a img { display:none; } a:hover img { display:block; } -->

Thursday, March 21, 2013

1981-82 OPC Reboot: Leafs and Canucks

Toronto Maple Leafs

  The Toronto Maple Leafs finished in last place in the Adams Division, which was good enough for a play-off spot.  In 1980-81, the NHL would rank the teams by points and the top 16 made the play-offs.  The Leafs rode a five game unbeaten streak into the play-offs, just to be swept in three games by the New York Islanders.  The Islanders outscored the Leafs 20 to 4.  The Leafs used five different goalies in the regular season and three in the play-offs. 

Rk             Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1           Jiri  Crha   G  30 54 20 20  11 211 4.07  0 3112
2      Jim  Rutherford   G  31 18  4 10   2  82 5.12  0  961
3     Michel  Larocque   G  28  8  3  3   2  40 5.22  0  460
4         Curt  Ridley   G  29  3  1  1   0  12 5.81  0  124
5    Vincent  Tremblay   G  21  3  0  3   0  16 6.71  0  143
           Team Total          80 28 37  15 361 4.51  0 4800

1981-82 OPC #315 - Jiri Crha (RC)

  Jiri Crha was clearly the best Leafs goalie in the 1980-81 regular season, but when the topic is the worst Leafs goalie ever, his name tends to get mentioned.  It might have more to do with his last few games with the Leafs.  In 65 play-off minutes in 1981, he allowed 11 goals, for a 10.15 GAA.  In fact, he golds the record for highest GAA in a single play-off for a goalie who ever played more the 60 minutes.  Crha would never play another NHL game.  Crha's OPC card was the inspiration for this reboot.

1981-82 OPC #319 - Michel "Bunny" Larocque

  Michel Larocque shared the Vezina Trophy from the 1980-81 season.  He didn't share it with his Leafs teammates, he won it with his Canadiens teammates.  Larocque had a 3.03 GAA with the Canadiens, but with the Leafs, he had a 5.23 GAA.  For his career, he had a 2.83 GAA with Montreal, and a 4.87 GAA while playing for other teams.  One thing he did have, was a cool mask.  His 1982-83 OPC card is a contender for card of the year.

Bonus Leafs

1981-82 OPC Vincent Trembley(RC)

  Vincent Trembley posted a 6.71 GAA while losing all three games he played.  For that, the Leafs believed he was good enough to share the goalie duties the following season.  One of his career highlights of his career is a 4-0 shutout versus the Philadelphia Flyers on November 14th, 1981.  Other than that, he was the typical 80's Maple Leafs goalie - bad.

1981-82 OPC Curt Ridley

  Curt Ridley is best known as a Vancouver Canuck.  Ridley was traded to the Leafs in Febraury of 1980.  Ridley suffered a season ended injury in his third game as a Leaf.  A slapshot from the blueline went off his index finger in his catching hand.  It is notable since Jiri Crha would have to come off the bench to play, making him the first goalie to have ever defected from Europe and play in the NHL.  Ridley would play three more games the following season before retiring in 1982. 

1981-82 OPC Paul Harrison

  The Islanders were beating the Leafs so bad in the play-offs, that the Leafs brought in a goalie who had spent the entire season in the minors to stop the bleeding.  Paul Harrison had spent the entire 1980-81 season in the minors before getting called up by the Leafs.  Too bad he didn't play the entire series, he only allowed one goal in 40 minutes compared to 19 the other goalies had allowed in 140 minutes.  Perhaps he played great, or perhaps the Islanders grew tired of scoring.

1981-82 OPC Jim Rutherford

  Jim Rutherford was traded twice during the 1980-81 season.  He finished the season with Los Angeles, so he really shouldn't have a Maple Leafs card in this reboot.  He played 18 games for the Maple Leafs sandwiched between time with the Detroit Red Wings and LA Kings.  I had to include him because of his funky mask.  What is that on his face?  It's not a maple leaf.  Unless it is a maple leaf that is in the process of being cut in half.  A deformed maple leaf?  A sign of things to come for the Leafs of the 1980s.  That is one ugly mask.  

Vancouver Canucks

    1980-81 was the beginning of King Richard's reign as the top goalie in Vancouver.  Although it wouldn't be until the 1982 play-offs run that he'd make a name for himself.  While the Canucks goal tending was middle of the pack, they had the fifth worse offence in the league and were the only team in the NHL not to have a player score 70 points.  Thomas Gradin led the team with 69 points.  Noteworthy was Tiger Williams 35 goals and 343 PIM, becoming the first player to accomplish a 30-300 season.

Rk            Player Pos Age GP  W  L T/O  GA  GAA SO  MIN
1    Richard  Brodeur   G  28 52 17 18  16 177 3.51  0 3024
2       Gary  Bromley   G  31 20  6  6   4  62 3.80  0  978
3        Glen  Hanlon   G  23 17  5  8   0  59 4.44  1  798
          Team Total          80 28 32  20 298 3.72  1 4800

1981-82 OPC #331 - Richard Brodeur

  Brodeur was a star in the WHA for th Quebec Nordiques, but when the WHA merged with the NHL, his rights were held by the New York Islanders.  The Quebec Nordiques claimed Brodeur as a priority selection, only to trade his rights back to the Islanders for another goalie, Goran Hogosta.   Stuck behind two All-Star goalies in Billy Smith and Chico Resch, Broduer would only appear in two games before being traded to the Canucks in the offseason prior to the 1980-81 season.   Brodeur would be the #1 goalie in Vancouver for seven season before being traded to Hartford in 1988.

1981-82 OPC #336 - Glen Hanlon

  Wayne Gretzky scored over 800 NHL goals, but you always remember your first and Wayne Gretzky will always remember Glen Hanlon.  Hanlon would go onto play 477 career NHL games with four different franchises.  Since retiring, Hanlon made a career in coaching.  He coached the Washington Capitals in the NHL and the national teams for Slovaki and Belarus.  In 2006, he was named sportsman of the year by a Belarus newspaper.

Bonus Canucks

1981-82 OPC Gary Bromley

  This is the scariest card in the reboot.  Seriously, look at that guy with the beard in the background.  Must have serial killer night at the old Pacific Coliseum.  Gary Bromley's mask is a classic.  The best skull mask ever in the NHL.  I had a pretty sweet TTM return from Bromley in 2011.  1980-81 would be Bromley's final season in the NHL, after a year in the minors, he retired in 1982.

No comments:

Post a Comment