My parents are in the process of moving out of the area. That means hauling my butt to their house and cleaning out things from long ago. Boxes of high school stuff, piles of old hockey equipment to shift through. In the back of their work room was a gathering of old hockey sticks. I knew they were there, I just didn't pay much attention to them.
My mother pulled them all out and told me to go through them. There were two sticks that were signed by players. I never really looked at them closely enough but I threw them in a corner to be looked at another time. I took what good sticks I had left to take home and use for later.
This past weekend I had a chance to take a closer look at both signed sticks. The chicken scratches were hard to decipher until on one of the sticks I saw P. Bondra #12. Clear as day. I scratched my eyes and slowly started to read the numbers down the stick. #6 Calle Johansson, #17 Mike Ridley. The names were hard to read, the names resembled former Capitals next to their assigned numbers. #31 Don Beaupre, #8 Ken Sabourin.
This stick itself was manufactured by Victoriaville with the name M. Lalor stamped on the side. Mike Lalor was a Capital for only two seasons until he was traded to Winnipeg in the 91-92 season. I realized the stick had been signed by Capitals in either of those two years. Most likely the 90-91 season when Sabourin wore number 8 (the next season, Dmitri Khristich would wear #8). The stick was a lefty.
What was to be just trash turned out to be a pretty neat souvenir saved from the depths of my parents' work room. The other stick was a right handed Titan (the exact kind Gretzky played with in his day). It was signed by different members of the Billings Bighorns, a minor hockey team out of Montana (I also found Bighorns' jerseys and a few pucks). I am tracking down some of the names and since most are unreadable it's hard to find out who and what year the stick was signed.
Former Capitals Mike Eagles and Bob Rouse (in 71 games Rouse accumulated 209 PIMs in 81-82) got their early starts for my home town Billings Bighorns back in the 80's*. Some other big names to come out of the Big Sky State that played for the Bighorns were Andy Moog (Moog played two season in Billings playing 46 games in 79-80 with a 3.67 GAA and .902 save percentage), Randy Moller (who played most of his career in a Nordique sweater), Dave Barr (played for the Red Wings in the late 80's), Rod Buska (Penguin draft pick in '81), Lindsay Carson (Flyers player in the 80's) and Pat Conacher (played for the Devils and Kings and was an assistant coach for the Coyotes in the early 2000's) just to name a few.
Both sticks are being handled with white gloves and I am looking at investing some glass cases.
- Blackhawks' Patrick Kane was arrested over a scuffle for $.20. That's right, he punched a cabbie when he didn't have 20 cents for change. Really? Are we being that frugal? Kane apparently couldn't let the 20 cents slide and his cousin and him took out their frustrations on the poor Cabbie. Dude, let it slide.
- The drama in Tampa Bay has not stemmed much, the infighting between the owners puts the whole organization on unstable ground. Now Gary Bettman has stepped in and has set up a buy out plan for the owners in where both can buy out the other for sole ownership. Besides the Coyotes' ownership craziness, this is the best Soap Opera on this summer.
- Canada could care less about injuring their junior players. Coaches will not let up on the intesity of camp for their young players even though a player suffered a broken collar bone in the Red/White game. They must figure that they have enough youth to fill in the gaps if a few get thrown under the bus.