The Chicago Blackhawks made some really bad deals in the 60’s including trading away Phil Esposito, but one of their better deals was acquiring Jim Pappin from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In today’s game, there are very few players in the NHL that have bad relationships with the press. It’s a thing players have dealt with from their early days in the minors, and with big dollars being out there to sponsor products and companies being good with everyone is part of the deal off the ice.
One of the reasons Jim Pappin wasn’t beloved by fans or press was that he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Back in the 60’s and 70’s, sportswriters had a bigger influence on how players were perceived than they do today. Back then there only was the local beat writers, today there are tons of avenues to get your word across. So it’s safe to say the picture painted by the writers in Toronto and Chicago weren’t always pleasant ones for Pappin.
The thing is when Pappin arrived in Chicago he was a very solid goal scorer after struggling early in his career in Toronto as a can’t miss prospect. Pappin was put on the M.P. H. line with Pit Martin and Dennis Hull and they were a solid line for years in the early 70’s.
Of course, like any story talking about the early 70’s, the real depressing part is that the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t hold on to that 2-0 lead in Chicago Stadium against the Montreal Canadiens. The Hawks lost two Stanley Cup Finals to Montreal while Pappin was in the lineup.
Pappin scored 216 goals in a Blackhawks uniform including a 41 goal season in 1973. When you talk about the all-time greats and players you liked watching, very few from that era ever mention Pappin even though he was almost a point a game player during his 7 seasons with the Blackhawks.
After leaving the Hawks for the Cleveland Barons he played less than 60 games before hanging up the skates for good.
Pappin said what he had on his mind, and for some that was too much back then.
Only 31 days until the Blackhawks take the ice on October 5th at the United Center!