FINALLY! The Finals!

Memorial Day… Unofficial start of the summer! We are also lead to believe it’s a good time to start the final round of the playoffs for what is ostensibly a winter sport (at least that’s what the IOC tells me).

I enjoy watching hockey, but I stopped following the NHL over 10 years ago.  One of many factors that plays into my loss of interest is the fact that they play 82 games over 6 months, and the outcome of all that hockey is that 14 teams – 46.67% of the league –  get eliminated and the remaining 16 get seeded.  Just like baseball, April is when the meaningful games begin.

Then the playoffs are a two month slog full of best-of-7 series, and the finals start at the end of May.  Each year, a subversive part of me hopes that the finals ends up being the worst two cities for hockey in June, perhaps Florida vs. Arizona.

So to sarcastically celebrate the end being in sight, I’d like to share several hockey cards I got from COMC.  …And no, there’s not a single Penguin nor Shark in the bunch.

…But that doesn’t mean I have no cards of Bay Area teams.  I wanted to get some cards of the original Oakland Seals uniforms, and got one of them with this Bob Dillabough card.
1969-70 OPC Hockey Bob Dillabough
I love the colors and the logo is so very very Sixties, but the overall look leaves something to be desired.

Bob Dillabough has the honor (?) of being selected in two NHL expansion drafts.  He was drafted by the Penguins from Boston in the 1967 draft, traded to Oakland in 1968 and then was drafted by the Canucks in 1970.  He never played with the Canucks, spent the next two seasons with in the minors, and then was on another expansion team of sorts, playing for the Cleveland Crusaders in the the inaugural season of the WHA.

This 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA card is an extinct team double header.  John Garrett is shown wearing a Minnesota Fighting Saints sweater, but the card lists him with the Birmingham Bulls.
1977-78 OPC WHA John Garrett
This photo of Garrett was something like 2 years old, if not more…  The Fighting Saints folded in March, 1976 and he was picked up by the WHA’s Toronto Toros.  After the season, the Toros moved to Birmingham, AL and became the Bulls (allowing them to leave their uniforms unchanged).  Garrett would later play for the Whalers (both WHA and NHL) as well as the Nordiques and Canucks.

Pete Stemkowski… in 3-D!!!!!
1970-71 OPC Hockey Pete Stemkowski
Stemmer was traded from the Red Wings to the Rangers early in the 1970-71 season.  His Topps card and first series OPC card list his team as the Rangers, but shows him in an airbrushed Red Wings uniform.  For the second series of O-Pee-Chee, they managed to get his photo from an ATM camera (had such things existed at the time, anyway).

The Original Colorado Rockies – accept  no substitutes! – had another twice-expansion-drafted guy!  What are the odds?
1977-78 OPC Hockey Dave Hudson
Dave Hudson was drafted by the Islanders off of the Black Hawks’ roster, and then later was drafted by the Kansas City Scouts, who would move to Denver and become the Rockies… but you know all about the Scouts and Rockies from my “Forgotten Franchises” posts, don’t you?

By the way, that photobombin’ Capital on Dave Hudson’s card is Bob Sirois.

Glenn “Chico” Resch spent a lot of time with the Islanders and Rockies, but he – GASP! – was NEVER part of an expansion draft! Say it ain’t so!
1977-78 Topps Hockey Glossy Insert Glenn Resch
This card is a Glossy insert to the 1977-78 Topps Hockey set. Borderless and glossy barely raises an eyebrow these days, but in the late 1970’s they were pretty damn cool.

After my rant at the beginning of the post, I decided to look back at the NHL from 50 years ago to see when the season and playoffs started and ended.  The 1965-66 season was the next-to-last season under the “Original Six” format.  The regular season ran from October 23rd to April 3rd – Not much different than today – and the playoffs ended May 5th with the Canadiens beating the Red Wings in six games.  Of course, the other side of it is that the regular season consisted of 70 games to eliminate two teams and determine the matchups of the other four… So I suppose it’s a long-held hockey tradition for the bulk of the league to make the postseason.


Shlabot-Notes:

The COMC “Spring Cleaning” promotion is starting on Friday! Many sellers will have discounts, and COMC is providing free shipping if you buy at least 20 items using store credit, ship between 6/3 and 6/5 and… aw hell, I’m not going to get it all right. Just read about it here.

I will be participating, but still I need to work out the details (true in so many aspects of my life).  More about my sale on Friday.

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5 thoughts on “FINALLY! The Finals!

  1. Great cards all around, love seeing the hockey cards getting some time in the spotlight. Also, thanks for the heads up on the COMC promotion, I hadn’t heard!

  2. The Stemkowski is definitely one of Topps hatchet jobs where the stuck his head on somebody else’s body.. They did it quite often with hockey cards from this era

    • I’d heard about Topps sticking the head of one player on the body of another, but I didn’t realize it would be be quite as odd as that. I bought this card because I remember Stemkowski from my father watching the Rangers in the 1970’s, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for more of these “hatchet jobs”. I wouldn’t mind adding a few more to my collection.

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