goalies that started the season with the franchise, would never play again in the NHL after the season was over.  The team would finished the season, and start the next, with two goalies acquire via mid-season trades, Phil Myre and Glenn "Chico" Resch.  The gaggle of Rockies goalies finished the season with a 4.21 GAA, which wasn't even close to being the worst.  In fact, they were only the 5th worst.  Long live the 80s.
  Bonus question; Name the last team to have a team GAA of 4.21 or above.  Hint:  One of the players from that team scored his 1000th point last season.

Rk         Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1        Al  Smith   G  35 37  9 18   4 151  4.75  0 1909
2    Hardy  Astrom   G  29 30  6 15   6 103  3.76  0 1642
3       Phil  Myre   G  32 10  3  6   1  33  3.41  0  580
4    Jari  Kaarela   G  22  5  2  2   0  22  6.00  0  220
5     Glenn  Resch   G  32  8  2  4   2  28  3.74  0  449
       Team Total         80 22 45  13 337  4.21  0 4800

1981-82 OPC #80 Glen "Chico" Resch

 Poor Chico.  Chico had been splitting time with Billy Smith of the New York Islander since 1974.  He had finished in the top 10 in GAA in every season he qualified.  The Islanders, after years of coming up short, had finally won the Stanley Cup.  With the Islanders poised for another Cup run, life was good for Chico.  Then came March 10th, 1981.  Chico was traded to the Colorado Rockies.  His career stats before March 10, 1981, Chico was 157-69-47, 25 SO, 2.55 GAA and a .661 win percentage.  After March 10th, 1981, Chico was 74-155-35, 1 SO, 4.15 and a .357 win percentage.  Poor Chico.
  Although his OPC cards would get better after the trade.  For his seven cards with the Islander, zero had him with his mask on.  The 81-82 OPC is a bit of a painted monstrosity, but including it, four of his final six cards has him masked.  The 85-86 OPC is actually a really nice shot. 

Bonus Rockies

1981-82 OPC Hardy Astrom

   The man who got Don Cherry fired, or so says Don Cherry.  Dear Don, if he was the worst goalie you ever seen, why did you start him for 49 games in 1979-80?  Supposedly, Hardy Astrom is the root cause of Don Cherry tirades against Swedes.  Hardy had a single OPC card made of him.  It was from the 1980-81 set.

1981-82 OPC Phil Myre

   Like Chico, Phil Myre was an in-season acquisition.  In 1970-71, Myre had a winning record, 13-11-4 with the Montreal Canadiens.  He would not have a winning record in a single season until 1979-80, after being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.  He would go 18-7-15.  Like Chico Resch, he was the back-up goalie for the game Bob Nystrom won the Stanley Cup for the New York Islanders in overtime of game six. While Resch celebrated, Myre lamented.  Less than a season, later, they would be creasemates in Colorado.  For OPC cards, Phil Myre is the picture boy for shit pictures.  He had eight OPC cards, and not a single card has him in his full equipment.
  He also had a really cool blog.  Unfortunately, he's not allowed to update anymore since he became a scout for the Montreal Canadiens. 

1981-82 OPC Al Smith

   The man who was getting the bulk of the starts before the Rockies made trades for Myre and Resch, was Al Smith.  Smith  played more games in the WHA than in the NHL, and had a lot more success in the rival league as well.  It was hard to find a decent picture of Al Smith with the Rockies.  He only played a single season with them.  Al Smith has some real lowlites when comes to OPC NHL cards.  He looks like a trainer in the 1971-72 set.  In the 1976-77 set, he just totally creeps me out.  Is that a mullet or a comb over?  Seriously, would you want your daughter bringing that home?

    Wings and Oilers are next in the Reboot.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Sabres and Flames

Buffalo Sabres

 The Sabres would be one of three teams to only use two goalies during the entire season.  The Sabres had a good reason.  They finished 3rd in the league for fewest goals against and both goalies finished in the top five for best GAA.  In the previous season, 79-80, the pair combined to win the Vezina Trophy.  At that time the Vezina trophy was given out to eligible goalies, 25+ games played, on the team with the lowest goals against.  Both Sabres goalies would get a card in the 81-82 set.

Rk        Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1    Don  Edwards   G  25 45 23 10  12 133 2.96  3 2700
2      Bob  Sauve   G  25 35 16 10   9 111 3.17  2 2100
      Team Total         80 39 20  21 244 3.05  5 4800
1981-82 OPC #21 Don Edwards

 Don Edwards would have nine OPC cards and he beat the odds.  Only four cards had him without his helmet.  Even his rookie card has him in full gear and a semi-action shot...  I guess.  The reboot is a clear winner here.

1981-82 OPC #23 Bob Sauve

 Other than the picture, there is an obvious difference.  In the 81-82 OPC set, Sauve is given the Red Wings treatment, while in mine, he is still a Sabre.  Sauve started the season as a Buffalo Sabre.  He was traded to the Detroit Red Wings on December 2nd, 1981 for a conditional draft pick.  His Topps card has him as a Sabre, but since OPC is released later in the season, they made Sauve a Red Wings card.  So what did the Sabres get as the conditional draft pick?  Bob Sauve....  huh?
  I give the reboot the win.  I am not a fan of cards where the uniforms don't match the card.  Also, I give my card a +1 for featuring a Buffalo Sabre in a white uniform.

Calgary Flames

    The 81-82 set was the first opportunity for the Calgary Flames to get into the cards.  They had moved from Atlanta before the 80-81 season had started.  In response to the move, OPC made some tremendously ugly cards, paining over the Atlanta Flames logo on the jerseys and mainly using head shots.  On a side note, the Flames had another one of the oddest team sets.  The 1983-84 OPC set has all the Flames wearing Molson sponsored practice jerseys.
  The Flames entered the season with three goalies.  They kept Pat Riggin and Reggie Lemelin , who both had thier rookie cards in the 1981-82 set, but traded away the last remaining original Atlanta Flame to another Canadian team.  He'll make an appearance later in the set.

Rk           Player Pos  Age GP  W  L T/O  GA   GAA SO  MIN
1        Pat  Riggin   G  21 42 21 16   4 154  3.83  0 2411
2    Reggie  Lemelin   G  26 29 14  6   7  88  3.24  2 1629
3      Dan  Bouchard   G  30 14  4  5   3  51  4.03  0  760
         Team Total         80 39 27  14 293  3.66  2 4800

1981-82 OPC #37 Pat Riggin (RC)

    1981-82 is Pat Riggin's rookie card and only card as a Flame.  His 25 games played in 79-80 wasn't enough to crack the 80-81 set.  In two season with the Calgary Flames, Riggin would play Riggin would be traded to Washington after the 81-82 season and would get the airbrush treatment by OPC.  He would win a William Jennings trophy with the Capitals in 1984.  I think my rebbot edition might be the inferior card.  True, it is an action shot, but it's a low resolution.  The original card, while not an action shot, is one of the few that has the goalie in full equipment.  I am giving the original OPC version a narrow win in this match up.

1981-82 OPC #44 Reggie Lemelin (RC)

  Continuing the theme of goalies who won a trophy by being on the team with the lowest goals against that season, I present a reboot of Reggie Lemelin's rookie card.  Lemelin's teams made the Stanley Cup finals three times; losing each time.  Lemelin would win his William Jennings in 1990 as a Boston Bruin.  His creasemate from that season will have his rookie card rebooted in a later post.
  The reboot is back on a winning side.  Clear win on this one.  Lemelin is in action and in a home white uniform.  That is how it should be done.  Compare that to Lemelin doing a warm-up skate looking at...  what is he looking at?  Did they even have the kiss cam back in 1981?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Intro and Bruins

  I made an earlier post where I lamented about the poor picture selection by OPC in the early 1980s sets.  In the 1981-82 set, there are 33 goalies.  Of those 33, 22 are not even wearing a mask.  The set is full of the dreaded warm-up skate picture.  The early 80s was a interesting time for the goalie mask.  There was a brief few years when you could find goalies with the old full face mask, a helmet and cage, and also the early masks and cage, which 99% of goalies use today.  It's a shame that OPC never made an effort to capture this era on cardboard.  So I set a goal; to update all 33 cards with better pictures.
  In the end, it was harder than I expected.  For some goalies it was very difficult to find an upgraded picture that was a high quality.  Some goalies in the set are obscure and only have a few, or even one picture, in existence of them in the corresponding teams uniform.  I also tried to avoid using pictures that come from another OPC card and, if possible, pictures used by the guy selling homemade cards on eBay.  There are a few cards that I had to either pick a low-res picture, or no picture at all.  There's one card, if I choose to post it, will be black and white.  That's the reason why I call this a Reboot and not Remastered.

Boston Bruins

Rk         Player Pos Age GP  W  L  T  GA   GAA SO  MIN  GPS
1    Rogie  Vachon   G  35 53 25 19  6 168  3.34  1 3021  9.9
2       Jim  Craig   G  23 23  9  7  6  78  3.68  0 1272  3.6
3     Marco  Baron   G  21 10  3  4  1  24  2.84  0  507  2.0
       Team Total         80 37 30 13 270  3.38  1 4800 15.4
The Bruins only had one goalie make it into the 81-82 set.

1981-82 OPC #10 Rogie Vachon
  Rogie Vachon had 16 OPC base cards, not including subsets, made of him during his career.  Every single one, other than 1976-77, has him unmasked, either in a pose or a warm-up shot.  He had a much cooler Bruins mask than in the card I made but I couldn't get a decent picture of it.  I give my card the win in this reboot.

 Bonus Bruins

1981-82 OPC Jim Craig
  Jim Craig only had one card made of him during his NHL career.  It was a 80-81 head shot that included the top of a airbrushed Bruins jersey.  After his 1980 Miracle performance, Craig played four games with the Atlanta Flames before being traded to the Bruins for a 2nd round pick and 3rd round draft picks.  The player the Flames picked in the 3rd round would win 2 Stanley Cups and a Conn Smthye during his career.  Craig only played 23 games with the Bruins, all in the 1980-81 season.

1981-82 OPC Marco Baron
  Marco Baron never had a rookie card.  I covered Baron's career extensively in an earlier post.

  That's one team down, 20 to go.   

TTM Success: Guy Hebert

  Guy Hebert is best known as a goalie for the Mighty Ducks of Anahiem.  He played 441 of of his 491 career games with the Ducks.  In fact he was in net for the Mighty Duck's inaugural game, a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.  He would be Anahiem's #1 goalie until the 2000-01 season.  The emergence of J.S Giguere made Hebert expendable and Hebert was eventually picked up on waivers by the New York Rangers.  He retired at the end of that season..  I sent Guy 3 cards to sign and also included 2 cards for him to keep.  I believe he signed two out of the three I sent to be signed and also signed both of the ones I sent for him to keep.  I can't remember which card he kept.  I think it was a 1994 Donruss.  The return took 309 days.

  The next two are the ones I think I told him he could keep.  Since he returned them signed, they provide an excellent example of what type of cards you should not send to get signed.  The signature is really difficult to find on both cards.  Both cards have a lot of dark colours.  Ideally the card you send should have a light area about 1/3rd of the way up the card.  Most players will sign about a third of the way up the card and in blue or black marker.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lost Rookies: Marco Baron

  Marco Baron played in 86 career NHL teams over the span of six seasons and three franchises.  He would never have a rookie card.  Baron, drafted by the Boston Bruins 99th overall in the 1979 NHL draft, played his first career game on January 10th, 1980.  With incumbent starters Gerry Cheevers out with a knee injury and Gilles Gilbert out with the flu, and the St. Louis Blues coming to town, the Bruins had to choose between two rookie netminders without a minute of NHL experience between them.  The Bruins started Jim Stewart.  After twenty minutes of play, nine shots against and 5 goals against, Jim Stewart took a seat on the bench and Marco Baron went between the pipes.  Baron had better success that Stewart, in that game and also in his career.  Baron would stop 11 of 13 shots, the Bruins would lose 7-4.  Jim Stewart would never play another NHL game.
  Baron wouldn't play another game for the Bruins until the following season. In the offseason, Gary Cheevers retired and Gilles Gilbert was traded for Rogie Vachon, but Baron had some stiff competition for the back-up job; Jim Craig.  The same Jim Craig who had backstopped the USA Olympic team to the Miracle on Ice victory over the USSR and a Gold medal.  The Bruins had traded a 2nd round pick to the Atlanta Flames for the Olympic hero.  The Bruins plan was to send Craig down to the minors to work on his technique, but Craig refused and it was Baron who was sent to the minors.  Baron would finally return to the NHL in Feburary of 1981.  With Craig struggling, and still refusing to go to the minors, the Bruins carried three goalies for the rest of the season.  Baron would get his first start, a 4-3 loss to the Quebec Nordiques on February 8th and would get his first victory on February 20th, a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.  Baron played in 10 games that season, but that wasn't enough to get a OPC rookie card.  Below is how Marco Baron's RC could have looked. 

1981-82 OPC Lost Rookie Marco Baron

  Thanks to Baron's promising play in the previous season, and Jim Craig suffering an off-season injury, Baron started the season with the Bruins.  Within a month, Baron was playing a key role with the team.  On November 1st, 1981, Baron came within one second of his first career shutout.  Leading 4-0, Rick Meagher, of the Hartford Whalers, scored to break-up the shutout bid at 19:59 of the third period.  Baron would lose a a few more shutout bids in the third period before finally sealing the deal on Febraury 20th, 1982, on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers.  It would be his only career shutout.  While it had appeared that Baron had solidified the starting job for himself, as the 1981-82 season came to a close, Bruins coach Gary Cheevers looked to shake up his team.  He benched Marco Baron and Rogie Vachon, in favour of rookie Mike Moffat, who I covered in an earlier post.  Moffat would start and win the final two games of the season and would start every game for the Bruins in the play-offs, with Vachon as the back-up.
   There would change in the Bruins nets again for the 1982-83 season.  With Rogie Vachon announcing his retirement, Baron and Moffat would battle for the back-up job, since neither of them could touch the starting job.  Still not confident in thier goalies, the Bruins made an off-season trade for Pete Peeters.  Peeters would dominate and have one of the the best seasons by a goalie in the 1980s.  He would set a NHL record by going 31 games without a loss.  While Peeters would finish the season with 40 wins, 2.36 GAA and 2nd place in the Hart Trophy voting, Baron would only play 9 games
  The 1983-84 season would see Baron on the move.  Late in the previous season, the Bruins had plucked Doug Keans off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.  Keans was able to jump over both Baron and Moffat in the depth chart.  Baron would play the majority of the season with the Moncton Alpines in the AHL before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in January of 1984.  Baron would play in the majority of the remaining games for the Kings.  He did not shine in LA, in fact none of the Kings goalies shined that season.  The Kings used five different goalies that season, with Baron sharing the lead for best GAA at 4.31.  There is a lack of Marco Baron pictures in a Los Angeles Kings uniform.  The only one I could find is low on the megapixels and then I couldn't find a coloured headshot of Baron in any uniform.  Below is the best I could come up with.

84-85 OPC Marco Baron

  None of the five goalies who played for the Kings in the 83-84 season would wear a Kings uniform again.  The Kings brought in two new goalies, Bob Janecyk and Darren Eliott, and Baron was without a NHL team.  In January of 1985, an unemployed Marco Baron got a call from the Oilers, the Nova Scotia Oilers that is.  Within the month, he got another call, this time it was the Edmonton Oilers.  Grant Fuhr had injured his shoulder and Baron got the call to be Andy Moog's back-up.  On March 2nd, 1985, in a game against the LA Kings, Marco Baron would come in for an injured Andy Moog.  Down 3-1, the Oilers would mount a comeback but a goal by Phil Sykes would give Los Angeles a 5-4 win and it'd be Baron's last NHL game. 
  Baron would take his game overseas and play in Switzerland, playing once season with Ambri Piotta before retiring.  He would remain in Switzerland and stayed involved with hockey. He coached for several seasons and helped raise the bar for goaltending in Switzerland.
  Baron seemed to be overlooked for the next hot thing each of his first few season.  First it was Olympic hero Jim Craig, and then the 1982 World Junior Hockey Championship hero Mike Moffat.  What would have Baron's career turned out if the Bruins had stuck with him?  Could he have gotten that elusive rookie card?

Did you know?
Rick Meagher's goal against Baron to spoil the shutout at 19:59 of the third period was his sixth of the season.  1981-82 was a career year for Meagher.  he would set career highs with 23 goals and 42 points
Marco Baron's first NHL shutout was over shadowed by the Edmonton Oiler's 7-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.  Wayne Gretzky had a goal and four assists.  The goal was his 76th of the season, temporarily tying him with Phil Esposito for the single single record.