Mad Mel

1983-84 O-Pee-Chee card #226 – Mel Bridgman

Mel Bridgman Hockey CardStuff like this make collecting old hockey sets awesome. Among the cards of Gretzky, Bossy, Messier and Bourque you find hilarious little gems like this Mel Bridgman card.

Many times after a player got traded, O-Pee-Chee would retouch a player’s photo, “changing” his uniform to that of his new team. Bridgman was traded from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils, and O-Pee-Chee responded in kind, altering the photograph.

The awful airbrushing alone could have merited this mention as “Card of the Week” – especially that steel-lunchbox-of-a-helmet that looks about three sizes too big for Bridgman’s head.

What really drew me to this card, though, was Bridgman’s pissed off demeanor, as he angrily – and toothlessly – scowls at us, as if to say (in a crotchety old man voice) “Hey yah kids! Get off muh property or I’ll shoot yahs!” Bridgman looks like an ornery old coot that should be hunting reptiles in one of those made-for-TV Sci-Fi Channel B-movies like Mega Snake or Lake Placid 2. Hell, that thing on Bridgman’s head could be some sort of steel “bite-proof” alligator-hunting helmet.

It’s a shame, though, that the O-Pee-Chee touchup artist did not bother to “airbrush in” Bridgman’s missing teeth.

Mel Bridgman Hockey CardThe back of the card notes “Mel was married just days before NJ acquired him last year.”

Perhaps he’s mad because getting traded cut his honeymoon short.

Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

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