Showing posts with label gordie howe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gordie howe. Show all posts

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.

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.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

4 Hart Trophy Winners From The Detroit Red Wings

sid abel detroit red wings 1939-40 o-pee-chee
For the 1926-27 National Hockey League season, the Victoria Cougars were moved to Detroit, Michigan. The team remained the Cougars until a name change to the Falcons in 1930. In 1932, the team was renamed again, this time to the Red Wings. In that time, the franchise has had four different players awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL most valuable player. One of the four won the Hart on six occasions. Notably absent from this list is Steve Yzerman, probably the most deserving player to have a Hart Trophy sitting on his mantle. Yet, Yzerman was denied throughout his long and successful career with the Red Wings.

Ebbie Goodfellow

Ebbie Goodfellow was the first Detroit player to win the Hart Trophy. In 1939-40, the defenseman totaled 28 points in 43 regular season game, big numbers for a blue liner in the day. The Red Wings squeaked into the Stanley Cup playoffs, finishing sixth in the seven team NHL. Detroit beat the New York Americans in the first round before losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second.

Goodfellow played in the NHL from 1923-30 to 1942-43, all with the Detroit. His first year was with the Cougars, followed by two with the Falcons before becoming a true Red Wing. For two seasons in the early 1950’s, Ebbie coached the Chicago Black Hawks but the team won just 30 of 140 games with him behind the bench. In 1963, Ebbie Goodfellow was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Sid Abel

Sid Abel won the Hart Trophy in 1948-49 while leading the league in goals and finishing third in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Sid scored 28 and totaled 54 points in 60 games for the Red Wings. Detroit finished first overall that season but was swept in the Stanley Cup finals by the fourth seed Toronto Maple Leafs.

Abel played with the Red Wings from 1938-39 until 1951-52 before spending two seasons as player/coach of the Chicago Black Hawks. Sid was nearly as unsuccessful behind the Chicago bench as Ebbie Goodfellow was. He returned to coaching in 1957-58 with the Red Wings and was head coach until the end of the 1967-68 season. During that time, Detroit lost in the Stanley Cup finals four times. Abel became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

Gordie Howe

Along came Gordie Howe. Howe won his first of six Hart Memorial Trophies in 1951-52, the last year Sid Abel played for the team. Gordie won the Hart again the following year then in 1956-57, 1957-58, 1959-60 and 1962-63. On four of those occasions, Howe also won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top point producer.

Gordie played for Detroit from 1946-47 to 1970-71. He is considered by many to be the best hockey player of all-time. In 1971, Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He returned to the game as a player in 1973-74 and spent six years in the World Hockey Association before a swan-song appearance with the NHL’s Hartford Whalers in 1979-80.

Sergei Federov

Sergei Federov is the most recent Red Wing to win the Hart Memorial Trophy. Federov earned the prize in 1993-94, while scoring 56 goals and accumulating 120 points. He finished third in goal scoring behind Pavel Bure of the Vancouver Canucks and Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues. It was just Wayne Gretzky ahead of him in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, finishing ten points ahead.

Sergei played over 1,200 regular season and nearly 200 playoff games in the National Hockey League, many with Detroit.

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.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

1950-51 NHL Season By The Numbers

 bill barilko toronto maple leafs
1950-51 was quite an important year in the National Hockey League. Many say that that season marked the NHL’s entry into the modern era. For the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was an infamously significant season. The Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup championship on an overtime goal by Bill Barilko. However, Barilko would die in a plane crash not long after the celebration. Take a look back at the 1950-51 season by the numbers.


Milt Schmidt won his only Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. Schmidt played his entire NHL career with the Boston Bruins from 1936-37 to 1954-55, appearing in 776 regular season games in an era of much shorter schedules. Milt was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

In 1950-51, Milt totalled 61 points in 62 regular season games, finishing fifth in the NHL. His 22 goals placed him ninth in the league while his 39 assists placed him fourth. Milt helped the Bruins squeak into the Stanley Cup playoffs, finishing just one point ahead of the New York Rangers for the final post season position. The Toronto Maple Leafs were too much for the Bruins in the opening round, winning the series in five games. Boston was able to score just five goals on the Maple Leafs over the series.


Three future Hockey Hall of Fame players played their first NHL games in 1950-51. Alex Delvecchio appeared in one game for the Detroit Red Wings and would play his entire NHL career with the club. Delvecchio appeared in 1,550 regular season games between 1950-51 and 1973-74 with Detroit. He directly followed that up with a four year stint as the head coach of the Red Wings.

Montreal greats Bernie ‘Boom Boom’ Geoffrion and Jean Beliveau both began their careers with the Canadiens in 1950-51. Geoffrion played 18 games in 1950-51 and posted an impressive 14 points. Bernie played with Montreal until the end of the 1963-64 season. Beliveau played just two games for the Habs in 1950-51 and wouldn’t be a regular with the team until 1953-54. Jean played his entire NHL career with the Canadiens, retiring after the 1970-71 season with 1,125 regular season games under his belt.

Delvecchio entered the Hall of Fame in 1977 while both Geoffrion and Beliveau were inducted in 1972.


Each of the five games in the Stanley Cup finals series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens went to overtime. With each of the games decided by a single goal, the Toronto outscored Montreal 13-10 over the series. The Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup in overtime of the fifth game when defenseman Bill Barilko pinched in and scored on Montreal goalie Gerry McNeil.


It took the Toronto Maple Leafs ten games to win the 1951 Stanley Cup. As with any Original Six era season, there were just two rounds of playoffs with only four teams qualifying for the post season. In the first round, Toronto took out the Milt Schmidt led Boston Bruins in five games. In the other semi-final, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Detroit Red Wings in six. Toronto took five more games to eliminate Montreal and win the Cup.


Terry Sawchuk shutout his opponents eleven times, en route to earning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Sawchuk’s total while playing all of Detroit’s 70 games was equalled by the duo of goaltenders in Toronto, Al Rollins and Turk Broda. Toronto was the first team in the NHL to use a two goalie system.

Terry had appeared in seven games for the Red Wings the previous season but it was not enough to erase his rookie status. Sawchuk’s 1.99 goals against average was not enough to win the Vezina Trophy in 1950-51 but he won the award three out of the next four years. He was a four time Vezina winner over his National Hockey League career.


The Chicago Black Hawks won just 13 games in 1950-51, while the Detroit Red Wings lost just 13. Highlighting Chicago’s disastrous season was an 11-3 loss to Detroit, a 10-2 loss to Boston and a 12-2 loss to Montreal. Chicago finished 25 points behind the fifth place New York Rangers in the six team league. Detroit ended the year with 65 more points.

Chicago was not without big name players. Roy Conacher, Bill Mosienko, Doug Bentley, Gus Bodnar and Bill Gadsby were in the lineup. In net was eventual member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Harry Lumley.


1950-51 marked the first season the National Hockey League moved to a 70 game schedule. The previous season, each team played 60 games. The 70 game schedule would remain an annual tradition until the expansion year of 1967-68 when six teams and four games each were added. At that point, the schedule increased to 74, changing several times over the next few decades to settle on the current day 82 games.


Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s top point-getter in 1950-51 with 86 points. Howe finished an astonishing 20 points ahead of the next player, Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard of the Montreal Canadiens. Gordie led the NHL in goal scoring with 43, just one more than Richard. He tied Ted Kennedy of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the league lead in assists with 43.

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.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

8 NHL Players To Win The Art Ross Trophy In Consecutive Seasons

wayne gretzky edmonton oilers o-pee-chee hockey card
The Art Ross Trophy has been handed out to the regular season points leader in the National Hockey League each season since 1947-48.  Over the 61 years since the trophy was first awarded, eight players have captured the trophy in consecutive years.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings became the first NHL player to accomplish this rarity. Howe won the trophy four times consecutively from 1950-51 to 1953-54. Over his great playing career, Gordie would take home the award twice more, both while playing in Detroit.

Dickie Moore – Montreal Canadiens

Shortly after, Dickie Moore of the Montreal Canadiens was awarded the Art Ross Trophy twice in a row. Moore led the league with 84 points in 1957-58. The next year, he increased the NHL record to 96 points while winning his second Art Ross. Moore’s record would stay in the books until 1965-66 when Bobby Hull of the Chicago Blackhawks bettered it by a single point. Hull won three scoring championships over his career, however, never consecutively.

Stan Mikita – Chicago Blackhawks

Bobby Hull’s teammate with the Blackhawks, Stan Mikita, was the next player to lead the National Hockey League in points over consecutive seasons. Mikita did it twice. The first pair occurred during the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons. The second time was immediately following Hull’s record performance, 1966-67 and 1967-68. In 1966-67, Mikita would equal Hull’s 97 points.

Phil Esposito – Boston Bruins

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s brought several new expansion teams to the NHL. The original six teams weren’t willing to share the Art Ross and didn’t give it up until 1978-79. With expansion came a lot more scoring. Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins was awarded the Art Ross in four straight seasons from 1970-71 to 1973-74. His point totals of 152, 133, 130 and 145 over those four years shattered the previous scoring marks of Mikita and Hull.

Guy Lafleur – Montreal Canadiens

Guy Lafleur of the Montreal Canadiens replaced Esposito as the NHL’s premier point-getter in 1975-76 and won the Art Ross three years consecutively, playing for what is arguably the best hockey team to ever play.

Wayne Gretzky – Edmonton Oilers

The game of hockey changed drastically in 1979-80 as Wayne Gretzky first skated in the league. In just his second season with the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky won the Art Ross and bettered Phil Esposito’s record with 164. Gretzky went on to win seven in a row with the Edmonton Oilers, setting the NHL record for points in a single season during the 1985-86 season with 215. Gretzky would also win consecutive Art Ross trophies as a member of the Los Angeles Kings in 1989-90 and 1990-91. He would win one more time in his career for a total of 10.

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins

Mario Lemieux challenged but could not eclipse Gretzky’s mark of 215 points. However, he did win the Art Ross consecutively on three different occasions. He neared Gretzky’s record with 199 points in 1988-89, the second of his first two in a row. He would capture the Art Ross in 1991-92 and 1992-93 and then again in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Jaromir Jagr – Pittsburgh Penguins

Lemieux’s teammate on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jaromir Jagr took home the Art Ross four times consecutively from 1997-98 to 2000-01. Jagr won the trophy five times during his NHL playing career. Jagr, to date, is the last to win the award in straight seasons.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hockey Trivia: 1979 NHL Entry Draft

mark messier edmonton oilers rookie hockey card
The 1979 NHL Entry Draft had one of the best first rounds ever. All 21 players selected in the first round went on to careers in the NHL in some degree. The least regular season NHL games any of the first round picks went on to play was 238 (Ray Allison – 18th overall by the Hartford Whalers).

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft with the following four trivia questions.

Q. Who was the first overall pick in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft?

A. The Colorado Rockies chose Rob Ramage as the first overall pick. Ramage was drafted from the Birmingham Bulls of the World Hockey Association, though he played his junior hockey with the London Knights of the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League. Ramage played in the NHL from 1979-80 to 1993-94 with the Rockies, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota North Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

Q. What player was the only one to be drafted in the first round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft from the U.S. University system?

A. Mike Ramsey was selected eleventh overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Ramsey previously played for the University of Minnesota. Mike played over 1,000 career NHL games from 1979-80 to 1996-97 with the Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

Q. What Hockey Hall of Fame member who played 1756 regular season games in the NHL was not selected until the third round of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft?

A. Mark Messier was selected 48th overall by the Edmonton Oilers after a season with the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA. Messier scored 694 regular season goals during his NHL career and contributed 1,887 points with the Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. Mark was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007.

Mark’s point total places him second all-time in National Hockey League history. He sits just ahead of Gordie Howe but nearly 1,000 points behind Wayne Gretzky. Messier was just recently pushed down to eighth overall for goals scored by Jaromir Jagr. His 1,756 regular season games puts Mark just eleven games behind Howe for the most all-time.

Q. Who was the first European selected in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft?

A. The first round of the 1979 Draft featured players from North America only. In the second round, the New York Islanders selected Tomas Jonsson 25th overall. Jonsson, from Sweden, played 552 NHL regular season games from 1981-82 to 1988-89 before returning to Sweden to play nine years for Leksands in the Swedish Elite League. Two other Swedes were selected in that second round, Pelle Lindbergh by the Philadelphia Flyers and Mats Naslund by the Montreal Canadiens.

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.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1967-68 NHL East Division Team Leaders

phil esposito 1971-72 o-pee-chee hockey card
The 1967-68 National Hockey League season marked the addition of six new teams. Normally, expansion increases offense due to the watered down product on the ice. In 1967-68, that wasn’t really so. Stan Mikita won the Art Ross Trophy for the second year in a row but with ten less points than in 1966-67. Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks led the league with 44 goals. It was one of only five times from 1965-66 to the present when the goal scoring leader had less than 50 goals.

Stan Mikita – Chicago Black Hawks

Stan Mikita, obviously, led the Chicago Black Hawks with 87 points. Mikita played his entire NHL career with the Black Hawks from 1959-60 to 1979-80, contributing a total of 1,467 regular season points and winning the Art Ross Trophy four times. As for the Black Hawks, the team finished fourth in the newly formed East Division and lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Phil Esposito – Boston Bruins

Phil Esposito was in his first year with the Boston Bruins after coming over from the Black Hawks and his offensive juices were just starting to run. He led the Bruins with 84 points and finished second in the NHL behind Mikita. In the coming seasons, Esposito would win the Art Ross Trophy on five occasions between 1968-69 and 1973-74. Boston qualified for the post season for the first time since 1959 but lost in the first round.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe led the Detroit Red Wings with 82 points and placed third in the league. Howe had been a Red Wing since the 1946-47 season and would play with the club until the end of 1970-71. Detroit had a dismal season in 1967-68, finishing last in the East Division and out of the post season. In fact, just the Oakland Seals finished with a worst record in the NHL that season with 47 points to Detroit’s 66.

Jean Ratelle – New York Rangers

Jean Ratelle led the New York Rangers, a team that had a great regular season, finishing just four points behind the Montreal Canadiens for first overall. Yet, the Rangers were upset in the opening round by Chicago, a team that finished fourth in the East. Ratelle’s 78 points placed him fourth in the National Hockey League. Jean had just one more point than long time Rangers teammate Rod Gilbert.

Jean Beliveau – Montreal Canadiens

Jean Beliveau led the Montreal Canadiens with 68 points while playing in just 59 of Montreal’s 74 regular season games. Beliveau played his entire NHL career with Montreal, from 1953-54 to 1970-71. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1955-56. Jean led the Habs to a Stanley Cup victory by sweeping the Bruins in the first round and taking the Black Hawks in five in the second round before sweeping the St. Louis Blues to capture the championship.

Mike Walton – Toronto Maple Leafs

Mike Walton led the Toronto Maple Leafs with just 59 points. Toronto went from winning the Stanley Cup in 1966-67 to not qualifying for the post season in 1967-68. Walton played in the NHL from 1965-66 to 1978-79 with the Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Black Hawks. Mike also played three years in the World Hockey Association with the Minnesota Fighting Saints and was awarded the Bill Hunter Trophy as the WHA’s top scorer in 1973-74.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1958-59 NHL Team Leaders

1958-59 topps ed litzenberger chicago blackhawks
The Montreal Canadiens continued to steamroll the rest of the National Hockey League in 1958-59. The Habs took first place by 18 points and went on to win their fourth of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

Dickie Moore – Montreal Canadiens

Dickie Moore led Montreal with 96 points. He also led the league, earning his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy. The 96 points eclipsed Gordie Howe’s NHL record by one point for most in a single season. Teammate Jean Beliveau was right behind with 91 points on an offensive powerhouse that scored over 50 more goals than any other team in the league. The Canadiens took out Chicago in the opening round and the surprising Maple Leafs in the final to capture the Stanley Cup.

Andy Bathgate – New York Rangers

Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers had a career season, leading the team and finishing third in the NHL with 88 points. The Rangers finished the regular season in fifth place and out of post season contention. However, Bathgate was awarded the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Andy figured in on nearly 44% of all New York’s goals in 1958-59.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe, as usual, led the Detroit Red Wings. His 78 points placed him fourth in the race for the Art Ross. However, the Red Wings were uncharacteristically disappointing, placing sixth and last in the league, six points behind the Rangers. Howe had a point on nearly 47% of all Detroit’s goals. Despite Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Terry Sawchuk playing in 67 of Detroit’s 70 games, the team had the most goals against in the league.

Ed Litzenberger – Chicago Black Hawks

Ed Litzenberger led the Chicago Blackhawks with 77 points and finished fifth in the NHL. For Litzenberger it was the end of an era. He had been the team’s offensive leader since winning the Calder Trophy in 1954-55. He played five more years in the NHL after 1958-59 but he never again achieved even half the point total of that season. Bobby Hull emerged as a superstar in 1959-60 and Ed became obsolete. The Black Hawks were on the move, after missing the post season the year before, the team finished third during the regular season. They were just two years away from a Stanley Cup championship.

Don McKenney – Boston Bruins

Don McKenney was at the peak of his NHL career, leading the Boston Bruins with 62 points and tying for eighth in the NHL. Boston finished second overall but fell in the opening round to the fourth place Maple Leafs in a series that went the full seven games. For Boston, they would not return to the post season until 1967-68.

Dick Duff – Toronto Maple Leafs

Dick Duff led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 53 points. The previous season, Toronto finished dead last in the league with just 53 points. The team had a 12 point improvement in 1958-59 and placed fourth. They then went on to upset the Bruins in the opening round before falling to Montreal in five in the final. The defining difference in Toronto was Johnny Bower, playing in his first season with the Maple Leafs and taking over the starting role from Ed Chadwick.


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.


Monday, September 2, 2013

1965-66 NHL Team Leaders

bobby hull chicago blackhawks hockey card
The Montreal Canadiens dominated the 1965-66 National Hockey League season. The Habs finished first overall in the six team league, eight points ahead of second place Chicago. Montreal then swept the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before capturing the championship in six games against the fourth seed Detroit Red Wings.

Bobby Hull – Chicago Black Hawks

Bobby Hull not only led the Chicago Black Hawks but finished atop the whole NHL with 97 points, capturing the Art Ross Trophy. Hull’s 97 points set an NHL record for most points in a season, eclipsing the previous mark of 96 set by Dickie Moore of Montreal in 1958-59.

Bobby Rousseau – Montreal Canadiens

Leading the Montreal Canadiens with a career high of 78 points and finishing tied for second in the league was Bobby Rousseau. Bobby played in the NHL from 1960-61 to 1974-75 with the Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars and New York Rangers. His next highest point total came in 1968-69 when he totalled 70 with the Habs.

Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings

Gordie Howe occupied a familiar spot, leading the Detroit Red Wings in points with 75. Howe was fifth in the race for the Art Ross Trophy and had just three more points than teammate Norm Ullman. However, Ullman proved more of a factor in the Red Wings reaching the Stanley Cup final with 15 playoff points compared to Howe’s 10.

Bob Nevin – New York Rangers

The New York Rangers finished last in the NHL in 1965-66, one point behind the Boston Bruins and 27 points out of a playoff position. Bob Nevin led the club with 62 points. Nevin played in the NHL from 1960-61 to 1975-76 and would only total more points on one other occasion. In 1974-75, with the Los Angeles Kings, Bob contributed 72 points. Of course, the regular season was ten games longer that year than in 1965-66.

Murray Oliver – Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins had the least goals for and the most goals against in 1965-66. Leading the way for Bruins was Murray Oliver with 60 points. Oliver played in the NHL from 1959-60 to 1974-75 with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota North Stars. In fact, Oliver and Bobby Rousseau were teammates with the North Stars for the 1970-71 season.

Frank Mahovlich and Bob Pulford – Toronto Maple Leafs

As was the way with the ‘Original 6’ era Toronto Maple Leafs, individual scoring numbers were never exceptionally high. In 1965-66, Frank Mahovlich and Bob Pulford tied for the team lead with just 56 points each. Dave Keon was just two points behind with 54. It was a career high for Pulford but a mediocre season for Mahovlich.