Sunday, November 17, 2019

Here's to Linemates

The record shown on this card escaped my knowledge for all this time:

1981-82 O-Pee-Chee Record Breakers #391

Details on the back:

I've got to admit, it surprised me.

I figured the first linemates to each score 100 points in a season would have been Bossy-Trottier-Gillies on Long Island, or Kurri-Gretzky-Anderson in Edmonton.

But no, it's the Triple Crown Line in Los Angeles! Here are their final numbers for the 1980-81 season:

Marcel Dionne: 135 points in 80 GP
Dave Taylor: 112 points in 72 GP
Charlie Simmer: 105 points in 65 GP

Pretty impressive, no?

As for those Islanders, the Trio Grande almost did hit the mark in 1978-79.

Bryan Trottier: 134 points in 76 GP
Mike Bossy: 126 points in 80 GP
Clark Gillies: 91 points in 75 GP

But that's as close as they'd get. Gillies was more of the rugged power-forward type, protecting the two stars on his line with physicality and fisticuffs. However, the guy could definitely score, too. I figured he would have tallied a 100-point season at some point during the high-flying '80s, but no.

And what about Kurri-Gretzky-Anderson? Well, that one is more complicated.


First, Kurri (75 points in 75 games) and Anderson (53 points in 58 games) were just rookies during that record-breaking season, so putting up 100 points each would have been a tough askeven for a couple of kids boiling over with talent. Secondly, that trio of Kurri-Gretzky-Anderson wasn't exactly a trio as I thought. Gretzky and Kurri stuck together as a formidable center-wing pair, but it seems like they rotated through a few different wingers on the other side. Glenn Anderson was only one of them. So you can't really call those three a line.

With those great teammates out of the equation, how about some other notable lines that almost hit the mark?

In 1971-72, the GAG Line (goal-a-game) came ever so close for the Rangers.

Jean Ratelle: 109 points in 63 GP
Vic Hadfield: 106 points in 78 GP
Rod Gilbert: 97 points in 73 GP

In 1974-75, the French Connection Line in Buffalo came tantalizingly close as well.


René Robert: 100 points in 74 GP
Gilbert Perreault: 96 points in 68 GP
Rick Martin: 95 points in 68 GP

In 1975-76, the LCB Line in Philadelphia almost got there.

Bobby Clarke: 119 points in 76 GP
Bill Barber: 112 points in 80 GP
Reggie Leach: 91 points in 80 GP

The 1976-77 Dynasty Line in Montreal wasn't too far from it either, but Jacques Lemaire was more of a two-way center (who still managed a point per game, sheesh). 


Guy Lafleur: 136 points in 80 GP
Steve Shutt: 105 points in 80 GP
Jacques Lemaire: 75 points in 75 GP

And the Stastny Line came reasonably close in 1982-83 for the Nordiques. That would have been amazing.


Peter Stastny: 124 points in 75 GP
Anton Stastny: 92 points in 79 GP
Marian Stastny: 79 points in 60 GP

Then a decade later (1992-93) the Sky Line in Pittsburgh almost did it.


Mario Lemieux: 160 points in 60 GP
Kevin Stevens: 111 points in 72 GP
Jaromir Jagr: 94 points in 81 GP

Look at how many all-stars and hall-of-famers appear in those trios. It goes to show you just how tough the accomplishment is.

And it also provides a reminder: 

In today's game it would be very difficult for three forwards to set the mark as a unit—not only because of the line-juggling strategies that coaches seem to employ throughout the season, but also for the much more structured style of play across the league. Oh, and goalies all seem to be 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds with big, puffy pads and catching gloves as big as one of those novelty foam #1 finger-pointing things that sports fans wear at the stadium.

And here's something else we're reminded of: Because forward lines don't remain intact as long these days, the great line nicknames don't come around as much. Add these legendary nicknames to those mentioned above: The Kid Line in Toronto (Conacher-Jackson-Primeau), The Punch Line in Montreal (Lach-Blake-Richard), The Legion of Doom in Philadelphia (Lindros-Leclair-Renberg), The Russian Five in Detroit (Fedorov-Kozlov-Larionov-Konstantinov-Fetisov), the JAM line in Colorado (Sakic-Hejduk-Tanguay).

But who knows? It seems like offensive numbers have been up a little bit over the past couple of seasons, at least for some of the really big stars, and nothing remains constant in professional sports. Maybe we'll see this kind of milestone set again one day.

No matter how the game changes, though, the Triple Crown Line of Simmer-Dionne-Taylor did something remarkable that should not be overlooked. And when your team has a forward line that's just freewheeling it, game in and game out, you won't find much better entertainment.

Here's to linemates sticking together and having enough success to make a name for themselves.


  1. That Stevens/Lemieux/Jagr line in NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis was insane. I mean they were obviously awesome in real life too... but I remember them more for that video game.

    1. Oh, NHL games on Sega Genesis. Good times, Fuji. Good times...

  2. Interesting trivia...I love learning that sort of thing.

    1. Thanks Billy! I learned some things while putting this one together, too.

  3. I love reading posts like these, so much great research paired with some fantastic cards. My kind of subject, too. I'm starting to lose interest in today's NHL and gaining interest in the 70's and 80s cards and players. Really thought the French Connection or GAG line would have broken the century mark first, but the Triple Crown line was legit. Great job!

    1. Thanks Chris! The linemates do look good next to each other on cardboard, don't they? And I think I agree with you -- today's game is fine, but watching footage from back then is really fun.

  4. I've known this trivia question only because Dave Taylor went to college and played hockey at a school we cover. Since he's a legend there, that stat gets repeated a lot.

  5. Just wanted to say, fantastic post. I appreciate all the research you put into this. I had no clue the Kings could lay claim to that record, but I enjoyed the work you put in to discover the other lines that came close equally as much!

    1. Thanks very much! I'm still wondering if I missed any well-known lines from the '70s or '80s. Regardless, it's interesting to note how scoring really tailed off beginning in the mid-1990s. Suddenly only a few players across the entire league were reaching the 100-point mark.

  6. This was a cool post to read about. The first thought I had in my head as I started reading this was how close the French Connection had gotten, and then then you saved me the trouble of looking it up!

    1. Heh. Glad to have helped, Matt! If only Martin and Perreault had managed to play a few more games that year, they would have likely hit the mark.