Thursday, March 3, 2016

6 Must Have 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Cards

The 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee NHL hockey card set was significant for a few important reasons. It marked the first O-Pee-Chee set since the very early 1940’s. It also marked the first time players from the 1967 NHL expansion teams were featured on cardboard.
The set consists of 216 cards, 84 than the Topps sister set. The book value for a full set of 216 is $2,500 while a common card is valued at $8. Like all sports card set, this one celebrates the season before, in this case, the 1967-68 National Hockey League season.

While the whole set is important to any hockey card collector, there are six must have 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee cards. Not surprisingly, three of the six feature Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins.

Bobby Orr - 2

bobby orr boston bruins 1968-69 opc hockey card
The number 2 card is the most valuable with a book value of $350 and is the regular card of Bobby Orr. $350 is great but a far cry from the $3,000 his 1966-67 Topps rookie card is valued at but still one of the more valuable Bobby Orr hockey cards. 1967-68 was Orr’s second year in the league and, due to injury, played just 46 of Boston’s 74 regular season games. The star defenseman scored eleven goals and assisted on 20 for 31 points.

In the Stanley Cup playoffs, Orr played all of Boston’s four games as the Bruins were swept in the opening round by the Montreal Canadiens. This was significant as it was Boston’s first playoff series since 1958-59 when they fell in the opening round to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It meant that the building of a championship team had begun and in just two short years, the team would hold the Stanley Cup.


Checklist - 121

1968-69 o-pee-chee checklist hockey card
The number 121 card is a simple checklist. Yet, this hockey card is valued at $250. Checklists first appeared as part of the 1961-62 Topps set. Often, checklists from vintage hockey card set are valued high.
In some cases, they are the most valuable cards in the set. Why? The checklist was a booby prize. These unwanted cards were often thrown away without a second thought. It is due to shear scarcity that they are sought after cards decades later.

Bernie Parent - 89

bernie parent philadelphia flyers 1968-69 opc rookie card
The number 89 card is the highest valued rookie card in the 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee set. Also valued at $250, this card features goaltender Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers. Bernie’s NHL career started in 1965-66 with the Boston Bruins. Despite being the number one goalie on the team and playing in 39 of Boston’s 70 regular season games, Topps did not release a hockey card with his mug on the front.

1967-68 was Bernie’s third year in the NHL. He probably would have been part of the 1967-68 Topps set but, as mentioned, players from the six expansion teams were not included for some reason. Parent played in the NHL until the end of the 1978-79 season. In 1973-74 and 1974-75, he helped the Flyers win consecutive Stanley Cup championships. In each of those seasons, Bernie was awarded the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy. He is now a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bobby Orr - 200

bobby orr boston bruins 1968-69 opc all-star hockey card
The number 200 card shows Bobby Orr as a First Team All-Star. This card is valued at $150 and is the highest valued of the all-star cards. 1967-68 was the first of eight consecutive years that Orr was named a First Team All-Star defenseman.

The other defenseman on the First Team was Tim Horton of the Toronto Maple Leafs. None of Bobby’s Boston teammates were on the first squad but Phil Esposito was Second Team centre and Johnny Bucyk was Second Team left wing.

Bobby Orr - 214

bobby orr boston bruins norris trophy 1968-69 opc hockey card
The number 214 card is yet another belonging to Bobby Orr of the Bruins. This time, Orr is being honoured as the recipient of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. Like his all-star selections, this marked the first of eight consecutive times he would win the award.

This is the highest valued of the special trophy cards in the set. The next most valuable belongs to a teammate of Orr. Derek Sanderson is on the front of card number 213 as the Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year. Bobby Orr won the same award the year before.

Gordie Howe - 29

gordie howe detroit red wings 1968-69 opc hockey card
The number 29 card belongs to the great Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings. This card is valued at $100 and is a long, long way from the 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card that has a book value of $3,000.

In 1967-68, Howe scored 39 goals and assisted on 43 for 82 points while playing all 74 regular season games for Detroit. He placed third in the NHL for goals, behind Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks. Howe was eighth in the league for assists and third in the race for the Art Ross Trophy behind Mikita and Phil Esposito.

Gordie did this all on a Red Wings team that finished last in the six team Eastern Division and second last overall in the 12 team NHL. Detroit had the second most goals scored in the league but they also allowed more goals than any other team in the NHL in 1967-68.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3 Jack Adams Award Winners That Coached In The 1981-82 AHL

The American Hockey League in 1981-82 consisted of just eleven teams, five in the Northern Division and six in the Southern Division. Three head coaches from that AHL season went on to be Coach of the Year in the National Hockey League and were honoured with the Jack Adams Award.

Jacques Demers – Fredericton Express

jacques demers o-pee-chee hockey card
In his first two years as head coach in Fredericton, his only two in the AHL, Demers had a less than stellar season. The Express finished last overall and fifth in the Northern Division with a dismal record of 20 wins, 55 losses and five ties for 45 points over the 80 game schedule.

Just five years later, Jacques made history as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings. He won the Jack Adams Award in consecutive seasons, 1986-87 and 1987-88. He is one of just five to win the award more than once and the only man in history to win the Jack Adams in consecutive seasons.

In both years, the Red Wings reached the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1985-86, the year before Demers arrives, Detroit was pathetic. The Red Wings finished last overall in the NHL that season with just 17 wins and six ties for 40 points while losing 57 of 80 games.

In 1986-87, the Red Wings placed second in the Norris Division and reached the Stanley Cup semi-finals before bowing to the mighty Edmonton Oilers in five games. The following year, Detroit improved to first in the Norris but once again fell to the Oilers in the semi-finals.

Mike Keenan – Rochester Americans

mike keenan khl all-star hockey card
In Iron Mike’s second of three years coaching the Americans, Rochester finished second in the Southern Division and fourth overall in the AHL. The team fell to the Binghamton Whalers in the Calder Cup semi-finals, losing four games to one.

Just three years later, in 1984-85, Keenan was coaching in his first NHL season. He led the Philadelphia Flyers to a first place finish in the Patrick Division and a first place overall finish in the NHL. The team won 53 games and totalled 113 points. It was plenty enough to earn him the Jack Adams Award. It was his first of four years with the club.

The Flyers swept the Rangers in three games in the first round of the playoffs. They then beat the New York Islanders in five and the Quebec Nordiques in six to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. Like Demers, it was the Edmonton Oilers that got in the way of Keenan and the Flyers. Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers beat Philadelphia in the finals, four games to one, to capture the Stanley Cup.

Orval Tessier – New Brunswick Hawks

orval tessier boston bruins
Tessier made his only year in the AHL count. The Hawks finished first overall during the regular season. New Brunswick then plowed through the competition to capture the Calder Cup championship. In the final series, Orval’s boys took out the Binghamton Whalers in five games.

The following season, Orval Tessier was behind the bench of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The 1982-83 Blackhawks finished first in the Norris Division with 47 wins and 104 points, good for fourth overall in the NHL.

In the first round of the playoffs, Chicago beat the St. Louis Blues three games to one. In the following round, it was another quick series as the Blackhawks downed the Minnesota North Stars in five. Like Keenan and Demers, the road block for Tessier was the Edmonton Oilers. The teams met in the semi-finals with the Oilers sweeping the series.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

1979-80 O-Pee-Chee NHL: Beyond Wayne Gretzky

1979-80 o-pee-chee hockey card mike bossy new york islanders
The 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey card series is forever known as the set that includes the Wayne Gretzky rookie card. Although not the most valuable hockey card in the history of the hobby, considering when it was produced and in what great numbers, the Gretzky card, at $800, is one of the most coveted treasures among collectors.

The complete set of 396 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards is valued at around $1400. Just what cards other than the Gretzky rookie card account for the rest of the set’s value? It turns out, there is nothing enormously outstanding but still there are some important cards.

Gordie Howe

The next most valuable card in the series belongs to Gordie Howe. The 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #175 of Howe with the Hartford Whalers is the final card ever produced of ‘Mr. Hockey’. The card is valued at $30. This is a far cry from his first card that came out three decades before. The 1951-52 Parkhurst Gordie Howe rookie card is valued at $3000.

Bobby Hull

Card number 185 belonged to another NHL legend in his final season. Bobby Hull of the Winnipeg Jets is valued at $25 on cardboard. Just like the Gordie Howe rookie card, the 1958-59 Topps Bobby Hull rookie card is also valued at $3000. Interestingly, the Topps version of the 1979-80 Bobby Hull card shows him as a member of the Chicago Black Hawks. In the end, Hull split his final season in the National Hockey League with the Jets and Hartford Whalers.

Mike Bossy

Mike Bossy’s great NHL career was just blossoming in 1979-80, only to be overshadowed by the accomplishments of Gretzky. The New York Islanders sniper was featured on card number 230. The card is valued at $20. 1979-80 was the third of Bossy’s ten seasons in the NHL. His career was cut short due to injury and he left the game surpassing the 50 goal plateau in every season but his last.

Barry Melrose

1979-80 opc hockey card gordie howe hartford whalers
The next highest rated rookie card from the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee series, behind Gretzky’s, is one for the trivia books. Believe it or not, the Barry Melrose rookie card, number 386, is valued at $10, $4 more than the next most valuable rookie. Melrose had played 178 games in the World Hockey Association with the Cincinnati Stingers over the three previous seasons. He came to the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets and played a total of 300 regular season NHL games between 1979-80 and 1985-86 with the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings.