Showing posts with label wayne gretzky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wayne gretzky. 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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Only 2 To Win Both The Hart Trophy And George Leader Cup

The Hart Memorial Trophy has been awarded to the Most Valuable Player in the National Hockey League since the 1923-24 season. The George Leader Cup was awarded to the MVP of the Western Hockey League from 1948-49 to 1972-73. Of course, Wayne Gretzky has won the Hart Trophy more times than any other player. The George Leader Cup was dominated by Guyle Fielder who won the award five times. Just two players in the history of professional hockey have won both awards.

Walter ‘Babe’ Pratt

babe pratt toronto maple leafs
Babe Pratt played pro hockey from 1935-36 to 1951-52, in the NHL to 1946-47. In the NHL, he appeared with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Pratt also played in the CAHL, AHL and PCHL. Over his NHL career, he played 517 regular season games, scoring 83 goals and assisting on 209 for 292 points. In 63 Stanley Cup playoff games, he scored 12 goals and assisted on 17 for 29 points.

In 1939-40, Babe helped the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship with a four games to two victory over the Maple Leafs. In 1944-45, he won his second and last Stanley Cup, this time with Toronto. The Maple Leafs took the full seven games to defeat the Detroit Red Wings. In 1966, Pratt was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 1943-44, Pratt was awarded the Hart Trophy in his first full year with the Maple Leafs. Playing the full 50 game schedule, Babe scored 17 goals and assisted on 40 for 57 points. It was his NHL career high for assists and points. The assist total tied him for seventh in the league. Toronto finished third with an even 50 points in 50 games. The Maple Leafs met their cruel demise in the opening round of the playoffs as the Montreal Canadiens easily won the series 4-1. The Habs outscored Toronto 23-6, including a game five 11-0 trouncing.

Pratt was awarded the George Leader Cup in two consecutive seasons, 1948-49 and 1949-50, the first two years the trophy was handed out. Both years, he was a member of the New Westminster Royals of the PCHL. After 1951-52, the PCHL would become the WHL.

In 1948-49, he scored 18 and assisted on 48 for 66 points in 63 regular season games. He tied for fifth in the league for assists. The Royals placed first in the five team North Division and first overall in the ten team league with 83 points in 70 games. New Westminster reached the finals before losing to the San Diego Skyhawks, four games to two.

The following season, Pratt played just 59 of the team’s 71 games, scoring eight goals and adding 29 assists for 37 points. Babe also acted as the team’s head coach. The Royals placed first overall in the PCHL, which had shrunk to just six teams. In a closely fought final series, New Westminster captured the championship with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Monarchs. Each team scored 26 goals in the series. Two games were decided in overtime, including game seven.

Andy Bathgate

andy bathgate new york rangers
Bathgate won his Hart Trophy in 1958-59 as a member of the New York Rangers. He played the full 70 games, scoring 40 goals and totalling 88 points. He placed third in the NHL for goals, five behind the leader, Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. He also placed third in points, eight behind leader Dickie Moore of the Canadiens. The Rangers finished fifth out of six and did not qualify for the post season.

In 1969-70, he was awarded the George Leader Cup as a member of the Vancouver Canucks of the WHL. Bathgate finished the regular season playing the full 72 game schedule. He scored 40 and added 68 assists for 108 points. Andy was fourth in goals and second in points, 19 behind Art Jones of the Portland Buckaroos. For Jones, a minor hockey legend, it was his fourth of six scoring titles in the WHL. The Canucks finished first in the seven team league with 102 points in 72 games. Vancouver won the championship with a four games to one victory over the Portland Buckaroos.

Andy Bathgate played in the NHL from 1952-53 to 1967-68 and returned for a year in 1970-71. Andy appeared with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. His only Stanley Cup victory came in 1963-64 as the Maple Leafs downed the Red Wings in seven games. In 1961-62, Bathgate tied Bobby Hull for the NHL lead with 84 points. However, Hull was awarded the Art Ross Trophy with more goals. Andy was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In An NHL Without Wayne Gretzky And Mario Lemieux

wayne gretzky edmonton oilers 1985-86 o-pee-chee
There’s no question that the National Hockey League’s record books are dominated by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Between the two, they own the top 12 single season performances in total assists, the top 13 point totals and three of the top four goal totals. What if neither had existed? What would the record books look like today?

·         Steve Yzerman would hold the points record with 155 points

·         Bobby Orr would still hold the record for most assists in a season

·         Brett Hull would hold the record for most goals

Of course, the butterfly effect would be in effect and guys like Jari Kurri, Bernie Nicholls, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr and Paul Coffey, although stars, may not have had such great numbers without the help of the Great One and Super Mario. And, of course, this is purely hypothetical as time travel has not been invented yet.

Gretzky will most likely forever hold the record for goals, assists and points in a season. His 92 goals in 1981-82 are pretty much untouchable, although Brett Hull made a pretty good run at it in 1990-91. If the two greats had never played the game, the record for most goals in a single NHL season would belong to Hull at 86 while playing for the St. Louis Blues.

Following ten goals behind would be a trio of players at 76 goals. Phil Esposito owned the record before Gretzky with his 76 goal performance with the Boston Bruins in 1970-71, a mark that was at the time thought to be unbeatable. Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres and Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets both scored 76 in 1992-93. Mogilny’s total is a Buffalo Sabres record. Selanne still holds the record for most goals by an NHL rookie.

Wayne Gretzky’s record of 163 assists in 1985-86 is 61 more than the next non-dynamic duo mark. Bobby Orr would be our record holder with the 102 assists he accumulated during the 1970-71 season. The 102 is still a team record and the most by any defenseman in NHL history. Orr is the only player other than Gretzky and Lemieux to top 100 assists in a single season.

Close behind with 97 assists is another Boston Bruin. Adam Oates achieved this total in 1992-93. Ironically, the third highest total belongs to Joe Thornton with 96. Joe played the first half of the 2005-06 season with the Bruins before being traded to the San Jose Sharks.

Take away the top thirteen point totals in NHL history, including Gretzky’s record 215 in 1985-86 and you’re left with Steve Yzerman as the leading man. Yzerman totaled 155 points in 1988-89 with the Detroit Red Wings. That was good enough for just third in the race for the Art Ross Trophy as Lemieux had 199 and Gretzky had 168.

Phil Esposito’s 152 points in that magic 1970-71 Boston Bruins season stands the test of time and would be the second best without the duo. Bring out the asterix for numbers three and four. Bernie Nicholls totaled 150 points in 1988-89 with the help of Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr had 149 in 1995-96 with the help of Lemieux. The next two on the list would be Pat Lafontaine with his 148 points with the Buffalo Sabres in 1992-93 and Mike Bossy with 147 with the New York Islanders in 1981-82.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Upsets Abound In 1981-82 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

new york islanders nhl logo
The 1981-82 National Hockey League season was the end of an evenly distributed regular season schedule. Teams now played more games against teams in their own division than the other teams in the league. The Colorado Rockies were in their last season in Denver. The following season, the franchise relocated to East Rutherford, New Jersey to become the present day New Jersey Devils. It was also the year that the record for most goals in a single season was set at an unbeatable level with Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers scoring 92.

1981-82 was also a year of playoff upsets. The New York Islanders were looking for their third Stanley Cup championship in a row. The Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky, were assured to challenge the Islanders for the ultimate prize. At least, that’s the way it should have played out.

Four of the eight first round matchups were upsets. The Quebec Nordiques ousted their provincial rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, three games to two. The Canadiens finished the regular season with 109 points and were first in the Adams Division. Quebec finished with 82 points and in fourth place in the Adams. That 27 point differential was wiped out in five short games.

In the Norris Division Semi-finals, the fourth place Chicago Blackhawks took out the first place Minnesota North Stars three games to one. Minnesota finished the regular season twenty-two points ahead of the Blackhawks with 94 to Chicago’s 72.

The other Norris Division Semi also ended with the underdog on top. The third place St. Louis Blues beat out the second place Winnipeg Jets in four games. This upset was not quite as dramatic as the Blues finished just eight points behind the Jets in the regular season.

The Edmonton Oilers expected run to a Stanley Cup championship ended prematurely against the Los Angeles Kings in the Smythe Division Semi-finals. The Kings finished the season winning just 24 games while losing 41 and tying 15 for just 63 points. The Oilers finished second overall to only the New York Islanders with a total of 111 points. The Kings took the series in five games. Their run would come to a halt in the next round, however, when they bowed out to eventual Stanley Cup finalist, the Vancouver Canucks.

The upsets continued in the following round. In the Adams Division final, fourth place Quebec beat out the second place Boston Bruins in seven games. In the Smythe Division, fourth place Chicago defeated third place St. Louis in six.

The magic would end for the Quebec Nordiques in the conference finals when they came up against the New York Islanders. The Islanders easily swept the Nordiques in four games. It would also come to an end for the Blackhawks as Chicago lost out to the Vancouver Canucks in five games.

Although Vancouver was always the top seed in each series until the finals when they lost out to the Islanders in four games, their run to the finals should be seen as an upset of sorts. Vancouver finished the season with a weak record of 30 wins, 33 losses and 17 ties. The only reason they ranked high is because they were in the weakest conference. They were seeded second in the Smythe and fourth in the conference. Their point total would have placed them eighth in the other conference.

The Oilers licked their wounds and came back strong the following season. The Islanders won their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup in 1982-83, the last for the franchise, but the Oilers would make it to the finals against New York this time. The following season, the Oilers won the Stanley Cup and would win it again in three of next four seasons. One dynasty had replaced another.


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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

1985-86 Edmonton Oilers: Stanley Cup Playoff Train Wreck

wayne gretzky edmonton oilers 1985-86 o-pee-chee hockey card
1985-86 was the year the National Hockey League changed rules to try and keep the Edmonton Oilers from obliterating the league’s scoring records. From 1985 to 1993, the NHL allowed teams to play five on five instead of four on four when coincidental minors were handed out. Unofficially, the rule was changed because the Oilers were unstoppable in a four-on-four situation.

1985-86 was also a year when the Edmonton Oilers should have cruised to a Stanley Cup victory. Instead, they allowed the Calgary Flames to oust them from the playoffs in the second round. The series went the full seven games with neither team winning consecutive games and Calgary outscoring Edmonton by a slight margin at 25-24 on the series. Both Edmonton and Calgary had easily swept in their opening round. The Oilers took out the Canucks in three and the Flames took out the Jets in three. Calgary reached the Stanley Cup final before bowing out to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

That season, the Oilers won 56 games while losing only 17 and tying 7 for 119 points. The point total was thirty more than the Flames, who were second in the Clarence Campbell Conference. They Oilers were nine points better than the Philadelphia Flyers who were first in the Prince of Wales Conference. Coincidentally, the Flyers were knocked out in the first round by the New York Rangers who finished the season with just 78 points and were two games below .500.

Edmonton players set National Hockey League individual records that season and several still stand today. Of them, Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points and 163 assists are the records that likely will remain for an eternity. Gretzky also tied the NHL mark for most assists in a single game with seven. Paul Coffey scored 48 goals which stands as the most goals scored by a defenseman in one season. Paul eclipsed the previous mark of 46 set by Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins in 1974-75. Coffey also set the record for the longest point streak for defenseman at 28 games.

Edmonton players dominated the NHL’s top ten in the race for the Art Ross Trophy. Wayne Gretzky was 74 points ahead of the number two man in the league, Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who totalled 141 points. Paul Coffey came in third with 138 points, one less than Bobby Orr’s record for defenseman set in 1970-71. Jari Kurri finished fourth in the NHL with 131 points and led the league with 68 goals. Unfortunately for Kurri, the Rocket Richard Trophy didn’t come into existence for another decade and a half.

The Oilers took home the hardware at the NHL awards ceremony in 1985-86. Gretzky was awarded the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer and the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP. The Oilers won the President’s Trophy for the highest point total during the National Hockey League regular season. Glen Sather won the Jack Adams Award as the top coach despite having a team full of ringers and experiencing such a playoff disappointment. Of course, Paul Coffey won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey were selected to the NHL’s First Team All-Star team and Jari Kurri made Second Team. Nine Edmonton Oilers players appeared in the NHL’s All-Star Game in 1985-86. Other than Gretzky, Coffey and Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Lee Fogolin, Grant Fuhr, Kevin Lowe, Mark Messier and Andy Moog appeared. Ironically, with such an offensively laden team, their Campbell Conference team lost a low-scoring affair to the Wales Conference squad.

The Oilers learned from their playoff disaster. The following season, Gretzky scored 32 less points, the team scored 54 less goals, had seven less wins and 13 less points. Edmonton still won the President’s Trophy but with only 106 points. Most importantly, they won the Stanley Cup in seven games over the Philadelphia Flyers. As for the Calgary Flames, they lost in the opening round in 1986-87 to the Winnipeg Jets in six games.

Monday, April 21, 2014

NHL Hockey Trivia: Steve Yzerman

steve yzerman detroit red wings 1984-85 o-pee-chee rookie card
For three decades, Steve Yzerman was the face of the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings. Yzerman retired after the 2005-06 season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. Steve’s number 19 was retired by the Red Wings in 2007 and is one of just seven numbers retired by the team. Stevie-Y is now the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Test and expand your knowledge of Steve Yzerman hockey trivia with the following questions.

Q. In his best offensive year, 1988-89, how many regular season points did Steve Yzerman have?

A. Yzerman contributed 155 points for a Detroit Red Wings team that finished the regular season at exactly .500 and lost out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. Yzerman put up career high numbers for goals (65) and assists (90). Steve finished third in league scoring behind Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

To this day, the numbers Yzerman put up for goals, assists and points in 1988-89 remain team single season records. The 155 points is still the 14th highest total in National Hockey League history and the most by a player whose name is not Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux.

Q. How many teams did Steve Yzerman play for during his NHL career?

A. Despite several trade rumours throughout his career, Yzerman played for just the Detroit Red Wings. In 1994, it was thought he was bound for the Montreal Canadiens and the following year the rumour had him going to the Ottawa Senators.

Q. How many seasons did Steve Yzerman play in the NHL?

A. Yzerman played 22 seasons in the NHL. He began his career with Detroit in 1983-84 after two years with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. Steve was a fourth overall pick of the Red Wings in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, behind Brian Lawton (Minnesota North Stars), Sylvain Turgeon (Hartford Whalers) and Pat Lafontaine (New York Islanders). After missing the 2004-05 season, along with the rest of the league due to the lockout, Yzerman returned for one more season in 2005-06.

Q. How many times during his NHL career did Steve Yzerman surpass the 50 goal plateau?

A. Five times in his 22 NHL seasons, Steve Yzerman had 50 or more goals in a season. In 1988-89 and 1989-90, Yzerman took it a step further and surpassed the 60 goal plateau. Overall, Steve scored 692 regular season goals over his NHL career, putting him in the ninth position all-time. Yzerman scored two less goals that Mark Messier and two more than Mario Lemieux. Teemu Selanne finished the 2013-14 season with 684.

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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5 Greats From Hockey Hall Of Fame That Started Out In The OHL

bobby orr 1975-76 o-pee-chee hockey card boston bruins
Even those who aren’t hockey fans have heard the names Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky or Steve Yzerman. Like any other professional sport, hockey has its iconic heroes. What might not be known is that a great number of hockey’s superstars started out playing junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. What follows is a list of five greats that played in the OHL and went on to NHL careers worthy of a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Steve Yzerman – Peterborough Petes

Steve Yzerman played two seasons with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in 1981-82 and 1982-83. Yzerman was a first round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1983 NHL draft, fourth overall. Steve went on to a twenty-two year NHL career, all with the Red Wings. He captained Detroit for his last nineteen seasons, an NHL record for the longest serving captain. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a two-time Olympian. He is sixth overall in the NHL for most career points and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.

Phil Esposito – St. Catherines TeePees

Phil Esposito played just one season in the OHL in 1961-62 with the St. Catherines TeePees. Phil started his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1964-65 but it was after being traded to the Boston Bruins for the 1967-68 season when Esposito became an NHL superstar. Phil spent eight full seasons with the Bruins and scored over 100 points in six of those. Phil was the holder of the NHL record for most goals (76) and points (152) in a season until Wayne Gretzky came along. Phil finished up his seventeen year NHL career with the New York Rangers and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984.

Denis Potvin – Ottawa 67’s

Denis Potvin played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1968-69 to 1972-73, all with the Ottawa 67’s. Potvin was the number one overall pick in the 1973 NHL draft. Denis went on to a fifteen year NHL career, all with the New York Islanders. Eight of his seasons on Long Island were as captain of the team. He was part of four Stanley Cup winning teams and was a three time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman. Denis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.

Bobby Orr – Oshawa Generals

Bobby Orr played three seasons with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals from 1963-64 to 1965-66. Orr’s NHL career was cut short at twelve seasons by devastating knee injuries. Over his final three seasons, Bobby played just 36 games and missed the entire 1977-78 season. His ten years with the Boston Bruins were nothing less than spectacular. He has six consecutive 100+ point seasons, unheard of for a defenseman. He still stands as the only defenseman to win the Art Ross Trophy as NHL leading scorer with 139 points in 1970-71. He won two Stanley Cups and eight Norris Trophies. Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979 at the age of 31. Bobby stands today as the youngest player to enter the hall.

Wayne Gretzky – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Wayne Gretzky played just one full season in the Ontario Hockey League. Gretzky was a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 1977-78. The previous year, he played just three games with the Peterborough Petes as a 15 year old. His 182 points that season were surprisingly not the best in the league, but do stand as the OHL record for most points in a single season by a first year player. Wayne played twenty years in the NHL, fourteen as team captain. Gretzky hold countless single season and career records. Wayne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hockey Trivia: Los Angeles Kings Individual Single Season Records

los angeles kings logo national hockey league
The Los Angeles Kings entered the National Hockey League for the 1967-68 season in what was the first of several rounds of expansion. The Kings have been host to several players with a talent for offence. The team’s individual single season scoring records can be considered unsurpassable in today’s defensive minded NHL game.

Test and expand your hockey knowledge of the Los Angeles Kings with these four trivia questions focused on the team’s individual single season records.

Q. What player holds the Los Angeles Kings record for most points in a single regular season?

A. Wayne Gretzky became a Los Angeles King for the 1988-89 season and he impressed his new fans with a 168 point season. The second highest point total in history also belongs to Gretzky when he contributed 163 in 1990-91. The highest non-Gretzky single season point total in Los Angeles history is the 150 of Bernie Nicholls in 1988-89.

Q. Who holds the Los Angeles Kings single season record for most goals?

A. With the influence of Wayne Gretzky in 1988-89, Bernie Nicholls went over and above his talents and scored 70 goals. The next best goal scoring output by a King was Luc Robitaille with 63 in 1992-93. Nicholls and Robitaille are the only two L.A. players to top the 60 goal plateau. When it comes to scoring 50 goals, just Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, Jimmy Carson and Gretzky can be added to the list.

Q. Two Los Angeles Kings players have led the team in goals scored on eight occasions. Who was the latest to accomplish this feat?

A. Luc Robitaille first led the team with 45 goals in 1986-87. The last occasion was the 1999-00 season when he scored 36. His best was 63 in 1992-93 and he surpassed the 50 goal plateau on two other occasions. Marcel Dionne is the other Los Angeles King to lead the team in goals on eight occasions.

Q. What Los Angeles King holds the team record for most penalty minutes in a single regular season?

A. Marty McSorley surpassed Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams’ team record of 358 PIM with 399 of his own during the 1992-93 season. McSorley came to Los Angeles from the Edmonton Oilers along with Wayne Gretzky for the 1988-89 season and led the Kings in PIM a total of five times.

For Tiger, 1987-88 was his second last season in the NHL and his final full season, playing just 28 games in 1988-89. His 358 PIM placed him second in the NHL in 1987-88, three minutes behind leader Tim Hunter of the Calgary Flames.

McSorley’s 399 PIM led the NHL in 1992-93, 29 more than second place Gino Odjick of the Vancouver Canucks. In over 961 regular season NHL games between 1983-84 and 1999-00, Marty sat 3,381 minutes in the penalty box. This total ranks him fourth all-time, behind Tiger Williams, Dale Hunter and Tie Domi. The group are part of an exclusive nine NHL players to accumulate more than 3,000 PIM in a career.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hockey Trivia: You Gotta Have Hart

mario lemieux pittsburgh penguins o-pee-chee rookie hockey card
The Hart Memorial Trophy has been handed out to the National Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player since 1924. The trophy was donated to the NHL by Doctor David Hart, who was the father of Cecil Hart, former coach and general manager of the Montreal Canadiens.

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge with these following questions regarding the Hart Memorial Trophy.

Q. What Philadelphia Flyers player won the Hart in 1994-95?

A. Eric Lindros won the Hart Trophy in 1995. Lindros tied Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins for most points during the shortened 1994-95 NHL season. Lindros and Jagr both had 70 points, five more than Alexei Zhamnov of the Winnipeg Jets. Jagr was awarded the Art Ross Trophy because he had more goals.

After a junior career with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League, Lindros played 760 regular season games in the National Hockey League from 1992-93 to 2006-07 with the Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. His numbers were impressive with 372 goals and 493 assists for 865 points.

Q. Who is the only NHL goalie to win consecutive Hart Trophies?

A. Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres won the Hart Trophy in 1996-97 and 1997-98. Hasek and Jose Theodore are the only goalies to win the Hart since Jacques Plante won it in 1962.

Hasek started his NHL career humbly with the Chicago Blackhawks, appearing in just five games in 1990-91 and 20 the following season. However, once he was sent to the Buffalo Sabres for the 1992-93 season, Dominik’s NHL career took off. He played with the Sabres until the end of 2001-02 before joining the Detroit Red Wings. Hasek also played a year with the Ottawa Senators along with pro hockey in the Czech Extraliga and the Russia based KHL before retiring after the 2010-11 season.

Q. Other than Wayne Gretzky, who was the only player to win the Hart Trophy during the 1980’s?

A. Mario Lemieux won the Hart in 1988 while playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Gretzky won the previous eight as a member of the Edmonton Oilers and won again the year following Lemieux as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

The first overall pick at the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux won the Hart Trophy two more times over his career. He played his entire NHL career with the Penguins from 1984-85 to 2005-06 with a three year layoff between 1997-98 and 1999-00.

Q. Who was the first player to win the Hart Trophy when it was introduced in 1924?

A. Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators won the first ever Hart Trophy. Nighbor was also the first ever recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy when it was introduced the following year. In that 1923-24 season, Frank scored ten goals and assistsed on three for 13 points over 20 games. Ottawa placed first overall in the four team league over the 24 game regular season schedule. The Senators then fell to the Montreal Canadiens in a two game total goal Stanley Cup final.

Nighbor played with the Senators from 1915-16 until a midseason traded sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1929-30, his final year in the NHL. Frank was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. It was just the second round of inductions with 1945 being the first.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

3 NHL Players With Multiple 70 Goal Seasons

In the National Hockey League, the 50 goal plateau has been equalled or surpassed over 190 times. The 60 goal plateau was met for the 38th time in 2007-08 when Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored 65. However, only eight players have reached the 70 goal milestone with just three doing it on more than one occasion. These three players accomplished this feat in the short era between 1981-82 and 1990-91.

Wayne Gretzky

As would be expected, Wayne Gretzky leads the way, surpassing 70 goals in a single NHL season on four separate occasions as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. His first time was a 92 goal performance in 1981-82. That total remains as the NHL record for most goals in a single season. The second highest single season total also belongs to Gretzky, 87 goals in 1983-84. Rounding out his four 70+ goal seasons are 71 in 1982-83 and 73 in 1984-85.

Brett Hull

His father, Bobby Hull, was responsible for four of the five 50 goal performances during the 1960’s and would argue that if the schedule was the same length as now, he would also have surpassed the 70 goal plateau. Brett Hull scored 70 or more on three occasions during his career, all as a member of the St. Louis Blues. His 86 in 1990-91 is the third highest total behind the two amazing performances of Wayne Gretzky. On either side of the 1990-91 season, Hull hit or exceeded 70. In 1989-90, he scored 72 and in 1991-92, he scored 70.

Mario Lemieux

Mario Lemieux scored 133 goals and totalled 282 points with the Laval Voisins in 1983-84, his last year of junior hockey in Quebec. Although he would never reach those numbers in the NHL, he did score more than 70 goals on two occasions. In 1987-88, Mario scored exactly 70. The following season, he scored 85. Lemieux came close on two other occasions, scoring 69 goals in 1992-93 and 1995-96. What’s incredible about those two 69 goal performances is that Lemieux played just 60 and 70 games respectively. In 1992-93, Mario was on pace for a 96.6 goal season if he’d appeared in all 84 regular season games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, his career was plagued with injuries and illnesses which kept him from his true potential.

Will it happen again? Things change. Coaching styles, rules, player talent are all factors that could be different in the future, bringing back the offensive game and producing 70 goal scorers again. Until that time, the legends of Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and Mario Lemieux will have to do.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hockey Trivia: NHL Records Not Belonging to Wayne Gretzky

bobby orr boston bruins 1970-71 o-pee-chee art ross trophy
Believe it or not, there are actually some individual NHL records not owned by Wayne Gretzky. Of course, you have to look to categories that Wayne didn’t involve himself in like penalties and defenseman scoring.

Test and expand your knowledge of the NHL’s single season individual records with these four trivia questions.

Q. Who holds the record for the most goals in a single NHL season by a defenseman?

A. No, it’s not Bobby Orr. Paul Coffey broke Orr’s record of 46 goals during the 1985-86 season when he put 48 past opposing goaltenders. Coffey and Orr are the only defensemen to score 40 or more in a single season with Coffey doing it twice and Orr just the once.

The only current blue liner to surpass 30 in a season is Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, scoring 31 in 2008-09. The list of defensemen throughout the history of the NHL scoring 30 or more in a season is slim with just Doug Wilson, Kevin Hatcher, Ray Bourque, Denis Potvin and Phil Housley added to Coffey, Orr and Green.

Q. With 76, what player holds the record for the most goals by a rookie?

A. Teemu Selanne of the Winnipeg Jets broke Mike Bossy’s previous record by a whopping 23 goals in 1992-93. Selanne, Bossy and Joe Nieuwendyk are the only first year NHL players to surpass the 50 goal plateau.

In a weird twist of fate, Selanne did not share the league lead in goal scoring in 1992-93. Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres also scored 76. Mogilny was in his fourth year in the National Hockey League and nearly doubled his previous career high of 39 goals, set the previous year. Mogilny would surpass the 50 goal plateau just once more in his career while Selanne would do it just twice more.

Q. Who holds the record for the most points in a single season by a defenseman?

A. No, it’s not Paul Coffey! Bobby Orr won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading point getter in 1970-71 with 139 points. Orr still remains the only defenseman to win the Art Ross. Coffey came within one point of the record with 138 in 1985-86.

Just five defensemen in NHL history have topped the 100 point plateau. Along with Coffey and Orr, Denis Potvin, Al MacInnis and Bryan Leetch have accomplished the feat. Leetch was the last to do it with 102 points way back in 1991-92, over 20 years ago.

Q. What 1970’s super goon holds the record for the most penalty minutes in a single season?

A. Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz sat out 472 minutes in the penalty box during the 1974-75 season. This number amounts to nearly eight whole hours in the sin bin! Paul Baxter was the next closest challenger with just 409 minutes in 1981-82.

Current member of the Calgary Flames, Brian McGrattan, holds the American Hockey League record with 551 PIM in 2004-05 with the Binghamton Senators. Joel Theriault, a fourth round pick by the Washington Capitals in 1995, holds the CHL record with 573 PIM in 1995-96 in a QMJHL season split between the Halifax Mooseheads and Drummondville Voltigeurs.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Hockey Trivia: NHL 70 Goal Scorers

wayne gretzky o-pee-chee hockey card
In the history of the National Hockey League, the 50 goal plateau has been met 189 times (the latest in 2010-11 with Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks scoring exactly 50) and the 60 goal plateau has been met 38 times. However, the 70 goal plateau truly separates the men from the boys.

Test and expand your hockey trivia knowledge of the NHL’s 70+ goal scorers with the following four trivia questions.

Q. Which NHL player was the first to surpass the 70 goal plateau?

A. In 1970-71, Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins added 18 goals to the NHL record previously held by Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks. Esposito scored 76 goals in 78 games for the Bruins. With an additional 76 assists that season, his 152 points were also an NHL record at the time.

Q. Which NHL player is the only player to surpass the 70 goal plateau on four occasions?

A. Who else but Wayne Gretzky could accomplish this feat?! Gretzky scored 92 in 1981-82 (current NHL record), 71 in 1982-83, 87 in 1983-84 and 73 in 1984-85. Brett Hull came close. In a three year stretch with the St. Louis Blues between 1989-90 and 1991-92, Hull scored 72, 86 and 70 goals. He followed that up with two more 50+ goal performances but never would get above 60 again. Age and injuries played a factor in his reduced production but the NHL also had entered an era of boring low scoring hockey that persists today.

Q. Who is the only first year NHL player to surpass the 70 goal plateau?

A. The Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, scored 76 goals in 1992-93 as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets, tying him for the NHL lead in goal scoring with Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres. Due to injuries and NHL labour problems, it would take until 1996-97 before Selanne would exceed the 76 POINT mark again. Of course, Teemu was not your typical rookie in 1992-93. After playing pro in Finland before coming to North America, Selanne was already 22 when he scored his 76 goals, the age of third year player.

Q. Playing on a line with Wayne Gretzky could boost the offensive performance of any player. Which Los Angeles Kings player scored 70 while playing with the Great One?

A. Bernie Nicholls scored exactly 70 in 1988-89 while playing with Gretzky. Over the rest of his career, Bernie’s best goal production would be just 27. Wayne scored 54 and assisted on 114 for 168 points while Bernie added 80 assists for 150 points. Despite the high totals, neither led the NHL that year. Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins finished first with 85, Nicholls finished second, Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings finished third with 65 and Gretzky placed fourth. In points, it was Gretzky placing second and Nicholls placing fourth.

Jari Kurri is another who rode Gretzky’s coattails enroute to a 70 goal season. Kurri scored 71 in 1984-85 with the Edmonton Oilers while his linemate Gretzky scored 73. The two finished one-two in NHL goal scoring. They also finished first and second in the race for the Art Ross Trophy with Wayne totalling 208 points and Jari settling with 135.

Friday, September 13, 2013

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.