Monday, July 31, 2006


This week it is the Great and Mighty Borje Salming.
Damn, I used to have this card! Salming was my first hockey hero. I can remember watching Hockey Night in Canada as a kid in the late 70's, and seeing Salming break out of his zone with that burst of speed. He was a great powerplay quarterback, and made the great breakout passes out of his zone as well.

Salming changed the concept of how westerners viewed Swedish hockey players. We used to call them the 'Swedish Chickens.' But Salming was the first to prove us wrong. Mats Sundin called Salming a 'trailblazer for Swedish hockey players'

Salming was one of the first Swedes to play in the NHL. He was signed as a free agent in 1973 (out of Sweden. He is the first Swede to be inducted into the Hall of Fame..(like that Temujin??)

He played from 1973 to 1989. He finished his career with 1148 games played, 150 goals, 637 assists, and had 49 points in 81 playoff games for the Leafs.

In 1989 he was acquired by the Red Wings as a free agent, but only played 49 games with the Wings before retiring from the NHL. He then played three more years in Sweden with AIK Solna.

Funny Facts: *Salming has his own line of underwear called Salming Underwear! Oh Geeza!
*Apparently, Salming was also suspended during the 86/87 season for admitting he had tried cocaine 6 years earlier at a party. Borje.....deny deny deny!!!!


At July 31, 2006 at 9:47 a.m. , Blogger reality check said...

Salming set a standard for European players that a whole shitload of Swedish chickens undid afterwards. There weren't a whole lot of Euros skating in the NHL during Salmings years. He was the trailblazer you state thought, come 1989 the floodgates for all kinds of Eurofowl were opened with every team league wide signing squawkers of all nationalities.

Harold Ballard liked him as a player but never quite warmed to him as a person. That's likely why he suspended him after the cocaine admission. The tight old bastard also wanted to fine him but couldn't due to the absense of any league policy.

My favorite Salming highlight was when he had his face Zorroed by another players skate, slashing him open like a geiser. He needed something near a hundred stitches to close the gushing gash. he didn't miss a game and was back the very next night. talk about guts.

Another Swedish trailblazer was Mats Naslund, all 5'7', 175 lbs of him. He proved that a little foreigner can go a long way. He was on the '86 Cup Champs and paved the way for guys such as Hakan Loob and a whole lot of others pasties that followed.

At July 31, 2006 at 9:51 a.m. , Blogger Some Old Man said...

Let us not forget Inge Hammarstrom!

Quote taken from

"It's fair to say Inge Hammarstrom is often the forgotten man when talk arises about how the Toronto Maple Leafs first introduced European players into their lineup back in the early 1970s. Of course, the marquee catch was defenseman Borje Salming, but Hammarstrom was a star in his own-right in his native country of Sweden when he and Salming crossed the Atlantic in what was then ground-breaking, uncharted territory for European players. The talented winger was known for his speed, which the Leafs felt they were lacking at the time."

At July 31, 2006 at 11:06 a.m. , Blogger zanstorm said...

Mats Naslund was a trailblazer of sorts wasn't he? He was a midget for sure! I remember!
So Hammarstrom and Salming were both signed as free agents by the Leafs in May 1973. Were they both signed at the same time?
The knock on Inge was that he couldn't handle the physical style of the NHL.

At July 31, 2006 at 11:22 a.m. , Blogger Some Old Man said...

reality check said...

"Salming set a standard for European players"

If by European you mean all of Europe, The I would have to say Stan Mikta set the standard.

Art Ross Trophy (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968)
First All-Star Team Centre (1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968)
Hart Memorial Trophy (1967, 1968)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (1967, 1968)
Lester Patrick Trophy (1976)
Second All-Star Team Centre (1965, 1970)

At July 31, 2006 at 11:52 a.m. , Blogger reality check said...

Mikita was for all intents and purposes Canadian. He moved here before ever lacing up skates. According to the book,"Kings of the Ice", Mikita moved to Canada at age 8 with his aunt and uncle and stated playing n the Niagra Peninsula area after witnessing a game of street hockey from his window.

Mikita was a helluva player. he retired at 40 or so and still had lots in the tank.

Your point is well taken, though, in the sense that moving to Canada never prevented Mikita from being revered in his native land. He was and always will be a hero to many.

At July 31, 2006 at 11:56 a.m. , Blogger Hodge said...

I was always Stan Mikita during road hockey games as a kid. Ironically my brother was Borje Salming. lol

I didn't know Stan was a Czech, always thought he was Japenese!!!!

At July 31, 2006 at 12:21 p.m. , Blogger Some Old Man said...

I meant European in a "sometimes I don't know what the hell I'm talking about" sort of way.

At July 31, 2006 at 12:25 p.m. , Blogger reality check said...

You guys crack me up!

Ever seen the spot in Waynes World 2 where they have a Stan Mikita's Donuts shop? Blink and you miss it!

At July 31, 2006 at 12:43 p.m. , Blogger zanstorm said...

Yep I saw it!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.