In this episode, a pack of 1991-92 Stadium Club hockey cards were opened. The writer remembered Randy Caryle - a Norris trophy-winning defenseman before her time who would go on to win a Stanley Cup as a coach - but did not know anything about Larry Robinson (who is also a Norris trophy-winning defenseman before her time who would go on to win a Stanley Cup as a coach.) That led to a comment that led to this post:
Wait a second...Larry Robinson saved the sport of hockey? My pre-Bettman era knowledge of the NHL is admittedly very limited, so I watched the grainy fight footage. It seems that at the time of this brawl, the NHL was at a crossroad. The Montreal Canadiens were the class of the league in the early 1970s and the late 1970s. In between, the Philadelphia Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups by bullying their opponents into submission. If they kept on winning, the rest of the league would be forced to match their brutality - Slap Shot style.
I wasn't born until that summer (and I didn't start watching hockey until the '90s) but I can appreciate the legendary lineup Les Habitants had in those years: Robinson, Serge Savard, and Guy Lapointe on defense. Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, Pete Mahovlich, Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire, Bob Gainey...and of course Ken Dryden in goal.
I've got a very small collection of Canadiens cards from this era, and now that I have an appreciation for Robinson's role in shaping hockey history I'll focus on his cards in particular.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Robinson finished his career with the Kings in 1992 - a year before L.A. lost to Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final.
I thought that Robinson's 1991-92 issues (like the Stadium Club card at the top) were his sunset cards, but he had one card in 1992-93 Bowman.
After his playing career ended, Robinson coached the Devils, Kings, and Sharks. Now a senior consultant with the St. Louis Blues, he has contributed to ten Stanley Cup championship clubs.
This is my most recent Robinson addition. It's one of 302 cards I just received in a blockbuster trade with TCDB user Shaw Racing. Most of them were set fillers and Packers of the 1990s, but I did select a few singles from 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee.
One more Robinson story I almost forgot: when I was in high school my best friends were friends with a big metalhead guy who wore dark, baggy clothes even when we played baseball. His name was - you guessed it - Larry Robinson. But this Larry Robinson was nicknamed "Sheep Dog", not "Big Bird". I'm not quite sure why.
I came across his Facebook profile some years ago, and his profile pic was Robinson's jersey:
Thanks for reading!