Showing posts with label bobby hull. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bobby hull. Show all posts

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.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Top Valued 1958-59 Topps NHL Hockey Cards

In the middle ages of hockey cards between 1951-52 and the NHL expansion days of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the 1958-59 Topps series stands out as one of the most desirable to vintage hockey cards collectors. The full set of 66 cards is valued as high as $4500 by Beckett Hockey. The majority of that value is provided by the Bobby Hull rookie card.

The top five cards in the 1958-59 series are all valued at $150 or more. Two of the five are rookie cards, Bobby Hull and Eddie Shack. Two are goalies and the other is a hockey legend whose combined career hockey card value is worth a small fortune.

It should be noted that the values given are 'book value' and are used as reference only. Sale prices of vintage hockey cards, as in any form of art, can change drastically, influenced by demand, condition, timing, the seller's and buyer's knowledge, etc.

Glenn Hall – Chicago Blackhawks

glenn hall chicago blackhawks

The number 13 card of goaltender Glenn Hall is fifth with a value of $150. Although he began his career in 1952-53 with the Detroit Red Wings, in 1958-59, Hall was well into a ten year stint with the Chicago Black Hawks that would make him a Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender.

Terry Sawchuk – Detroit Red Wings

terry sawchuk detroit red wings

Next up the ladder is the number 2 card of Terry Sawchuk. Sawchuk, Hall and Jacques Plante were constantly in the running for the Vezina trophy during this era. Sawchuk began his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings in 1949-50 and had returned to Detroit from a two-year stint with the Boston Bruins by the time this series came out. Like Hall (and Plante, for that matter), Terry was an automatic for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eddie Shack – New York Rangers

eddie shack new york rangers

The third most valuable card in the 1958-59 Topps set is that of the only player in the top five to not be a member of the Hall of Fame. The number 30 rookie card of Eddie Shack is valued at up to $250. Shack began his NHL career with the New York Rangers in that 1958-59 season and played with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins before retiring during the 1974-75 season. He may not officially be in the Hall, but he should be.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

gordie howe detroit red wings

If Gordie Howe’s picture is on the cardboard, it’s worth money. From his rookie card in 1951-52 (bringing the re-birth of hockey card collecting) with the Detroit Red Wings to his final card in 1979-80 as a member of the Hartford Whalers, Howe’s cards are always valuable. His 1958-59 Topps number 8 is valued at up to $500.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks

bobby hull chicago blackhawks

After the re-birth of hockey cards in 1951-52, there are three hockey cards that are valued above all others. All valued at $3000, those three cards are the rookie cards of Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and the 1958-59 Topps number 66 of Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. It was just the start of an amazing career that stayed in Chicago until 1972-73, jumped tracks to the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA and ended up with Gordie Howe and the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Top 5 NHL Goal Scorers In 1968-69

bobby hull chicago blackhawks topps hockey card
In 1968-69, Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks set a National Hockey League record that would last for just two seasons. Hull scored 58 goals, a record that would remain a NHL best until Phil Esposito shattered the mark with 76 goals two years later in 1970-71. Of course, there was no award for this feat back in 1968-69. The Rocket Richard Trophy honouring the NHL’s top goal scorer was not introduced until 1998-99.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks

Bobby Hull led the league with what was his fourth of five times during his National Hockey League career that he scored 50 or more goals in a single season. Despite his offensive efforts, the Black Hawks finished sixth and last in the East Division and did not qualify for the post season. Chicago had 77 points in 76 games, a point total that would have placed them second in the West Division.

Phil Esposito – Boston Bruins

Phil Esposito finished tied for second with 49 goals. Esposito shattered the NHL record for points in a season with 126, earning the Art Ross Trophy. Phil helped his team to a 100 point finish during the regular season, behind only the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins lost in the semi-finals but would be redeemed the following season by winning the Stanley Cup.

Frank Mahovlich – Detroit Red Wings

Frank Mahovlich of the Detroit Red Wings also finished with 49 goals. Despite Mahovlich and Gordie Howe finishing among the top five goal scorers, Detroit finished fifth in the East and did not qualify for the post season. The 49 goals was a high for Frank in a career that spanned from 1956-57 to 1973-74 and saw him score a total of 533 goals while playing for the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ken Hodge – Boston Bruins

Ken Hodge of the Bruins nearly doubled his goal production from the previous season, finishing fourth in the NHL with 45 goals. Hodge would achieve the 50 goal plateau for the only time in his career five years later with exactly 50 in 1973-74.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

At 41 years old, Gordie Howe finished fifth with 44 goals. His career high of 49 goals came back in 1952-53. Despite his 801 career regular season NHL goals, Gordie never topped the 50 goal plateau in a single season. After never having a player top the 100 point plateau before 1968-69, Howe was one of three to top 100 points, along with Esposito and Hull, with 103.

In the end, the two teams that met in the Stanley Cup final did not have a representative in the top five goal scorers. The Montreal Canadiens faced off against the St. Louis Blues and came out with a sweep. It was the second consecutive year that the two came together in the final series with St. Louis not winning a single game.

Friday, September 12, 2014

1974-75 WHA Goal Scoring Leaders

bobby hull winnipeg jets 1975-76 o-pee-chee wha
In the short-lived seven year history of the World Hockey Association, 1974-75 was one of the more significant as far as individual performances go. Bobby Hull of the Winnipeg Jets scored 77 goals, the most any player would score in a single WHA season.

Bobby Hull – Winnipeg Jets

Hull, a five time 50 goal scorer in the National Hockey League with the Chicago Blackhawks, once owned the NHL record for a short time with the 58 goals he scored in 1968-69. He played in each of the seven WHA seasons, all with the Jets. In his first four years in the league, he surpassed the 50 goal plateau. He scored 303 goals over his WHA career and 610 in the NHL. Including playoff goals, Bobby scored over 1,000 goals during his professional hockey career.

Wayne Rivers – San Diego Mariners

Wayne Rivers of the San Diego Mariners finished second with 54 goals, 23 less than Bobby Hull. This proved to be the pinnacle of his professional hockey career that lasted from 1961-62 to 1978-79. Rivers played five years in the WHA, scoring 158 goals in 357 regular season games. Between 1961-62 and 1968-69, Rivers played 108 games in the National Hockey League with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, scoring just 15 goals.

Serge Bernier – Quebec Nordiques

Serge Bernier of the Quebec Nordiques also finished the 1974-75 season with 54 goals and actually should get the tie-breaker nod over Rivers because he played two less games. Serge was in his second of six years in the WHA, all with Quebec. He made the jump back to the NHL with the Nordiques in 1979-80 but his career was over after the following season.

Bernier was the fifth overall pick at the 1967 NHL Amateur Draft, taken from the Sorel Eperviers and going to the Philadelphia Flyers. He was the only player of the first fifteen picked in that draft to play in the NHL. Before jumping to the WHA for the 1973-74 season, Serge played for the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings. In total, he played 302 regular season games in the NHL, scoring just 78 goals while appearing in 417 in the WHA and scoring 230.

Anders Hedberg – Winnipeg Jets

Anders Hedberg of the Winnipeg Jets played his first of four seasons in the World Hockey Association in 1974-75. He finished fourth with 53 goals in just 65 games. As a bit of hockey trivia, Hedberg followed Mark Howe as only the second of five recipients of the Lou Kaplan Trophy as WHA rookie of the year. Hedberg scored more than 50 and totalled more than 100 points in each of his four years in the WHA. He topped out in 1976-77 with 70 goals and 131 points while only playing 68 games.

Hedberg moved to the National Hockey League in 1978-79, a year before the demise of the WHA. He signed with the New York Rangers and played with the club until retirement after the 1984-85 season. He played a total of 286 regular season games in the WHA and scored 236 goals. In 465 NHL regular season games, his goal total was a much lower and still respectable 172.

Tom Simpson – Toronto Toros

Finishing fifth with 52 goals was Tom Simpson of the Toronto Toros. Simpson was in his third of five years in the WHA. Tom was drafted in the sixth round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft by the St. Louis Blues but chose to jump from the Oshawa Generals directly to the WHA for the inaugural 1972-73 season. Simpson began with the Ottawa Nationals and continued with the franchise as it moved to Toronto then on to Birmingham, Alabama where they became the Birmingham Bulls. He also played 15 games with the Edmonton Oilers in his final season.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1960-61 NHL Top 5 Goal Scorers

boom boom geoffrion montreal canadiens 1961-62 parkhurst
The hockey gods looked down with irony on the National Hockey League in 1960-61. Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard became the first 50 goal scorer in the NHL with 50 goals in 50 games in 1944-45. The next 50 goal scorer didn’t come until 1960-61, the first year that Richard was absent from the league after retiring. Let’s take a look at the top five goal scorers in that 1960-61 NHL season.

Bernie Geoffrion – Montreal Canadiens

Bernie ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion of the Montreal Canadiens led the NHL with 50 goals while playing in 64 of the team’s 70 regular season games. He also led the league with 95 points, earning the Art Ross Trophy. To top things off, Geoffrion was named the recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. It was a career season for Bernie, who played in the NHL from 1950-51 to 1967-68.

Frank Mahovlich – Toronto Maple Leafs

Frank Mahovlich of the Toronto Maple Leafs came a close second with 48 goals. In a National Hockey League career that lasted from 1957-58 to 1973-74, Mahovlich would have just one season with more goals, 1968-69, scoring 49 with the Detroit Red Wings.

Dickie Moore – Montreal Canadiens

Dickie Moore was a two time winner of the Art Ross Trophy in 1957-58 and 1958-59. 1960-61 was Moore’s swan song, finishing third in the NHL with 35 goals. His numbers would drop drastically over the next two years before retiring. Dickie would make two comeback attempts in 1964-65 with Toronto and 1967-68 with the St. Louis Blues but neither were lengthy or successful.

Jean Beliveau – Montreal Canadiens

Jean Beliveau was the third member of the Canadiens among the top five goal scorers. Beliveau finished with 32 goals, a far cry from his career best of 47 in 1955-56. Beliveau played his entire NHL career with the Canadiens from 1953-54 to 1970-71.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks

Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks had a lull in his NHL career in 1960-61 but still finished fifth in the league with 31 goals. The season before, he scored 39. The following season, he would become just the third NHLer to score 50. Hull would score 50 or more five times during his career with the Black Hawks, including a career high 58 in 1968-69.

With all that goal scoring power, the Canadiens finished first overall in the six team league during the regular season. Montreal finished just two points ahead of second place Toronto but scored 20 more goals. Despite finishing in third, fifteen points behind the Canadiens, the Chicago Black Hawks eliminated Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs. Chicago met the Detroit Red Wings in the finals and won the Stanley Cup in six games.


Monday, August 11, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Chicago Blackhawks Retired Numbers

chicago blackhawks nhl logo
The Chicago Blackhawks have been a fixture in the National Hockey League since the 1926-27 season. Many great hockey players have worn the red, black and white of the Blackhawks. Only a select group of these hockey legends have had their numbers taken out of circulation by the team and raised to the rafters for eternity.

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of the Chicago Blackhawks retired numbers with these four hockey trivia questions.

Q. Two goaltenders have had their numbers retired by the Chicago Blackhawks. What goalie is the number 35 retired for?

A. Tony Esposito played for Chicago from 1969-70 until 1983-84. With exception of 13 games played with the Montreal Canadiens in 1968-69, Esposito played his whole career in Chicago. Tony finished his career with 76 shutouts and a 2.92 goals against average in 886 regular season games. Esposito was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, four years after his brother Phil Esposito.

The other number retired by Chicago for a goaltender is number 1 in honour of Glenn Hall. Glenn played for Chicago from 1957-58 to 1966-67. He came to the Blackhawks from the Detroit Red Wing and ended his career with the St. Louis Blues. The three time Vezina Trophy winner was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975.

Both Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall had their numbers retired by the Blackhawks on the same day, November 20, 1988.

Q. What number is retired by the Chicago Blackhawks for two different players?

A. The number 3 is retired in honour of two defensemen, Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson. Both were long time blue liners in Chicago. Pilote was a three time winner of the Norris Memorial Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Pilote played for Chicago from 1955-56 to 1967-68, spending one last year in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1968-69. Magnuson played his entire NHL career with Chicago from 1969-70 to 1979-80. Both Pilote and Magnuson had their number retired by the Blackhawks on the same night, November 12, 2008. For Magnuson, it was posthumously, having died in 2003.

Q. The number 21 is retired by the Chicago Blackhawks in honour of what long-time great?

A. Stan Mikita holds the all-time Blackhawks career records for points and assists. He is the only NHL player to win the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy in the same year. He accomplished this in two consecutive seasons during the 1960’s.

Mikita played his entire NHL career with Chicago from 1958-59 to 1979-80. His number was retired on October 19, 1980 and he entered the Hockey Hall of Fame three years later in 1983.

Q. The Blackhawks retired number 9 for what Hockey Hall of Fame player?

A. Easy question. Bobby Hull wore number 9 for the Blackhawks from 1957 to 1972 before becoming the face of the fledgling World Hockey Association. In 1983, Bobby entered the HHOF along with long time line mate Stan Mikita. On December 18, 1983, his number was retired by Chicago.


Monday, May 26, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Stan Mikita

stan mikita chicago blackhawks topps hockey card
Stan Mikita is one of the most decorated Chicago Blackhawk to ever play in the National Hockey League. Between 1959 and 1980, Mikita was an ever-present force in a Black Hawks uniform. After all, he spent his entire NHL career with Chicago. Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of Stan Mikita with the following four trivia questions.

Q. How many times was Stan Mikita a ‘triple crown’ winner, taking home the Lady Byng, Art Ross and Hart Trophies all in the same season?

A. Mikita was a triple crown winner twice. He is the only NHL player to accomplish this and certainly the only NHL player to do it in consecutive seasons. In both 1966-67 and 1967-68, Stan won the Byng, Ross and Hart. He won the Byng in 1966-67, accumulating just 12 PIM. Just two years before, Mikita was a completely different player, sitting out 154 minutes in penalties.

In 1966-67, Stan totalled an NHL record (at the time) 97 points over 70 regular season games. He finished with 17 points more than teammate Bobby Hull, who finished in second. Hull led the league in goals with 52 while Mikita was second with 35. Stan obviously led the league with his 62 assists, 13 more than Phil Goyette of the New York Rangers.

In 1967-68, the first year of the 12 team National Hockey League, Mikita dropped to 87 points on 47 assists and 40 goals over 72 games. Stan led the league with just three more points than Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins. He came within four goals of league leader Bobby Hull and placed fourth for assists behind Esposito, Rod Gilbert and Alex Delvecchio. All four were within two assists.

Q. In 1966-67, Stan Mikita totalled 97 points. At the time, he tied an NHL record. Who did he share the NHL record for most points in a single season with?

A. Just the season before, Mikita’s teammate, Bobby Hull, set the league mark with 97 points. After the 1968-69 season, these numbers would become just distant memories with Phil Esposito shattering the mark with 126 points. Esposito would increase the record to 152 points in 1970-71 and that would be considered unreachable until a kid named Wayne Gretzky came along in the 1980’s.

Q. In 1980, the Chicago Black Hawks retired Stan Mikita’s jersey number. What number did he wear during his NHL career with Chicago?

A. Stan Mikita’s number 21 was retired at the start of the 1980-81 season. It was just a year after his final season in the National Hockey League. Mikita wore number 21 right from 1958-59 when he appeared in just three games with Chicago while still a junior with the St. Catherines Teepees of the OHA.

Q. In what year was Stan Mikita inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?

A. Mikita was part of the HHOF class of 1983. Joining him was long-time teammate in Chicago, Bobby Hull and goaltending great Ken Dryden. Harry Sinden was inducted the same year in the builder category.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM
1956-57 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 52 16 31 47 0
1957-58 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 52 31 47 78 0
1958-59 St. Catharines Teepees OHA 45 38 59 97 0
1958-59 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 3 0 1 1 4
1959-60 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 67 8 18 26 119
1960-61 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 66 19 34 53 100
1961-62 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 25 52 77 97
1962-63 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 65 31 45 76 69
1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 39 50 89 146
1964-65 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 28 59 87 154
1965-66 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 68 30 48 78 58
1966-67 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 70 35 62 97 12
1967-68 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 72 40 47 87 14
1968-69 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 74 30 67 97 52
1969-70 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 76 39 47 86 50
1970-71 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 74 24 48 72 85
1971-72 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 74 26 39 65 46
1972-73 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 57 27 56 83 32
1973-74 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 76 30 50 80 46
1974-75 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 79 36 50 86 48
1975-76 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 48 16 41 57 37
1976-77 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 57 19 30 49 20
1977-78 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 76 18 41 59 35
1978-79 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 65 19 36 55 34
1979-80 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 17 2 5 7 12

NHL Totals
1394 541 926 1467 1270

Friday, May 23, 2014

Evolution Of The NHL Scoring Record

wayne gretzky 1985-86 o-pee-chee hockey card edmonton oilers
Wayne Gretzky’s record for most points in a single National Hockey League season has stood for nearly three decades. Some say it’s unbreakable, but as with any record in professional sports, it will seem unbreakable until the day it’s broken.  Through time, the record stood at an ‘unbreakable’ level 16 times since the creation of the NHL in 1917-18.

Joe Malone of the Montreal Canadiens held the mark first for most points in a single National Hockey League campaign. All he had to do to accomplish this was lead the league in scoring in its inaugural season. Assists were not recorded in that first year but Malone’s total of 44 goals in 20 games was in itself a pretty amazing feat and set the standard. To put that amount into perspective, applying that goal scoring pace over the present day 82 game schedule would produce 180 goals.

Malone broke his own record two years later while playing for the Quebec Bulldogs. Playing four more games than in 1917-18, Joe added four more points for 48 in 1919-20. This record would stand until the 1927-28 season when Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens would total 51 points. However, Morenz’s total was accomplished over a much longer 43 game games.

Outside of Boston Bruins fans, the name Cooney Weiland is not overly well known. However, Weiland, while playing for the Boston Bruins during the 1929-30 season, shattered Morenz’s record with 73 points in 44 games. That season, six players would better the 51 point plateau. As for Weiland, he would go on to a respectable eleven season NHL career but would never get higher than the 38 point mark again in his career.

Over a decade would pass before Weiland’s mark would be surpassed. With the aid of an expanded 50 game schedule, Doug Bentley tied the record with 73 points in 1942-43. The following season, Herb Cain of the Boston Bruins would increase the record by nine points to 82 in 48 games. Just three short years later, Cain would be sent down to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League where he would finish out his professional hockey career.

The legendary Gordie Howe would be next to set the mark. It would take Mr. Hockey 22 more games than Cain to add four points to the record. In 1950-51, Howe had an even 43 goals and 43 assists for 86 points. The following season, Howe would equal the mark and the season after that, 1952-53, Howe would increase the record by nine points to 95.

The record jumped just a single point in 1958-59 as Dickie Moore of the Montreal Canadiens would total 96 points in the same 70 games as Howe. The record would increase by the same increment in the mid 1960’s as teammates Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita of the Chicago Blackhawks would each get 97 points in 1965-66 and 1966-67 respectively.

The late 1960’s brought expansion to the NHL and doubling the size of the league overnight, increasing the length of the schedule and watering down the talent was catalyst to a new level of offense. Phil Esposito came into his own during the 1968-69 season and provided the Boston Bruins with 126 points. Two seasons later, Esposito would increase the record to 152 points, a number that most thought could never be broken.

Along came a kid from Brantford, Ontario, Canada and the league’s record books were never the same. Wayne Gretzky, in just his second season in the NHL, provided the Edmonton Oilers with 164 points. The following season, the impossible was accomplished with The Great One’s 92 goals, 120 assists and 212 points. The 212 points would be eclipsed by none other than Wayne Gretzky himself during the 1985-86 season when he had 215 in 80 games, but the 92 goals stands as an NHL record today.

Is the record breakable? Of course it is. The game has changed and the offensive numbers have dropped since the mid 1990’s but things can change on a dime. A simply amazing player could emerge. Rule changes could provide a more offensive game. Retraction or expansion could significantly affect the level of talent. Just as Joe Malone’s record was thought unbreakable ninety years ago, Gretzky’s might falsely be thought of as unbreakable today.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hockey's Highest Valued Hockey Card?

bert corbeau 1923-24 v145 vintage hockey card toronto st. patricks
Honus Wagner's famous 1909 baseball card gets worldwide attention for its selling value that is in the millions. What is the top valued hockey card?

Baseball has Honus Wagner. The 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card produced by the Piedmont Cigarette Company is the most valuable in existence. There are believed to be only sixty of these cards in the world and they have sold for millions.

What is the most valuable hockey card in existence? Where the Wagner card gets international attention each time it’s sold, very few know what hockey card sells for the most. It doesn’t quite fetch the millions that the Honus Wagner card does, but valued at $20,000, it’s not too shabby for a thin piece of old cardboard.

Since the early 1990’s, a great amount of attention has been paid to O-Pee-Chee’s #18 in their 1979-80 set. Of course, this card is the Wayne Gretzky rookie card. The card is valued at $800.00 today but has risen well over $1,000 in the past. High quality reprints that have found their way onto the market have tainted the value of the original card.

Only about thirteen years before, a set was produced by Topps that contained the rookie card of the great Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins. This card, with the front face looking like an old style television screen, was the 1966-67 Topps #35. The Bobby Orr rookie card is valued at $3,000 in mint condition.

The RCs of two other legends are also valued at $3,000. Chicago Blackhawks historical icon Bobby Hull had his first hockey card show up as the 1958-59 Topps #66. Seven years earlier, the 1951-52 Parkhurst #66 featured the rookie card of Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe. This was the first year that hockey cards were produced on a regular yearly basis and was eleven years after the closest previous set, the 1940-41 O-Pee-Chee V301 collection.

In fact, the first known hockey cards were produced in 1910-11 by Imperial Tobacco and were considerably smaller than the standard card size that we see today. The following year, the Imperial Tobacco set featured the great Georges Vezina in his rookie season. George, of course, is the goaltender that the NHL’s Vezina Trophy is named after. Vezina’s rookie card is valued at a cool $6,000.

From Vezina’s card, we take a huge jump to the next highest valued card. Harry Oliver played 16 seasons in the NHL from 1926-27 to 1936-37 with the Boston Bruins and the New York Americans. Oliver was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967. His first card was produced in 1933-34 as part of the V129 set. Since this had been the first year in nine for hockey cards, Harry’s, like almost every other player’s, was a rookie card. Oliver’s was short printed. Because of this, the card is very rare today and is valued at $15,000.

Bert “Pig Iron” Corbeau is not a well-known name. Yet, Corbeau’s 1923-24 V145-1 #25 is the hockey card with the world’s highest book value. Corbeau had a ten year National Hockey League career with the Montreal Canadiens, Hamilton Tigers and Toronto St. Pats (predecessor to the Maple Leafs) from 1917-18 to 1926-27. He was part of the Montreal’s first Stanley Cup championship team, the first player to play for both Montreal and Toronto during his career and the first player to record 100 penalty minutes in one season. Corbeau’s rookie card from 1923-24 is valued at $20,000 but expect to pay much more if one can be found for sale.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hockey Trivia: Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks

bobby hull chicago blackhawks 1962-63 topps hockey card
Perhaps the greatest goal scorer in the history of the National Hockey League, Bobby Hull, along with Stan Mikita, wowed them in Chicago throughout the 1960’s. There were two distinctive parts to the Golden Jet’s professional hockey career:  The National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association. As an indicator of his success and popularity, the Bobby Hull rookie card from the 1958-59 Topps series is worth a whopping $3000.

This article deals with Bobby Hull’s career in the National Hockey League. Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of Bobby Hull’s NHL accomplishments with these four trivia questions.

Q. Despite having eleven more total points in his rookie season, who did Bobby Hull finish second to in the 1957-58 Calder Memorial Trophy voting?

A. Frank Mahovlich of the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Calder in 1958. Ironically, both players were still in their teens and straight out of junior. Typically, back in the day, a player spent several years in the minor pro leagues before behind brought up to take one of the scarce NHL jobs.

With the Black Hawks in that first year, at the age of just 18, Hull scored 13 goals and assisted on 34 for 47 points while playing the full 70 game schedule. Mahovlich, a year older than Hull, totalled 36 points on 20 goals and 16 assists over 67 games for the Maple Leafs.

Q. Bobby Hull was a five time 50+ goal scorer in the National Hockey League. In which year did Bobby score his NHL career high 58 goals?

A. 1968-69 saw Hull create a new NHL goal scoring record. Bobby’s 58 goals would stand as a record for just two seasons before Phil Esposito shattered the mark in 1970-71 with 76. Hull was on pace for 58 in 1965-66 but missed five games and scored just 54.

His last 50 goal season in the NHL came in 1971-72 when he scored exactly 50 for the Blackhawks. In the WHA, Bobby exploded for 77 goals over 78 games with the Winnipeg Jets in 1974-75.

Q. From 1957-58 until the end of 1971-72, Hull played exclusively with the Chicago Black Hawks. Which two teams did he play for in his final NHL season?

A. After the WHA merged with the NHL for the 1979-80 season, Hull followed the Winnipeg Jets as they switched leagues. After 18 games with the Jets, Bobby jumped ship to the Hartford Whalers where he played another nine games before retiring.

Q. Better known for his offensive abilities, in what year was Bobby Hull awarded for his gentlemanly play with the Lady Byng Trophy?

A. Hull won the Byng in 1964-65 while sitting 32 minutes in the penalty box over 61 regular season games. He was also awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy that same year as the NHL’s most valuable player.

In a five year stretch from 1963-64 to 1967-68, Chicago dominated the Lady Byng. Ken Wharram won the trophy the year before Hull. Stan Mikita went from king of the sin bin early in his NHL career to a two time winner of the Lady Byng in 1966-67 and 1967-68.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

1961-62 NHL Team Leaders

bobby hull chicago blackhawks 1962-63 topps
The Toronto Maple Leafs won the first of three consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1961-62. The second place Leafs met the third place Chicago Black Hawks in the finals with Toronto coming out on top in six games. Montreal dominated the regular season while the Boston Bruins reached franchise lows. Boston’s .271 winning percentage that year still stands as the second lowest in team history today. The lowest came in their first year of existence, 1924-25, when the team won just 6 of its 30 games, equal to .200.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Black Hawks

Bobby Hull led the Chicago Black Hawks with 84 points and was awarded the Art Ross Trophy as league leader. Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers also ended up with 84 points. Hull and Bathgate both played the full 70 game schedule but Hull was awarded the scoring championship on his 50 goals to Bathgate’s 28. It was the second of three times that Bobby received the Art Ross.

Andy Bathgate – New York Rangers

Andy Bathgate and the Rangers squeaked into the post season, four points better than fifth place Detroit. The Maple Leafs took six games to oust New York in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Andy was named to the First All-Star Team at right wing.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe’s consistent finish in the top five was not enough to push the Red Wings into the post season. Howe tied Chicago’s Stan Mikita for third in the NHL with 77 points. The team had only Gordie, Alex Delvecchio and Norm Ullman to rely on for offense. The trio scored 84 of the team’s 184 goals.

Frank Mahovlich – Toronto Maple Leafs

Frank Mahovlich led the Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs with 71 points, good enough for fifth in the NHL. However, surprisingly it was defenseman Tim Horton that led the team in the playoffs with 16 points in 12 games. Mahovlich contributed 12 points in 12 games, en route to the championship.

Ralph Backstrom – Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens finished first overall with an outstanding 98 points, 13 more than second place Toronto. The team scored 27 more goals than any other team and allowed 14 less than their next opponent. Yet, Ralph Backstrom led the team with just 65 points, a total that was good for seventh place in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Despite their domination during the regular season, Montreal fell to the third place Black Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs.

Johnny Bucyk – Boston Bruins

Johnny Bucyk led the downtrodden Boston Bruins with 60 points. Boston’s 177 goals was the lowest in the league but the killer was the 306 they allowed. The next highest goals against belonged to the Red Wings at 219.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1969-70 NHL Goal Scoring Leaders

phil esposito 1970-71 o-pee-chee hockey card
1969-70 was a bit of a setback in the National Hockey League’s new found offensive explosiveness. After setting a new mark for most goals in a season with 58 in 1968-69, Bobby Hull pulled back drastically in 1969-70 with just 38 goals. Phil Esposito led the NHL with just 43 goals. It would be the last time there wouldn’t be a 50 goal scorer in the league until the lockout shortened 1994-95 season.

Phil Esposito – Boston Bruins

For Phil Esposito, it was the first of six consecutive seasons leading the league in goals. In fact, with seven times, only Bobby Hull has led in that department more times. Even the great Wayne Gretzky and Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard only led the league five times each.

Garry Unger – Detroit Red Wings

Garry Unger of the Detroit Red Wings finished second with 42, just one behind Esposito. It was just the third year for Unger in a NHL career that saw him play over 1,100 regular season games. Yet, it was Garry’s career high for goals in a season. A bit of an unsung hero, Unger scored 413 regular season goals between 1967-68 and 1982-83 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers.

Stan Mikita – Chicago Blackhawks

Stan Mikita finished third with 39 goals, one off his career high set two years earlier. Mikita was dead centre in a National Hockey League career that spanned from 1959-60 to 1979-80. Stan played nearly 1,400 regular season games during his career and scored 541 goals.

Frank Mahovlich – Detroit Red Wings

Coming off a 49 goal season, Frank Mahovlich of the Detroit Red Wings finished tied for fourth with 38 goals. Frank scored a total of 533 goals in 1,181 regular season NHL games between 1957-58 and 1973-74 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks

Although Bobby Hull’s goal production was down twenty from the previous season, from 58 to 38, he was still able to place in the top five. The goal total was quite respectable, given that Hull played just 61 of Chicago’s 76 regular season games. In 1,063 regular season career NHL games, Bobby scored 610 goals. Hull was a five time 50 goal scorer in a time when the feat was a rarity.

As for the 1969-70 NHL season, the league was led by Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr. Orr became the first defenseman to lead the NHL in points with 120, earning the Art Ross Trophy. He also won the Norris, Hart and Conn Smythe to become the only NHL player to this day to win four major awards. The Bruins met the St. Louis Blues in the finals and captured the Stanley Cup with a four game sweep over the third year NHL expansion team.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1966-67 Chicago Blackhawks: The One That Got Away

chicago blackhawks nhl logo
1966-67 is typically remembered by NHL fans as the last season of the ‘Original Six’ era, the first year of Bobby Orr and the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs would win the Stanley Cup. Chicago Blackhawks fans remember that year as a seemingly guaranteed Stanley Cup victory gone horribly wrong.

Chicago dominated the 1966-67 NHL regular season, winning 41 of 70 games and finishing seventeen points above the next competitor. The Black Hawks score 264 goals, 42 more than the Detroit Red Wings and allowed just 170, 18 less than the Montreal Canadiens.

Five of the top point-getters in the NHL that season wore a Chicago Black Hawks uniform. Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull went one-two with Mikita tying Hull’s single season record with 97 points. Ken Wharram finished fourth, Phil Esposito finished seventh and Doug Mohns came in ninth.

The well-rounded team also took the Vezina Trophy on the backs of the goaltending duo of Glenn Hall and Denis DeJordy. Three time Norris Trophy winner, Pierre Pilote, was runner-up to Harry Howell of the New York Rangers for the award for the top defenseman.

The Black Hawks took home the hardware in 1966-67. Of course, they won the Prince of Wales Trophy as the best team in the regular season. It was the first time in team history that the Hawks finished first in the NHL. Stan Mikita won the triple crown, taking home the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy.

Four of the six players on the First All-Star Team were from Chicago. Pierre Pilote was on defense, Stan Mikita was at centre, Ken Wharram was on right wing and Bobby Hull was on the left side. Glenn Hall was the Second Team All-Star goaltender.

Yet, in spite of all this success, the Black Hawks bowed out in the opening round of the playoffs to the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games. What should have been Chicago’s fourth Stanley Cup victory, and first since 1961, instead became a Cup celebration for the third seed Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals in six games after Montreal took out the New York Rangers in four games in the opening round.

Chicago would make it to the Stanley Cup finals three more times, only to lose. It wasn’t until 2010 before the Blackhawks won their next Cup, their first since 1961. The Maple Leafs, after stealing the Cup from Chicago in 1967, have yet to make another appearance in the finals.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hartford Whalers in the Hockey Hall of Fame

hartford whalers logo
I can hear Hartford Whalers fans crying foul at the title of this article, already. Indeed, there were six Hockey Hall of Fame members that skated for the Whalers but two didn’t stay long enough to work in their blades.

Bobby Hull, inducted in 1983, played nine games for the Whalers in 1979-80, the last nine games of his NHL career. Paul Coffey began the 1996-97 season with Hartford but was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers after just 20 games. Then there’s Emile Francis who is in the Hall as a builder. Francis was General Manager of the Whalers from 1983 to 1989.

Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe entered the Hall five years before playing his first game with the WHA’s New England Whalers. In a strange twist of fate, Howe retired after the 1970-71 season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. He was coaxed back into professional hockey by the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association so that he could play with his sons, Mark and Marty, for the 1973-74 season. After four years in Houston, the Howe family moved to New England for the last two years of the WHA’s existence. Gordie played one full season with the NHL’s Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 before retiring for good.

Dave Keon

Dave Keon played with the WHA Whalers for three seasons and the NHL Whalers for three more. After a long NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Keon jumped ship to the WHA for the 1975-76 season. He played with the Minnesota Fighting Saints and Indianapolis Racers before joining New England. Dave Keon is the only player in history to win the Lady Byng Trophy in the NHL and the Paul Deneau Trophy in the WHA. Both awards honour the most gentlemanly player. Keon won two of each. After Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe retired from the Whalers after 1979-80, Keon became the oldest active player in the NHL.

Ron Francis

Ron Francis was the fourth overall pick at the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, taken by the Hartford Whalers. Francis spent the better part of ten seasons with the Whalers from 1981-82 to 1990-91. After a stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins that put his name on the Stanley Cup twice, Francis made a homecoming of sorts, returning to the Carolina Hurricanes, the team formerly known as the Hartford Whalers. Like Keon, Francis was a gentleman, winning the Lady Byng on three occasions. Ron was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Mark Howe

The WHA career of Mark Howe mimicked his father’s. He began in Houston and ended up in New England. Howe played three years with the NHL Whalers before moving on to the Philadelphia Flyers. Mark’s NHL career came to an end after the 1994-95 season with the Detroit Red Wings. Howe is a member of the most recent Hall of Fame class, inducted in 2011.


Single Season Scoring Records of the Chicago Blackhawks

bobby hull chicago black hawks topps hockey card
It’s been around two and a half decades since the Chicago Blackhawks single season record for goals, assists or points has been re-written. The Blackhawks may not be the Edmonton Oilers or Pittsburgh Penguins when it comes to these individual records, by the numbers are quite respectable.

Most Goals – Bobby Hull

You have to go back to the year they put a man on the moon for the record for most goals in a single season by a Chicago Blackhawks player. Bobby Hull set the then National Hockey League record with 58 goals during the 1968-69 season. He broke his own record of 54 goals set three years earlier and his 58 would stand as the best ever for only two years. Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins shattered the mark with 76 goals during the 1970-71 season.

That year, 1968-69, Hull’s performance was the only highlight of Chicago’s season. The team finished last in the six team Eastern Division and out of the post season. Bobby finished second in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, 19 points behind Esposito. Hull was selected the Left Winger on the First All-Star Team.

Most Assists – Denis Savard

Denis Savard owns the record for the most assists by a Blackhawk in a single season with 87 in 1981-82. He matched the total in 1987-88. Despite the fact that 87 assists is a Chicago record, the total was good enough for just third place in 1981-82, behind Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers and Peter Stastny of the Quebec Nordiques. Chicago, despite finishing fourth in the Norris Division with a lacklustre record of 30 wins, 38 losses and 12 ties for 72 points, made it through to the Conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs before losing to the Vancouver Canucks.

In 1987-88, Savard was once again third in the league in the assists category, this time behind Gretzky and Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team had a mediocre season, finishing third in the Norris with 69 points and making a quick first round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the St. Louis Blues.

Most Points – Denis Savard

Denis Savard also holds the Chicago record for most points in a single season. In 1987-88, Denis produced 131 points. It was his fifth and final 100+ point season with the Blackhawks. Once more, his thunder was stolen by Lemieux and Gretzky, who finished 1-2 in scoring with 168 and 149 points. The 131 points ties Savard for the 41st highest single season point total in NHL history.

Both of these gentlemen are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hull was inducted in 1983 and Savard entered in 2000. Bobby’s number 9 and Denis’ number 18 are two of only six Chicago Blackhawks retired numbers. In the history of the Blackhawks, they are among a select group with their accomplishments. Just Savard, Hull, Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick have produced 100+ point seasons. Al Secord and Jeremy Roenick are the only other two Chicago players to score 50 or more goals in a single season.