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Friday, February 8, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot - Islanders and Rangers

New York Islanders

  The New York Islanders won their second of four straight Stanley Cups in 1981.  They led the league in points and goals scored.  During the season, the team traded away disgruntled star goalie Chico Resch and brought up rookie Roland Melanson to split the starts with Billy Smith.  Once the play-offs arrived, it was all Billy Smith, as the Islanders dominated in the play-offs, going 15-3.

Rk            Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1        Billy  Smith   G  30 41 22 10   8 129 3.28  2 2363
2        Glenn  Resch   G  32 32 18  7   5  93 3.07  3 1817
3    Roland  Melanson   G  20 11  8  1   1  32 3.10  0  620
          Team Total          80 48 18  14 254 3.17  5 4800

1981-82 OPC #207 - Billy Smith

  Billy Smith was elected to the HHOF in 1993.  The Islanders had split the regular season games between Resch and Smith fairly evenly during the previous five and a half season before trading Resch.  Although during the 1980 playoffs, it was a different matter, Smith played 1198 minutes compared to Resch's 120.  Smith would continue to build on his reputation as a play-off goalie, helping the Islanders win the Cup four straight seasons, and winning the Conn Smythe in 1983.  Smith had 14 OPC cards made during his career.  Ten of them showed him wither posed or in warm-up. 

Bonus Islanders

1981-82 OPC Roland Melanson (RC)

  Roland Melanson came to the Island at the right time.  He was part of three Stanley Cup winning teams.  "Rollie the Goalie" led the NHL in save percentage in 1983-84, the first season it was officially tracked.  In 1982-83, Melanson was named to the NHL's 2nd All-Star team.  Melanson had his best seasons with the Islanders but while he split time with Billy Smith in the regular season, he rarely played in the play-offs.  He was traded to the Minnesota North Stars in 1984 for a 1st round choice, used to select Brad Dalgarno. 

New York Rangers

  The New York Rangers went into the play-offs on a hot streak.  They went 6-2-2 to finish the season with 74 points and the 14th play-off seed.  In 1980-81, teams were seeding 1-16 regardless of division or conference.  In the play-offs they beat the Los Angelese Kings, 99 points, and the St. Louis Blues, 107pts, before getting swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champs, the New York Islanders, 110pts.  The Rangers used five goalies during the 1980-81 season.

Rk          Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1    Doug  Soetaert   G  25 39 16 16   7 152 3.93  0 2320
2      Steve  Baker   G  23 21 10  6   5  73 3.48  2 1260
3     Wayne  Thomas   G  33 10  3  6   1  34 3.40  0  600
4    John  Davidson   G  27 10  1  7   1  48 5.14  0  560
5      Steve  Weeks   G  22  1  0  1   0   2 2.00  0   60
        Team Total          80 30 36  14 309 3.86  2 4800

1981-82 OPC #222 - John Davidson
  John Davidson is another goalie from this set that is best known as a sportscaster.  As for his playing days, he is best known for two things, backstopping the 1979 Rangers to the Stanley Cup finals and for being the first NHL player to wear 00.  Davidson only wore 00 for less than a season but it can be seen on his 1978-79 card.  Davidson's career was cut short by chronic knee problems.  He played in only 13 games from the 1980-81 season to his final season, 1982-83.

1981-82 OPC #231 - Steve Baker

  Steve Baker only played four NHL season, all with the New York Rangers.  Baker burst onto the scene in 1979, only losing one out his first ten games.  He struggled to keep that pace up and was never able to secure the #1 spot for himself.  He did have a sweet mask.  Here's a clip of a young Steve Baker explaining his goalie equipment to Phil Esposito.

Bonus Rangers

1981-82 Doug Soetaert

  Doug Soetaert finally got a chance to play for the Rangers in the 1980-81 season.  He had spent the last five seasons splitting time between New York and the AHL.  A knee injury to John Davidson left the #1 spot opened and Soetaert filled that role for the majority of the season.  The Rangers didn't feel Soetaert has right for the job, so he found himself traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the off season.  Doug was the #1 goalie in Winnipeg before a trade to Montreal, where he helped mentor Patrick Roy and won a Stanley Cup in 1986.

1981-82 OPC Wayne Thomas

  Wayne Thomas started his career as a Montreal Canadien in 1973.  He shutout the Vancouver Canucks in his first career start.  The following season, he found himself as the starting goalie, as incumbent Ken Dryden left the team to study law.  The following season, Ken Dryden returned and the Canadiens carried three goalies.  Dryden played 56 games, Michel Larocque played 25 games and Thomas played zero games.  Thomas spent the entire season watching, not even getting to play in the minors.  The Toronto Maple Leafs were so impressed by Thomas's season, that they traded a 1st round pick for him.  It looked great early, as Thomas played in the All-Star game in his first season in Toronto.  Eventually Thomas lost the #1 job in Toronto and would eventually get picked up on waivers by the New York Rangers.

1981-82 OPC Steve Weeks (RC)
  Steve Weeks got his first OPC card in the 1982-83 set, his next card was in 1989-90.  I wonder if that gap is a record.  He played 18 or more games in every season in between.  He played for 6 different teams in a thirteen year career.  Perhaps the quietest 13 year goalie career that I know of.  At least for a guy who played in an era that I watched hockey.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    First of all great cards, the way OPC/Topps should of made them. This is my first time on your site. In saying that and this is probably a dumb question but can your reboot cards be bought? If so how does one do this.
    Thanks, all the best..