So Much For The Steelers… How About Some 1970’s Hockey?

I’ve been a Steelers fan since the 1980’s, and here is my post-game analysis: The 2014 Steelers weren’t very good to start with.  During the regular season they lost to the Buccaneers, Saints and Jets and were absolutely painful to watch at times. Are they a few players away from regaining glory? Do they need to clean house and start over? Hell if I know.

So how about some recent 1970’s hockey acquisitions? Sure, why not.

I grew up in a N.Y. Rangers household but would adopt the Capitals as my own team, and both teams were major factors in why I got this 1975-76 Topps card of Vic Hadfield.
1975-76 Topps Vic Hadfield
Hadfield spent 13 years with the Rangers, many of them during my formative years. After a 1974 trade he finished up his career with the Penguins.

I’ve started to acquire 1970’s hockey cards which have Capital cameos. One of these days I’ll finish the post I’ve been writing on that subject.

I love WHA cards just because the WHA has always seemed exotic to me… an entire league that I never saw evidence of beyond mentions in hockey magazines. This particular card, a 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee of Houston Aeros captain Terry Ruskowski, is just an awesome-for-the-1970’s action shot.
1977 78 OPC WHA Terry Ruskowski
Wikipedia says that Ruskowski is the only person in history to captain 4 different major professional hockey teams: The Aeros, Black Hawks, Kings and Penguins. I always take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, but that’s pretty impressive if true.

Update 1/5/15:  Thanks to Robert at $30 A Week Habit, we have confirmation through the L.A. Kings’ website that Ruskowski was captain for the Aeros, ‘Hawks, Kings & Pens.  Thanks Robert!

As I mentioned before, I spent a lot of my youth with the names of Rangers subliminally entering my subconscious. Gilles Gratton played just one season with the Rangers, but he apparently made some kind of impression on me.
1977 78 Topps Gilles Gratton
…It may have been his mask. Gilles Gratton’s goalie mask featured the face of a roaring tiger and is often mentioned when people talk about scary-looking goalie masks.

I don’t know how many people will understand the comparison, but I’ve always thought of Yvon Labre as the Ed Kranepool of Capitals hockey.
1976 77 OPC Yvon Labre

Growing up in the 1970’s as a fan of the Mets and Caps, the comparison was obvious.  Both players were original members of their teams, both played with that team for a relatively long time (7 years for Labre, 18 for Kranepool) and both wore #7.  The main difference is that Kranepool spent his entire career with the Mets, while Labre played two years with the Penguins before being picked up in the 1974 expansion draft.


11 thoughts on “So Much For The Steelers… How About Some 1970’s Hockey?

  1. Seeing Vic Hadfield in anything other than a Rangers uni is way beyond strange to me. I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen him on a non-Rangers card. It’s disturbing.

    Calling an athlete ‘gritty’ is a cliche but there is no other way to describe Terry Ruskowski. We loved the guy.

    • There was clearly a key photographer in the Washington area, because when I was poking through some 1970’s basketball cards I was amused to find a lot of the action shots featured the Washington Bullets as the home team.

      I don’t see myself trying to get every single Caps cameo card, but it’s definitely going to be a factor going forward.

    • While I’m old enough to remember the WHA, I was on Long Island at the time — as much of an NHL stronghold as you would’ve found in the U.S. The WHA was just some wannabe league that only got mentioned when players jumped ship. I never saw WHA cards until after the league was gone.

      • one of our local players, Lou Nistico, got drafted by the Toronto Toros of the WHA, and we watched them play each Saturday afternoon on TV. He was nothing special, would have been a low end NHL player anyway.
        the hockey was good, fast. Check out the WHA series with Russia in 1974….some good hockey.

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