Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blaine Stoughton Autographed Card

The 70s and 80s in the NHL was a prime era for mustached men who could seemingly fly over the iced surface. I touched upon Michel Goulet's accomplishments here and here, but Goulet had to compete against behemoths of offensive production in the middle of the Gretzly-era Oilers and high-scoring 80s, so while he was always invited to All Star games and Rendez-Vous 87, he never won a scoring title.

Blaine Stoughton did. In the NHL, too, not the WHA (he played for the Whalers in both). It was the 1979-80 season, a season in which the Philadelphia Flyers went 35 games without losing a single game, in which Wayne Gretzky and Marcel Dionne tied for the league lead with 137 points but Dionne got the Art Ross trophy for having scored more goals, while Gretzky scored the Hart; despite being a rookie, Gretzky wasn't allowed to win the Calder trophy for having previously played in the WHA. It was also the season where wearing a helmet became mandatory in the NHL.

But back to Stoughton: he scored 56 goals that year, to lead the league, tied with the Los Angeles Kings' Charlie Simmer. Unfortunately for them, the Rocket Richard trophy was not yet in place, so they didn't win any hardware for their feat.

In less politically correct times, he was also on a line called the ''LSD Line'' with Rick Dudley and Rich Leduc, for the Cincinnati Stingers. More importantly, though, he played his junior career with the Flin Flon Bombers, in Manitoba. Flin Flon, yes. One of Canada's best names for towns, with Medecine Hat and Thunder Bay. He was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, where he shared the spotlight with such legends as Terry Sawchuk, Bryan Hextall, Andy Bathgate and Bobby Clarke.

And to think he was drafted by the Québec Nordiques in the WHA draft... would have made for some interesting early 80s!

This card was originally purchased with hundreds of others at a flea market, in a grab-bag of old cards; it's a 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee card (by Topps, card #132) and shows him wearing the Hartford Whalers' first away jersey in the NHL; I had no idea who this guy was, but I liked his mustache and thought the jersey looked retro (I was used to the late-80s improved version). Years later, in 2005, I went to a card convention in Toronto and he was a guest signer, and I knew I'd seen his name somewhere before... so I looked through all my cards and found it. His line was one of the shortest (barely 15 minutes of wait time when, say, Darryl Sittler had over 3 hours), and most people didn't even have a picture or card for him to sign, he was just signing 3x5 blank pieces of cardboard... I was glad I had the card. In all honesty, though, I'd gone to the thing for Cam Neely, who was there for his Hall of Fame induction, but his line-up was way too long and I didn't bother. Plus, I only had a Panini sticker for him to sign. And he was a former Bruin. And he didn't have facial hair. No regrets!

1 comment:

  1. Ah being 38 years old, that card brings me back to my childhood, cool!