Tall Boys #11 – Parker MacDonald (you left WHAT in my shoulder?)

Posted: February 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Parker MacDonald - 1964-65 Topps Tall BoysWith the old six-team league being as small as it was, it gets real easy to play “six degrees of separation” with the players of the era.  Within approximately a year of the release of this card, Parker MacDonald would be traded twice – both times for players already featured in the first ten cards of this set.

Parker MacDonald (who, just for the record, is the only player ever to play in the NHL with the given name Parker) was born on Cape Breton Island (Sydney) in 1933.  That must have been Leaf terriitory during the post-war years, since Maritime-born players were rare, but the ones who did appear typically showed up in Toronto.  Parker was no different, coming to Toronto to play for the Marlies in 1950 and making his first NHL appearance with the Leafs in 1952-53.

A good scorer in junior and in the minors, Parker had a tough time filling the net at the NHL level.  Two things happened to change this for him.  One was getting an opportunity to play on the left side of a line that just happened to include Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio.  The other was the discovery and subsequent removal of a broken piece of drill bit from his shoulder – the remnant of a much earlier surgery that surprisingly hadn’t been all that successful.

All factors combined to allow Parker to become an overnight sensation at 29 after three full NHL seasons and parts of four others.  Never having scored more than 14 goals in an NHL season (and that was the only time he’d hit for double digits), he exploded for 33 – fifth overall in the NHL and only five off the pace set by linemate Howe.

Thirty-three goals proved to be a high-water mark as he slipped to 21 the following year and 13 the year after that.  He did manage 46 points both seasons, which was a perfectly-acceptable total for the era.  His 33 assists in 1964-65 would be a career high and good for tenth overall.

1965, as mentioned above, would see him traded twice.  He was sent to Boston in May as part of a seven-player deal.  Bob McCord (card #10) was one of the players coming back the other way.  In December, Detroit brought him back again, this time in a one-for-one deal involving Pit Martin (card #1).

Now safely into his 30s, MacDonald’s role was reduced and his stats went with them.  He spent most of 1966-67 in the minors before getting one last full season with the expansion North Stars in 1967-68.  He scored 19 goals and 42 points.  After one last season split between Minnesota and their farm club in Memphis.

He’d move into coaching in 1969 and twice had NHL head-coaching stints – 61 games with the North Stars in 1973-74 and another 42 with the Kings in 1981-82.  In both cases. he resigned, finding the positions too stressful.  He had great success with the AHL’s New Haven Nighthawks.

Parker MadDonald - 1964-65 Topps Tall Boys back

Moving from a bit role to left wing on a line with Howe and Delvecchio does wonders for one’s offense.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. shanediaz82 says:

    Very interesting, you gotta wonder how many more points he may have tallied had that drill bit come out of his shoulder years earlier!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s