a img { display:none; } a:hover img { display:block; } -->

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lost Cards: 1988-89 OPC Pat Riggin

  Pat Riggin was a Baby Bull.  In 1978 the Birmingham Bulls of the WHA in desperate need for players, and players on the cheap, signed six junior age players to their roster.  It was the final season of the WHA and the Bulls were not one of the teams to merge into the NHL.  The six junior players they signed would all be available in the NHL Entry draft, since no team held their rights.
  Riggin was the first goalie drafted in the 1979 NHL Entry draft, at 33rd overall to the Atlanta Flames.  Riggin played 25 games in his rookie season and also racked up a pair of shutouts, while playing behind Dan Bouchard (Lost Cards).  It was Riggin's only season in Atlanta, but not his final as a Flame.  The Flames struggled in the standings and financially, and the franchise was sold for a then record $16 million in 1980.  The new owners moved the team to Calgary and OPC responded by with a dreadful airbrush treatment of the entire team, colouring over the Flames logo on each card.  Riggin never got a card in the 80-81 set, so below is a card of Riggin as an Atlanta Flame.

1980-81 OPC Pat Riggin

  It did not take long for Riggin to takeover as the #1 goalie in Calgary.  He played 42 games in 1980-81 and helped the team make the Stanley Cup semi-finals.  He received a rookie card in the 198-82 set and although his card did not need it, he was part of my 1981-82 Goalie Reboot project. The following season Riggin played in 54 games, but the team was swept in three games in the first round of the play-offs by the Vancouver Canucks.  On draft day 1982, the Flames made a pair of deals to improve their crease.  They acquired two time All-Star Don Edwards (and previous Lost Card recipient) from the Sabres, and also traded Riggin to the Washington Capitals.
  The Capitals were going through a changeover themselves.  Riggin joined the team as the franchise began to focus on defence.  It paid off for Riggin as he led the league in GAA, 2.67, and shutouts, 4, in the 1983-84 season and also shared the William J Jennings trophy with creasemate Al Jensen.  Riggin was a Second Team All-Star and finished third in Vezina voting.  The following season, Riggin finished second in the league in GAA, 2.98.  With the exception of injuries, Riggin and Jensen were goalies 1A and 1B for the Capitals.  Riggin did end up on the short end of the cards, as Jensen was featured in the 1983-84 set but Riggin was left out.  Here's a 83-84 of Riggin for the Riggin fans.

1983-84 OPC Pat Riggin

  Although the Capitals played well and climbed the standings each season, they could not beat the New York Islanders in the play-offs.  They lost to the Islanders in three straight seasons, winning only 4 of the 14 playoffs games played between 1983 and 1985.  After bowing out in the 1985 play-offs, Riggin joined Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships, where he helped the team win a Silver medal.  In his first game, they defeated the U.S.A. and Riggin made some comments that were regarded anti-American.  In particular, he said he was "sick and tired of Americans coming to the NHL and taking our jobs."  Not the wisest of rants for a goalie playing in America's national capital and on a team that rostered the most American players in the league, including team captain, and two-time Norris winner, Rod Langway.  Riggin acknowledged the controversy in pre-season and stated "I am going to have to get off to an excellent start to get the fans behind me again."  Riggin did not get off to an excellent start.  In 7 games, he went 2-3-1, with a 3.75 GAA and a .826 save percent.  He was traded to the Boston Bruins for Pete Peeters.  OPC was not to press yet and Riggin got a "Now With..." card in the 1985-86 set.  His last card during his career.
  Riggin had a decent season in Boston but his stats fell a bit after leaving the defensive-centric Capitals.  Although he was the main starter throughout the year, he was benched in favour of rookie Bill Ranford after a game one loss in the play-offs.  The following season, Riggin found himself as the odd man out as the Bruins went with Ranford and Doug Keans (a previous Lost Rookie) between the pipes.  Somehow OPC must have seen the writing on the wall as Keans got a card in the 1986-87 set, but Riggin did not.  So in my quest to be the favourite blog of Pat Riggin fans, here's right to that wrong.

1986-87 OPC Pat Riggin

  As mentioned, Riggin found himself as the odd man out in Boston, and soon found himself out of Boston.  After being sent to the AHL, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in February of 1987 for goalie Roberto Romano.  Riggin played two seasons with the Penguins, posting respectable numbers, considering he played with the Penguins in the 80s.  Over two seasons, Riggin played 39 games, was 15-14-7 and had a 3.65 GAA.   Riggin was never able to takeover as the #1 goalie and was sent down to the AHL in Januray of 1988.  Riggin never returned to the NHL and retired at the end of the season.
  I have read that Riggin burned too many bridges while playing in the NHL, but the anti-american comment is only bridge I can find burned.  He was one of the top goalies in the mid-80s but put up average numbers outside Washington.  Riggin became a race horse trainer after retiring.  I previously had a TTM success with Riggin.  And now I present a Lost Card of Pat Riggin, a 1988-89 OPC.
  Hold on a sec.  I just noticed something about the stick.  Riggin uses a Wally goalie stick for the majority of his career, which you can see in the pictures above.  While he was in Pittsburgh, there are pictures of him using the Wally, but also pictures of the Louisville.  Also, the Penguins jersey made a minor change for the 1987-88 season, which was changing the collar on home jersey from black to gold.  You can compare the slight difference to this picture.  So based on the stick and jersey, I know I can find an actual picture from his final NHL season and thus best suited for the 88-89 card, although I would have preferred a higher res picture.  The original picture I was using, with Riggin in the black away photo, just looks older.  As well, the helmet looks different in the pictures, but the helmet used in his 87-88 OPC looks the same as the picture of Riggin in a home jersey with the black collar.  Although I could just ignore the difference and still used the older picture on the 1988-89 design.  OPC themselves often used, or reused, older pictures.
  So after a bit of editing, I made yet another Pat Riggin Card.  So including the 1981-82 reboot card, that's six I have done for Riggin.  I think I deserve an honorary spot in the Pat Riggin fan club by now.   So here's a 87-88 OPC and then the lost card of the 1988-89 OPC.  Do You think I made the right call in switching the pictures?

1987-88 OPC Pat Riggin

1988-89 OPC #271 Pat Riggin

1988-89 OPC #271 Pat Riggin

1 comment: