Monday, July 19, 2010


#19 -- Real Cloutier, Sabres

I don't think I ever saw him play during his career, but Real "Buddy" Cloutier is one of the guys that symbolizes early 1980s hockey for me: the insane WHA scoring totals, the ill-fitting eggshell helmet, the mustache. He was also one of the very first signatures I got in this set when I started collecting it, back in the 1990s.

Looking at those early '80s Nords teams, I'm amazed by the level of scoring talent they had -- the Stastnys three, Cloutier (when healthy), Goulet, Tardif, Dale Hunter, Wilf Paiement. At least in that end of the rink, they were up there with the best, but they never got up there to the Oilers/Islanders level.

Checking up on him for this post, I was amazed: Cloutier's career was over at age 29. I knew he flamed out of the NHL relatively quickly, but I figured a) he was a bit older, given those long years in the WHA, b) he went and bounced around Europe for a while, or c) both of the above. But no. 97 points in '81-'82, 67 in '82-'83, a trade to Buffalo and 60 in '83-'84, and the year that this card came out, zero in the NHL, 43 in the IHL/AHL combined, and that was that. Sabres Legends has a good writeup on him, giving some insight into what happened.

I got this one through the mail in the summer of 2010, probably about the fifth time I've got a copy of this card signed.