Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Randy Moller: Two Autographed Cards

In keeping with my Month of Toughness, I thought it was time to go blue with former Québec Nordiques first-rounder (811th overall in 1981) Randy Moller.

First things first, he was a solid defender. His +/- statistics were usually among his team's best, such as his second-place on the Nords in 1984-85 (+29) and his team-leading +13 (yeah, sad), on the New York Rangers in 1990-91.

One of the reasons his +/- was so high despite never hitting the 30-point mark was that he was feared. While he could take the puck away and make a decent first pass, his main attributes were his shoulders, which delivered extremely hard hits, and his fists, which he used to bruise opponents' faces relatively often. Those attributes made the Battle of Québec (Nordiques versus the Montréal Canadiens) a much bloodier rivalry than its cousin Battle of Alberta.

And yet, he didn't necessarily look so tough or mean on card #297 from O-Pee-Chee's 1983-84 O-Pee-Chee set, which he signed in blue sharpie:
I assure you, however, that he was.

As the team entered the 1990s in a devastating rebuild, they sent him to the Rangers for fellow defensive defenseman Michel Petit, a local boy.

However, all the hits and fights started taking their toll, and with the Rangers, he only dressed for 60, 61 and 43 games in just under three seasons, leading them to trade him to the Buffalo Sabres (for Jay Wells), with whom he played for in 126 games over two seasons, including 78 in 1993-94, the year he posted his third-highest career penalty minutes totals, with 154 - but also his lowest full-season points total, with 13.

Of his days in New York, I have this signed card from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 1 set (card #163 in the series):
He signed with the Florida Panthers prior to the 1994-95 lockout-shortened season, but only suited up in 17 games before announcing his retirement, his body aching too much to continue playing.

Younger readers may remember him as the Panthers' radio play-by-play announcer, whose goals celebrations were often tinged with pop culture references:

He was so enjoyable that when a spot opened for him to be the team's TV colour commentator, he was the only possible choice.

He's also the obvious choice to represent #21 in my Nordiques Numbers Project.

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