Sunday, January 24, 2016

1980-81 Washington Capitals Guy Charron Jersey

Center Guy Charron, born on this date in 1949, began his road to the NHL with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens by scoring 27 goals and 54 points during the 1968-69 season. His next stop was with the Montreal Voyageurs of the American Hockey League, where he played 65 games, scoring 37 goals and 82 points. He would also play an additional 8 playoff games, scoring 8 goals and 12 points.

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Charron with the Voyageurs in 1969-70

His impressive AHL season also earned him his his first taste of the NHL, having been called up to the Montreal Canadiens for 5 games.

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Charron broke into the NHL with Montreal

For the 1970-71 season, Charron found it tough to crack the loaded Canadiens lineup. He divided his time between the AHL's Voyageurs (23 games) and the parent Canadiens, where he saw action in 15 games before a blockbuster trade saw him included with Mickey Redmond and Bill Collins in exchange for Frank Mahovlich.

Charron would play 24 games with Detroit to finish out the year and spend four more seasons with the Red Wings, but unfortunately for Charron, he would arrive during the era of the "Dead Wings", as Detroit would only make the playoffs once between his arrival in 1970-71 and 1982-83.

After getting his Detroit career off to a slow start, with just 17 combined goals during his first two seasons with the Red Wings. His game started to come around with 18 goals and 36 points in 1972-73 followed by a 25 goal 55 point season in 1973-74.

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Charron spent five season with the Red Wings

While the Red Wings were one of the two worst teams in 1970-71, they were far from the worst in 1971-72. Unfortunately, they played in the stacked Eastern Conference, which comprised five of the established Original 6 teams (Boston, New York Rangers, Montreal, Toronto and Detroit) plus the expansion Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks. League rules stipulated that the top four teams from each conference would advance to the playoffs. Detroit finished fifth in the East with 76 points, four back of fourth place Toronto's 80. Meanwhile the St. Louis Blues (67 points) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (66 points) both advance to the postseason by finishing 3rd and 4th in the weaker West despite Detroit having 9 more points than the Blues and 10 more than the Penguins.

The situation was even more frustrating for the Red Wings in 1972-73, as they finished with 86 points, 2 back of fourth place Buffalo, the final qualifier from the East but with more points than the Minnesota North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers (both with 85) and St. Louis, 10 less at 76.

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During Charron's five seasons with Detroit, the Red Wings never advanced
to the postseason, thanks in part to the NHL system in place at the time

Charron got off to a slow start during the 1974-75 season, with just one goal and 11 points in 26 games before a trade in mid-December saw him dealt to the expansion Kansas City Scouts where he played 51 games, scoring 42 points, good for second on the club despite giving his teammates a 30 game head start.

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Charron was dealt to the expansion Kansas City Scouts

Charron led the Scouts in scoring in 1975-76 by a mile with 27 goals and 71 points in 78 games, 28 points more than his closest teammate. After Simon Nolet was traded during the season, Charron was elevated to the Scout's team captain. Despite Charron's efforts, if the playoff picture in Detroit was unfortunate, the situation in Kansas City was simply unrealistic as they finished over 35 points out of the playoffs and next to last in the NHL, ahead of only their expansion cousins the Washington Captials.

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Charron in the latter half of  1975-76 after becoming the Scouts captain

With his contract having come to an end Charron chose to sign with... the Capitals. The only team worse than the Scouts.

Similar to his previous season with Kansas City, Charron led the Capitals in scoring with a career high 82 points in 80 games, with his 36 goals placing him in the top ten in the league and 18 points better than his next closest teammate. His fine season earned him a spot in the 1977 NHL All-Star Game.

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While the Capitals improved by 30 points in the standings, they were still nearly 20 points out of a playoff position. With his season over early, Charron made his Canadian National Team debut with 1 games at the 1977 World Championships during Canada's return to the World Championships after withdrawing from international hockey in 1970.

Charron next set a career high in goals in 1977-78 with 38 with his 73 points leading the club in scoring again, this time by a dozen points. He also returned to the World Championships, this time playing in 9 games for the Canadians.

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He dropped to second in team scoring with 70 points behind new arrival Dennis Maruk in 1978-79, the year he was named Washington's team captain. Still, the pair were not enough to lift Washington into a playoff position. The Capitals failure to qualify for the playoffs  allowed Charron to play in his third consecutive World Championships for Canada.

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Charon wore the Maple Leaf for Canada on three occasions

Charron's next two seasons were derailed by injuries. He was limited to 33 games in 1979-80, yet still averaged nearly a point per game while healthy with 31, but a leg injury ended his consecutive games streak for Washington at 245. 1980-81 was the final season of his NHL career and Charron was limited to 47 games and his offensive production dropped to just 5 goals and 18 points.

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His final NHL totals were 221 goals and 309 assists for 530 points, which saw Charron set the unfortunate NHL career record for Most Regular Season Games Played Without Appearing in an NHL Playoff Game with 734.

After playing the next two seasons with EHC Arosa in Switzerland, Charron returned to North America for 2 regular season games with the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL at the end of their regular season, followed by the rarefied air of 12 playoff games, which was his first postseason action since the 1969-70 season with the Voyageurs, also of the AHL, 13 years earlier.

Charron's record has since been surpassed - sort of. Both Jay Bouwmeester (750) and Olli Jokinen (799) surpassed Charron's record, but both of those players subsequently qualified for the playoffs at some point in their careers, so Charron still remains the player with the most games and no playoff appearances.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980-81 Washington Capitals Guy Charron jersey from his final season in the NHL, which pushed his streak of games without a playoff appearance to 734.

The Capitals introduced this style when they entered the NHL in 1974-75, first paired with white pants, a poor idea that did not last very long. The names on the back were reduced from two color to one in 1979-80 and the stars on the sleeves grew in size in 1980-81. Also in 1980-81, the letters on the back of the jerseys for the names were widely spaced apart.

The Sandow SK logo on the back of the jersey suggests this was worn during the preseason when the Capitals traveled to Sweden for the Dagens Nyheter Cup, which they won in 1980, as during the regular season the team wore jerseys with Maska branding on the back. Additionally, the sleeve numbers on Charron's jersey are pushed up into the red shoulder area on today's featured jersey, something not seen on the Maska regular season jerseys.

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Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1974-75 Kansas City Scouts Guy Charron jersey from the Scouts first season of play. Playing only two seasons in Kansas City did not leave much time for jersey variations, but their second season saw a yellow outline added to the crest to help it separate from the blue background better and the white home jerseys had names added during their second and final season.

Kansas City Scouts 74-75 jersey, Kansas City Scouts 74-75 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1977 Canada National Team Guy Charron jersey. This unusual, garish style was first worn in 1977 when Canada returned to the international hockey stage following their refusal to compete with teams of strictly amateur players in the face of the full time, much older, "amateurs" of the communist Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, a boycott which began with the World Championships in 1970. This style was worn for three seasons through 1979.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

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