Thursday, May 14, 2009

Il Ne Porte Pas De Masque

Yea, we know this is supposed to be a hockey jersey blog and it's not even a week old and here we go off the tracks already, but with today being the birthday of Lorne "Gump" Worsley, we simply cannot let the occasion pass by without taking the opportunity to post our all time favorite hockey card.

It's a Topps 1971-72 card #241, and it's a thing of beauty.

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No, it's not glossy, it's not centered and it looks like it may have been cut out of the sheet of cards with a rusty scissors, but how can you look at that card and not smile? Even the curved font for team name seems to mimic his happy smile. We love this card so much we even printed it on a t-shirt.

Not all the cards in the 72-72 Topps set look quite this bad either. The 
Penguins for example, made out good, getting a festive red background with yellow type for the team name, while the Blackhawks must have had a fan on the design team, walking away with a nice light blue with red type. But not the North Stars. Oh no...

Pink.

Tough, macho hockey pink. With garishly jarring green type. Yea, the Maple Leafs also got pink, but a darker, more menacing pink with a complimentary yellow team name. But when it came time for the North Stars, the designers looked at their color chart and realized they had crossed off all the other color combinations and what was left was baby girl pink paired with forest green. Bleah. How horrible is that?

Then, just check out the photo of the happy Gumper! Does that simply rock or what? You just want to buy that guy a beer. This man is feeling no pain and has life by the tail. Perhaps it was too many shots to the head, what with Gump being one of the last holdouts to actually not wear a mask while playing goal.

Yea, for you youngsters out there, read that again slowly to make sure you comprehend what you just heard. The man played goalie in the NHL against the likes of Bobby Hull without wearing a mask. For years. 24 years in total, winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year on a last place team, 2 Vezina Trophies as the League's Best Goaltender, 4 Stanley Cups and eventual election into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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But here's the funny part. This seemingly fearless man who faced some of the most wicked slapshots coming off the unregulated curved sticks of the time was afraid to fly. You'd think that if he was going to have a fear, it might be the obvious one coming at his face.

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Gump Worsley tended goal for the North Stars during the first ever NHL game we attended as a kid back in early 70's in a game vs. the Los Angeles Kings, and for that reason alone he will always have a soft spot in our hearts, but being the subject matter of the greatest hockey card of all time doesn't hurt either. Not like a puck to the face.

Today's featured jersey is a 1969-70 Minnesota North Stars Gump Worsley jersey. The North Stars started out with essentially this same jersey in 1967. After a false start saw them drop the lace up collar worn at the very start of their existence, the North Stars added the white shoulder yoke in 1968-69 and would continue to wear this style through the 1974-75 season, by which time Worsley had retired.

Minnesota North Stars 69-70 jersey

Today's video section is the wonderful Legends of Hockey profile of Gump Worsley.



Dasherboard: Well that certainly sucked. Here we were expecting some edgeoftheseat non-stop action, dramatic finish, classic winner-take-all Game 7 battle between the games two brightest stars.

And instead of a full size Snickers™ bar, we got a rock.


Pulled after 4 goals on 18 shots, Simeon Varlamov came crashing back down to Earth last night and the Penguins move on to face the winner of Boston and Carolina's Game 7. Sidney Crosby certainly showed his immense skills last night on the first goal of the game, calmly collecting the puck on his skate and deftly moving it to his stick with the kind of foot skills usually only found with a European player who grew up playing soccer throughout his entire upbringing. A very impressive play and evidence that for the superstar players, the game seemingly happens in slow motion, giving them the time to calmly make plays other's can't.

The more we think about it, the more we want Detroit to beat Anaheim. We think that a Detroit/Chicago series would be much more entertaining with both teams playing pure hockey with minimal nonsense after the whistle. The renewal of an Original Six rivalry is also very appealing to us as well, rather than Anaheim trying to pound Chicago's youngsters into submission with intimidation and fear, scoring only as much as they need to once their opponent has been softened up sufficiently. Yuk.

1 comment:

  1. It might be worth noting that during the season following that card's release - 1971-72 - the Gumper was the starting goalie for the West team in the All-Star Game, which was played in Minnesota. I was lucky enough to be there, and Gump got the second-loudest standing ovation I've ever heard. (The loudest came during a Paul McCartney concert when Paul said, "Let's hear it for John [Lennon].")

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