Friday, March 1, 2019

Jamie Macoun: Two Autographed Cards

It feels good to finally see the Calgary Flames near the top the NHL standings, 30 years after their last Presidents Trophy (and Stanley Cup) in my youth.

One of the important members of those strong 1980s Flames was Jamie Macoun, who could have had a stellar career as a point-collecting defenseman due to his size, speed and strength, but instead forged himself a reputation as one of the best shut-down defensemen in the league on the team's second pairing, with Ric Nattress. Between 1986-87 and 1990-91, his plus-minus read as follows: +33, +40, +34, and +29.

He missed the entire 1987-88 season after a car accident that first responders initially thought had been fatal, as he lost control of his vehicle, swerved into oncoming traffic on the other side of the highway, initiated a head-on collision, turned upside-down and skidded the length of a hockey rink (some 200 feet) on its roof; it took 45 minutes to get Macoun out of the vehicle because his arm was pinned underneath it, and the nerve damage was so bad that doctors gave him a 50-50 chance of ever being able to use it again - playing hockey was pretty much out of the question at that point, yet he returned. He pleaded guilty to charges of reckless driving and was fined.

The 1989-90 Flames team was probably the best team the franchise ever iced, although it finished second overall, a year after finishing first and winning the Cup. Its top two centers each passed the 90-point mark (Joe Nieuwendyk had 95, Doug Gilmour was a close second with 91); one of the greatest Russian forwards of all time (Sergei Makarov) won the Calder Trophy as Rookie Of The Year with 86 points after crossing the Atlantic Ocean; Gary Roberts (39), Joe Mullen (36) and Theoren Fleury (31) each passed the 30-goal mark; Paul Ranheim (26) and Brian MacLennan (20) each reached the 20-goal plateau; Joel Otto and Jan Hrdina's two-way play were both Selke-worthy; Al MacInnis (90) and Gary Suter (76) both posted point-per-game performances from the blue line; Macoun (+34), Dana Murzyn (+19) and Brad McCrimmon (+18) were all tremendous on the penalty kill; and Mike Vernon and Rick Wamsley were both dependable between the pipes, with Vernon coming off a Conn Smythe-worthy performance in the previous playoffs.

His career took a turn when he was part of one of the biggest (and lopsided) trades of my lifetime, as he was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs with Gilmour, Nattress, Wamsley and prospect Kent Manderville for Craig Berube, Alexander Godynyuk, Gary Leeman, Michel Petit and backup goalie Jeff Reese. He helped the Leafs (along with Gilmour and a young Félix Potvin) reach the 1993 Conference Finals, falling to Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings, who themselves ultimately lost to the Montréal Canadiens.

He ended his career by playing just over a season for the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Cup in his first quarter-season with the team and finished first overall for his final season.

He returned to Calgary after retiring, running and co-owning a real estate firm; he also owned a stuffed toy store with his wife early in his career, and a Ford dealership in Ontario in his Leaf days. He is smart and business-savvy, but also affable, a quality that comes in handy as the head of the Flames' Alumni Association.

He was also an unquestioned leader, and was part of a rotation of team captains in 1990-91, as can be attested by the two cards below, starting with #38 from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 1 set:
And there is also card #504 from Score's 1991-92 Score (Canadian Edition) set:
Both show him wearing the team's classic red (then-away) uniform and sporting the captain's "C". He signed them in blue sharpie at an NHL Alumni game.

He also suited up for Team Canada four times, winning silver medals at the 1985 and 1991 World Championships.

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