Growing up, there were three numbers that stuck with me when it came to the NHL.
396, 21 and 80.
396 was the magic number when it came to the hobby. That's how many cards were issued in the yearly O-Pee-Chee product release. I remember making it my single winter goal to come up with all 396. Most of the time I came up short, but that number was etched.
21 was the number of teams in the NHL at the time. With the WHA disbanding in the late 70's and four teams coming over to the NHL (Edmonton, Hartford, Quebec and Winnipeg) the league expanded to 21 teams. I discovered the NHL in 1980 so 21 was all I ever knew (until the 90's arrived and ballooned that number to the current 30).
80 was the number of regular season games a team would play in the NHL. Why they grew it to 82 is beyond me. I think that there are too many games played in a year to begin with (with all the preseason and - for some - playoffs) the number could reach close to 100 tilts.
But it's that third number that has lead me to this installment of 'Did You Know'.
In both instances, they played a bunch of games for their first team of the year, then was traded mid-season to a team that hadn't played as many games.
While 86 seems like a lot, I'm kind of surprised that the record number isn't even higher.
Jimmy went on to suit up for 18 more games in the playoffs, helping the Kings go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals (sorry Leafs fans). But we all know what happened in that final series against the Habs (right Mr. McSorley)?
Sadly, that number won't be in jeopardy this season. Hitting the magic 40 mark might be a task in itself. (hint: let's go guys.....I'm ready to watch some hockey).
And now you know.
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