It’s not Kate or Pippa, but it sure is Nifty

Young Rick was not on the Royal guest list. He is a Middleton, though, and sports a big diamond (cut).

Given that it’s now completely gone from the front pages, I can finally get around to doing my Royal Wedding post (I am nothing if not timely). 

Other than the fact that I’m not dead certain that Charles would look particularly good on our money, I don’t normally put a lot of thought to the Royals.  The wedding was a lot of fun, though, even when I saw it for the 38th time three days later.  (OK, it was a tad dull by then.)

There has been much talk about Kate, Pippa and the rest of the Middletons.  Oddly, they seem not to have been featured on trading cards (yet).  That leaves me with Rick.  I highly suspect Rick would not have looked good in either of the dresses we saw at the wedding.  Good thing he wasn’t invited.

This is Rick’s first card as a Bruin.  He’s rather young and his hair has not yet begun the migration from the top of his head to the top of his lip.  He was a tremendous player, though – great speed and great hands and he could handle the puck at full throttle.  They called him “Nifty.”  He scored one of the, well, niftiest goals I’ve ever seen.  Rick blows through a Quebec defenseman, half-losing the puck.  As he comes across the front of the crease he brings it from his back skate up to his stick and sweeps it around the goaltender.  At full speed, it’s amazing.  I looked for this online for years without finding it.  It’s part of this video below, starting at 1:30:

Rick was a first-rounder of the Rangers, sent to the Bruins in 1976 for a fading Ken Hodge.  A one-dimensional goal-scorer with the Rangers (-38 as a sophomore), the Bruins worked on him and made him into a complete player, equally dangerous on the power play or the penalty kill.  He became a constant 40-goal scorer and hit 50 in ’81-82, earning a spot on the second all-star team and winning the Lady Byng.  he played on a couple Canada Cup teams, scoring 8 points in the 1984 tournament.  He’d finish as the Bruins captain in 1987-88, scoring 448 goals and 988 points in 1008 games.

If Leaf fans ever wonder what a player like Kessel could mature into, Nifty could be a pretty good role model.

The HHOF writeup on Nifty is here.

They even called him nifty on the card back.

This entry was posted in OPC, Vintage Hockey and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s not Kate or Pippa, but it sure is Nifty

  1. Karina says:

    Kessel for Lady Bing?? I am holding you to this! 😛

  2. I’m sure I saw that goal v the Nords on an early Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em. Not surprisingly, Grapes is a huge “Nifty little Ricky Middleton” fan.

    • 1967ers says:

      It was on the first(?) Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em and was also in the closing credits for the old “Grapeline” TV show he had in the early/mid-80s. It was a better angle, too – lower to the ice.

  3. Wow I had never seen that goal against the Nordiques before, what a play!

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