Friday, December 28, 2012

A visit to Clark's hockey card collection

With the current "work stoppage" (the second one in eight years) that has resulted in no NHL games being played so far this season, I've been missing hockey something awful. Between my writing gig at Raw being on hold for the time being and just being a fan in general, there is definitely a void in my life right now, and finding a substitute to fill that void has not been easy. Football is okay but I really don't care that much about it. Basketball, I don't care about at all. I love baseball, but we're still months away from that getting started. Nostalgia has sent me to my card collection, some of which I'd like to share with you today. Behold these keepsakes produced at a time when hockey was hockey, cards were collectible and men looked like... this.

In many ways, the Boston Bruins Derek Sanderson epitomizes what hockey players looked like and actually were in the '70s. "F*ck you" and whatever sound a fist connecting with your face makes were the only two appropriate answers to "Don't you think you need a shave and a haircut?" 

But not for everybody. In the early '70s, you still had guys that looked like Butch Goring of the Los Angeles Kings. With a part that looks like it was put there by a laser beam, you'd better goddamn believe Butch's haircut voted for Nixon, even though he couldn't (because he was Canadian).

If Butch's no-nonsense expression and even no-nonsensier haircut presents him as a father figure, the Minnesota Fighting Saints (WHA) Mike Antonovich's appearance suggests he could be his dipshit son, out in the driveway toiling over his re-built Camaro, learning to cover Foghat tunes with his buddies in the basement or otherwise embarrassing his dad in front of the neighbors.

With his 'fro perm and his puka shell necklace, the Minnesota North Stars Ernie Hicke could actually be in style again today! In fact, if he had on a stupid hat, some nerd glasses and an ironic t-shirt, it would be impossible to tell if this picture was taken in 1975 or last Wednesday.

Who remembers one of Dan Aykroyd's least popular recurring characters from Saturday Night Life, Rosaire Paiement of the WHA's Chicago Cougars?

Dunc Wilson looks like he'd be as comfortable in a rock band that features a lot of flute solos as he would be in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers Pat Hickey's sly grin and Ziggy Stardust 'do suggest he knows exactly where the spiders from Mars were.

For whatever reason (fear of being perceived as less than masculine), people in sports have a huge problem with going bald. One of the least effective "remedies" is the combover. In this card, Al Smith of the Buffalo Sabres displays what is probably the worst and least convincing combover in the history of heads. "Not only am I not bald, I have long, flowing locks, like that of a Norse god!" No Al, what you've go is a thatch of greasy, thinning hair that starts right above your left ear and would probably reach your left elbow if you didn't flop it over the top.

Okay, okay. The yellow L.A. Kings uniform. The golden mane of hair, the name Whitey Widing. We get it. Hockey is was/is not exactly, um, culturally diverse.

Remember Dunc WIlson's Jethro Tull-esque prog rock band? Meet his lead singer, Brian Spencer of the Buffalo Sabres.

Bob Paradise was a guy just biding his time with the Washington Capitals, enjoying the life of an NHL defenseman. Then 1978 came along and Bob's world suddenly opened a panacea of new opportunities. Because that's when Eddie Money released the single "Two Tickets to Paradise", giving Bob the license to drop the line, "Hey baby, I got two tickets to me" in every singles bar along the Beltway, undoubtedly with more success than not.


Clare said...

These are, without a doubt, the whitest people I have seen in, like, ever.

Also, the T-shirt would have to be self-consciously ironic.

And if I were a robot, you can bet my programmers would have written code that allows me to read a computer screen and type the random letters I see. Like Heimy from Get Smart.

Nancy Pacini said...

Ahhhh....Derek Sanderson. The reason 13 year-old me became a hockey fan. (really)