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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1985-86 OPC Hannu Kamppuri

  Hannu Kappuri  was one of the best goalies in Finland during the 1980s but his two attempts in North American were both dismal failures.
  Hannu played briefly in the WHA.  He played in two games for the Edmonton Oilers in 1978-79, the final season of the WHA. He spent the majority of that season playing in the minors, the CHL.  In his two WHA games, he played a total of 90 minutes and allowed 10 goals.  Yikes!  He was part of the Oilers NHL roster prior to the 1979-80 training camp but it appears he never made it to camp.  Instead he went back to Finland.
  Hannu helped backstop Tappara Tampere to two Finish league titles, in 1982 and 1984.  He was expected to be the starter for Team Finland in the 1984 Olympics but in October of 1983, he was told by the Olympic committee that he was ineligible.  Since Hannu played in the WHA and CHL in 1978-79, he was thus classified as a professional and not an amateur.  However just prior to the Olympics beginning, the committee announced that only the NHL would be considered for professional status.  Then later also claimed they never told Hannu he was ineligible.  Which backfired after a copy of the original letter of ineligibility was produce.  1988 was the first Olympics professionals from the NHL were allowed to compete.  Hannu never did play in the Olympics.
  Hannu took his game back to North America for the 1984-85 season.  He may have regretted doing so.  He signed on with the New Jersey Devils.  He lost his first four starts, giving up 23 goals combined.  On January 12, 1985, Kamppuri won his first NHL game and also recorded his first assist in a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals.  The assist and win were the first and last of Kamppuri's brief NHL career.  He finished the season 1-10-1, .845 and 5.11.  He returned to Finland the next season.
  Kampurri played professionally in Finland until the 1990-91 season.  He was inducted in the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998.  Obviously, his play did not inspire OPC, but his name did inspire me. I wasn't sure how to handle Kamppuri's time in Finland.  I was tempted just to list two seasons without recognizing the gap but decided to go with the Played in Finland instead.

1985-86 OPC #279 Hannu Kamppuri (RC)

1985-86 OPC #279 Hannu Kampurri (RC)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1983-84 OPC Brian Hayward

 Brian Hayward was part of the NHL's best one-two goalie punches in the late 80s.  Brian was the 1B to Patrick Roy with the Canadiens, but that wasn't enough for Brain, he wanted more.
  Hayward didn't play junior hockey, instead he played with Cornell University in the NCAA.  Like most college players, he went undrafted.  He signed as a free agent with the Winnipeg Jets in the summer of 1982.  Brian was called up in January and pushed incumbent back-up Ed Staniowski to the minors.  It took Hayward a bit longer to gain the #1 spot in the crease.
  As the Jets broke training camp in 1984, they traded away incumbent #1, Doug Soeteart to the Montreal Canadiens.  The Jets started the season with Hayward, and fellow 24 year old, Marc Behrend.  They split games early on, as Behrend was hot, but as he cooled, Hayward took over.  Hayward finished second in the league with 33 wins and was 5th in Vezina voting.  He ended the season on a personal 12 game unbeaten streak, going 10-0-2, .902, and 2.86.  It was good enough to get a headshot in the 1985-86 set.  Although, I feel the front of the card needed an upgrade.

1985-86 OPC Brian Hayward

  He followed that up with a dud.  In the 1985-86 season, Hayward went 13-28-5, .843, and 4.80.  In four seasons, Hayward's GAA went from 3.71 to 4.87 to 3.83 to 4.80.  Sensing inconsistency, the Jets traded Hayward to the Montreal Canadiens for another struggling goalie, Steve Penney.  OPC caught the trade in time to have Hayward in his Canadiens uniform and matching headband for the 86-87 set
  Hayward joined rookie sensation, Patrick Roy, in Montreal and the duo became the elite goalie pairing of the late 1980s.  They played a time share but both wanted to be number one.  The competition between them helped the duo capture three consecutive Jennings trophies.  In his first season with the Canadiens, Hayward led the NHL with a 2.82 GAA.  In his first three seasons with the Canadiens, he finished in the top five for GAA each season.  Hayward was even the Canadiens goalie in the 1987 play-offs after Roy got blown out in Quebec.  OPC had Hayward in warm-up gear for most of his OPC cards with the Canadiens, so I made a reskin for his 87-88 OPC.

1987-88 OPC Brian Haywrd

  Although the pairing worked great for the Canadiens, it was not always amical.  Hayward and Roy both wanted to be the starter.  They were also roommates.  There are stories of Hayward staying up late at night watching TV on the evenings before Roy was scheduled to start, but early to bed on the nights he was scheduled.  Implying Hayward was not above dubious tactics to get the edge on Roy.  As the season progressed, Roy continued to improve and became the main starter in the play-offs.  Roy won the Vezina in 1989 and during the 1990 season approached coach Pat Burns and made a case to be the clear  #1 starter.  Roy also petitioned and got himself a new roommate.
  Up until Feb 1st, Roy had started 29 games compared to Hayward's 25.  Roy was 16-11-2, .907 and 2.64.  Hayward was 10-10-4, .883, and 3.20.  For the rest of the season, Roy started 23 games, and Hayward 4.  Roy's play improved once was the clear #1, enough so he won his second consecutive Vezina trophy.  It was also the only season that the Hayward-Roy combo did not win the Jennings trophy.
  The time share was over and Hayward knew we he was no longer goalie 1B for the Canadiens.  Hayward.  Roy started the 1990-91 season firmly entrenched as the teams #1 goalie.  Hayward responded by going home and demanded a trade.  He claimed the Canadiens promised him a shot at playing half the games and that team had reneged.  Brian firmly believed he was #1 goalie quality and wanted the chance to show it.  It took a month into the season before Hayward was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for Jayson More.  Unfortunately for Hayward, North Star incumbent Jon Casey was not going to give up the crease so easily.  Hayward was once again on the wrong side of a 1A-1B platoon.  Even worse, Casey took over in the play-offs and led the team to a surprising Stanley Cup finals run.
  A bit of hockey oddity, the Minnesota North Stars became two teams after the 1991-92 season, the Minnesota North Stars and the San Jose Sharks.  Although only a handful of NHLers would be dispersed to San Jose.  Brian Hayward was left unprotected by the North Stars and he was selected by the Sharks in the dispersal draft.  Later that day,  the defending Campbell Conference champs North Stars, and the Sharks participated in an expansion draft.  In that draft, the Sharks selected Jayson More third overall.  An odd twist to the Hayward-More trade tree.

1992-93 Fleer Ultra Brian Hayward

  Hayward stunk in San Jose.  Part of this was due to a back injuries which cost him most of the 91-92 season and ended his career in 92-93.  Part of this was due to the Sharks stinking.  In his second season with the Sharks, and last in the NHL, Hayward posted a 2-14-1, .856 and 5.55 stat line.  His save percentage and GAA were worst in the league for goalies with 10+ games played.  He retired after the 1992-93 season.
  Hayward had a single card as a Jet.  He procured a rookie card in the 1985-86 OPC set.  Let's jump a few years ahead and give Hayward a rookie card in the 1983-84 OPC set.

1983-84 OPC #398 Brian Hayward (RC)

1983-84 OPC #398 Brian Hayward (RC)


Monday, July 20, 2020


  The Cardboard and Me is now on Facebook.  I plan on updating some older posts with more re-skinned cards or filling in more blanks on some players careers.  When I first started doing the Lost Cards, I usually did a single card or maybe two for the player.  In looking back, some players were either omitted from OPC several times, or were given fairly poor photos in their cards.  Instead of creating a new post, I am going to add existing posts.  So if you enjoy the blog, go over to Facebook and like the The Cardboard and Me facebook page.
  Also, are there any players I featured on Lost Cards, that were missing cards in their careers or got jobbed by OPC on photo quality?  List them in the comments. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1985-86 OPC Geoff Courtnall

  Geoff Courtnall entered the NHL the same season as his younger brother, Russ.  Russ Courtnall was a 1st round draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Geoff was undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins.  Geoff was the late-bloomer of the two.  Russ had more hype, but in the end, it is debatable who had the better career.
  Geoff signed with the Bruins in the 1983 offseason.  Although he had a rather uninspiring season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, he did get called up and played 4 uninspiring games with the bruins in January.  
  He started the 1984-85 season with the Bruins.  In his first game, within the first minute, he got into a fight with Ray Neufeld.  He must have determined to make an statement to the club.  He scored his first career goal on October 21st, 1984 against Marc Behrend of the Winnipeg Jets.  On January 9, 1985, the brothers played each for the first time in the NHL.  The Bruins won 5-3, and bother brothers, Russ and Geoff, each scored a goal.  Geoff was a regular on the Bruins over the next three seasons, scoring about 15 goals and 35 points each year.

1986-87 OPC Russ Courtnall
  The 1987-88 season was Geoff's breakout year.  He moved his way up through the line-up and was eventually on the 1st line with Cam Neely and Ken Linseman.  He had 58 points in 62 games when he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers, along with minor league goalie, Bill Ranford, and a 2nd round pick to the Edmonton Oilers for Andy Moog.  Courtnall struggled with the Oilers.  He had 8 points in 12 games during the regular season, including a hat trick while playing on Wayne Gretzky's line, and only 3 points in 19 play-off games.  He didn't get much time on the top lines.  The Oilers were deep on the left-wing already with Glenn Anderson, Esa Tikkanen, and Mike Krushelnyski.  On the plus, side, Geoff won a Stanley Cup with the Oilers.

1988-89 OPC Geoff Courtnall
   It was a tumultuous summer in Edmonton during 1988.  The Oilers were a success on the ice, but the team wasn't paying owner Peter Pocklington's bills.  The cash-strapped owner made the infamous Wayne Gretzky trade, which included $15 millions dollars going to Pocklington's pockets.  A few weeks before that, the Oilers made another financial decision.  Geoff Courtnall was a restricted free agent and was looking for a raise.  The Oilers and Courtnall couldn't come to an agreement, so the New York Ranger made Courtnall an offer and he accepted.  As a restricted free agent back in 1988, the Rangers would owe the Oilers compensation for signing Courtnall.  It was basically a trade.  If the Oielrs and Rangers couldn't agree to the compensation, then a NHL official would decide.  For some bizarre reason, the Oilers traded the rights to Courtnall to the Washington capitals for Greg Adams (not the good Greg Adams, the other one).  The Capitals immediately matched the Rangers offer.  The Rangers filed a dispute with the NHL and then took the NHL to arbitration.  They lost both cases.
  Courtnall responded with a career season with the Capitals in 1988-89.  He scored 42 goals and 80 points.  It impressed Topps so much that they decided Geoff deserved to be a 2nd Team All-Star.  In reality, he had finished 4th in voting.  Geoff was finally rewarded with a rookie card.  Although I personally find the close-up headshot of Geoff to be one of the worst cards in the set.  First off, it's a head shot.  Secondly, it's the look on Geoff's face.  Lastly, it's the centering of the picture and the amount of dark space.  So while I was already doing Geoff Courtnall Cards, I decided to update his 89-90 rookie card as well.

1989-90 OPC Geoff Courtnall
   Geoff had a pair of good years while with the Capitals. 
  (After posting, I was enlightened to an incident that should be mentioned.  Courtnall's departure out of Washington was hastened by the Georgetown Limousine Scandal.  Three Capitals players, including Courtnall, were accused of rape by a 17 year old woman.  The District Attorney decline to lay charges in the incident but it made the front page in Washington.  Courtnall expressed disdain with the way he was treated by the press during the investigations.  He requested a trade out of Washington.)
  In the summer of 1990, the Capitals traded Courtnall to the St. Louis Blues for Peter Zezel and Mike Lalor.  Courtnall rode side-saddle to the Hull and Oates show in St. Louis.  He was traded at the 1991 trade deadline, along with three other Blues, to the Vancouver Canucks.  The trade would be considered one of best trades in Canucks history.
  It took a few season, but the Canucks made a run for the Stanley Cup in 1994.  The Canucks had six players they had acquired from the Blues in trades on their roster.  They also had Greg Adams, the good one.  Courtnall had four good seasons with the Canucks, including a pair of 70 point seasons.  In April of 1995, the Canucks traded for Geoff,s brother, Russ.  A few months later Geoff left the team as a free agent.
  Geoff returned to the St. Louis Blues for the 95-96 season.  During the 1997-98 season, Geoff suffered an eventual career ending concussion.  He missed four months during that season but returned for the play-offs.  After playing 6 games in 1999-00, Geoff retired due to post-concussion syndrome.
  Geoff eventually moved back to Victoria and now works in real estate and investing.  Geoff, and his brother Russ helped fund the Archie Courtnall Centre, a mental health facility in Victoria.  Geoff battled with alcohol after retiring. Geoff's father Archie also battled alcohol and depression.  Archie committed suicide in 1978, when Geoff was 16.  It took Geoff almost a decade to better his demons, and now he is committed to helping others.
  Courtnall never received had a rookie card until the 1989 atrocity.  Since his 83-84 season was a bust, I don't think he would have earned one until the 1985-86 season.  

1985-86 OPC #278 Geoff Courtnall (RC)

1985-86 COP #278 Geoff Courtnall (RC)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Lost Bossys: Baseball Edition Pt 3

  So awhile back I started doing the Topps/OPC baseball designs and I figure what better way to motivate myself than to feature Mike Bossy.  If you missed it, Part One is here, and Part Two is there.  Part Three took me a little longer due to two factors, one was moving, and the other was that I felt the 1987 Topps/OPC is a sacred design, reserved only for baseball.  1987 was the first baseball pack I ever opened.  So it felt weird putting a hockey player in the frame, but I did it.  And you know what, it works.  You could say the wood panelling represents the hockey stick.
  So the digital cardboard baseballification of Mike Bossy is complete.  I flipped flopped between OPC and Topps.  Some cards just look better as Topps due to the frame design, otherwise I went with OPC, or neither.  If I had to pick a favourite, I would go with either the 1983 or 1985.   Which design do you think goes best for hockey?

1985 OPC Baseball Mike Bossy

1986 OPC Baseball Mike Bossy

1987 OPC Baseball Mike Bossy

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Lost Cards: 1984-85 OPC Dale McCourt

  First off, the good news is that I pulled my computer out of storage and I hooked it up.  Which means I can work on making up more Lost Cards.  I had this one already 75% done before the move so it was a quick one to finish.
  Dale McCourt was a highly touted teenager.  He was the CHL player of the year in 1977.  The Detroit Red Wings selected him first overall in the 1977 Amateur draft.. He finished his rookie season with 72 points in 1977-78 and finished 4th in Calder voting for top rookie.  The Calder was won by Mike Bossy that season.  McCourt led the Red Wings into the play-offs and the team beat the Atlanta Flames in the first round before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Montreal Canadiens.  It was a big turnaround for the Red Wings, but they felt like they were missing a key piece.
  That key piece was a goaltender.  In the 1978 offseason, the Red Wings sign restricted free agent Rogie Vachon.  Free agency was quite a bit different back in the 1970 than it is today, it basically did not exist.  A NHL team held your rights until they decided they didn't want you anymore.  At the time Rogie was 32 years old and a 13 year NHL veteran.  So when the Red Wings signed Vachon, they owed the Kings equalization.  Which meant the Wings had to send players to Los Angeles Kings as compensation for signing Vachon.  This form of free agency effectively negated the "free" in free agent.  If the teams could not come to an agreement for compensation, then each put their offer into a NHL Arbitrator and live by the arbitrator's decision.  The Red Wings offered Bill Lochead and Jim Rutherford.  The Kings asked for Dale McCourt.  Like everything else in the 1970s, the Dead Wings lost.
  Except, McCourt would not live by that decision. McCourt was fiercely loyal to the Red Wings.  McCourt refused to go to Los Angeles and filed a case that ended up with the Supreme Court in America.  The court awarded an injunction that allowed McCourt to continue to play with Detroit until the matter was decided.  The Red Wings and Vachon had a dreadful season.  McCourt basically equaled his previous season, scoring 71 points.  The debacle of compensation hung over everyone's heads for the 1978-79 season.
  The Kings even offered McCourt a $500,000 a year contract, which would have made him one of the highest paid skaters in the game.  Not to mention the chance to play with Marcel Dionne, one of the top scorers of the 1970s.  Who ironically, forced equalization a few seasons before when the Kings signed him as a free agent away from Detroit.  McCourt later claimed that he would have gone if traded, since trades are part of the game.
  Eventually the Kings and Wings came to terms with alternative compensation.  In August of 1979, the Red wings sent Andre St. Laurent, and two 1st round picks (Larry Murphy and Doug Smith) in exchange for the rights to Dale McCourt.  Officially, McCourt was a Red Wing again.
  Unfortunately, OPC/Topps didn't get the memo in time.  So sure that McCourt would be forced to play with the Kings, they airbrushed into a Kings uniform for the 1979-80 set.  Since the OPC set is released later, they had time to add in a "Now with Red Wings" to the card.  It is certainly one of those oddball cards from the 1970s.  It gives me a chance to correct that error.

1979-80 OPC Dale McCourt (Corr)
  In the end, the Vachon signing was a sign of the time for Detroit in the 1970s.  Vachon played poorly in Detroit and never felt comfortable.  And one of the 1st round picks they traded turned into a HHOF defenceman, in Larry Murphy, 8th overall.  The other draft pick, Doug Smith, was the 2nd overall pick.
  McCourt had a couple of point-per-game seasons with the Red Wings until the team attempted a shake-up in December of 1981.  McCourt, along with Mike Foligno, were sent to the Buffalo Sabres for veterans Danny Gare and Jim Schoenfield.  They lost in that trade as well.  The Red Wings were one of the worst teams in the NHL until the Yzerman era.
  McCourt never found his place with the Sabres.  While skilled offensively, he was not a fast skater and did not fit with star forward Gilbert Perrault.  He also clashed with Scotty Bowman over defensive responsibilities.  In October of 1983, after scoring four points in five games, McCourt was released by the Sabres and made a free agent.  Toronto Maple Leafs signed him, with no equalization needed.
  Things seem to click for McCourt while in Toronto.  After taking a few games to get adjusted, he had 22 points in 16 games.  Then after that, he hit a wall.  At one point, he had one point in 16 games.  After finishing the 1983-84 season with the Leafs, the former 1st overall pick left the NHL at age 27 and took his game to Europe.  He retired from professional hockey in 1991.  His last NHL card was in the 1983-84 set.  He never had a card in a Leafs uniform.
 Dale had an interesting career.  He was a highly touted player who fizzled out of the NHL at an early age.  He had several good seasons but never made the jump to stardom.  His biggest impact was challenging the NHL and refusing being awarded to the Los Angles Kings as compensation.  The court battles and uncertainty took a toll on him.  He became one of those "what if" players.

1984-85 OPC #406 Dale MCCourt
1984-85 OPC #406 Dale McCourt