Nothing too heavy on this Christmas Eve / Ashura +8 / Hanukkah +14 / Kwanzaa -2 / Pancha Ganapati / Bodhi Day +16 / Not-Important Day (Atheism)...
Researching for my upcoming posts always brings up tidbits of information that make me say things like "Oh, it would be fun to talk about this," or "That's random, I know two people who would like this if I Facebook'd it," or "Nobody cares but you." Rather than take the chance that the latter of these three is the case (and cause readers to suffer), I'm going to toss them to you like delightful or mundane little bits of candy:
Greg Joly is almost always one of the names mentioned when a writer decides to precede the NHL Draft with a Top 10 list of NHL draft busts. But did you know he was selected first overall by another professional league that same year? The WHA held a "secret" amateur draft in 1974, in order to try and get an edge on negotiation with junior players. The NHL did likewise via conference call, even drafting too-young players, and in the process made the draft such a frustrating, prolonged activity that Punch Imlach famously created a fictional Japanese player named Taro Tsujimoto and drafted him. Despite the secrecy, the Phoenix Roadrunners in the WHA and Washington Capitals in the NHL both felt that Joly was the best amateur player available and picked him first overall.
A couple more after the jump...
Had enough of me talking about Russian hockey?
CSKA Moscow (aka Red Army) has long been considered the top team in Russian/Soviet hockey, and much is made about the dominance of the Tretiak-Mikhailov-Kharlamov-Balderis-Petrov teams in the 1970s and the Makarov-Larionov-Krutov-Fetisov-Kasatonov teams of the 1980s. What would the CSKA team have looked like in the 1990s? Possibly their best team yet. Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny, Sergei Zubov, Vladimir Malakhov, Valeri Kamensky, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Andrei Kovalenko, Sergei Krivokrasov, Sergei Brylin, Vladimir Konstantinov, Nikolai Khabibulin, and Valeri Bure would have joined the Makarov-Larionov-Fetisov nucleus during that period. Surely they would have dominated Russian hockey throughout the decade and well into the 2000s. Maybe we would have created a Tretiak-like reverence for Khabibulin as well.
This is probably just beating a dead horse, but how about that Campbell Conference?
In 1981-82, the Campbell Conference had just two teams with winning records, the North Stars and Oilers, while the Wales had 7. In other words, the Campbell had just 22.2% of the winning records in the league. In fact, from 1970-71 onward, the conference with fewer winning records only had less than 1/3 of the total winning records 5 times; three of those times were in the 1980s, with the Campbell Conference holding the short end of the stick. Over the whole of the 1980s, the Campbell had 37.5% of the winning records, and only had more winning records than the Wales once, in 1979-80. I blame the Oilers.
Feel free to use these while roasting chestnuts over your stainless steel range. And for chrissakes, if your wife/husband/significant other tells you to wear the sweater with snowflakes on it, just wear the frickin' thing. Hell hath no fury like a wintry sweater scorned; besides, you check your dignity at the door when you agree to family photos.