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12-12-2011, 11:04 AM
Rob Scuderi
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Country: United States
Posts: 3,068
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Pirates select C Gerry Meehan and D Hannu Virta

x2 60 points
x3 50 points
423 Points in 670 GP

Originally Posted by LoH
Centre Gerry Meehan was a fine scorer and playmaker who could also check effectively. He played nearly 700 games for six clubs and turned to the administrative side of hockey the after his playing days.

The Toronto native excelled with the junior Marlboros and helped the club win the Memorial Cup in 1967. After scoring 31 goals for the CHL's Tulsa Oilers in 1967-68, he played 25 games for the Leafs the next year. In March 1969, he was sent to the Philadelphia Flyers as part of package used to acquire veteran Forbes Kennedy.

Meehan didn't fit into the Flyers' plans and was sent to the WHL's Seattle Totems for the entire 1969-70 season. He finally received a chance to prove himself after the Buffalo Sabres picked him in the 1970 Expansion Draft. Meehan scored 94 goals in four seasons with the club and was captain for three years. He earned a measure of revenge against Philly on the last night of the 1971-72 season when he scored late in the third period on an 80-foot shot to pin a defeat on his former team that eliminated them from playoff contention.

Meehan began the 1974-75 season in Buffalo but eventually moved to the Vancouver Canucks and Atlanta Flames. In January 1976, the Flames traded him to the Washington Capitals. The veteran pivot was an offensive star and team leader for his new club. In 1976-77, he recorded a career high 64 points. By the end of the decade, he began to slow down and retired in 1979. Along the way he earned the distinction of being the first player to score 100 points in a Caps uniform. During the 1986-87 season, he replaced Scotty Bowman as general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, a position he held until the end of the 1992-93 season.

NHL GP 245 - Goals 25 - Assists 101 - Points 126 - PPG 0.51
FEL GP 426 - Goals 63 - Assists 202 - Points 265 - PPG 0.62
WC GP 54 - Goals 5 - Assists 25 - Points 30 - PPG 0.56
OG GP 8 - Goals 2 - Assists 1 - Points 3 - PPG 0.38

x4 Pekka Rautakallio Award Winner (FEL Best Defenseman)
x1 WC Gold
X1 WC Silver
x1 WC Most Assists-all positions ('96)
Longtime Captain of TPS in FEL

Originally Posted by LoH
Hannu Virta was a surprise pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round, 38th overall, of the 1981 Entry Draft. Sabres GM and coach Scotty Bowman had pulled off another coup. Prior to the draft Bowman had taken a trip to Finland and happened to take in a game in Turku. Immediately, his attention was drawn to a young kid on the defense that controlled the puck like it was magnetically drawn to him. Bowman had to know who was this player. He was told the defenseman was Hannu Virta and that he had been given special permission to play that exhibition game. He was under suspension due to excessive violent play.

Bowman ran around the rink to see if there was any other scout present. Luckily, he couldn't find another scout in the rink. The cat almost got out of the bag in the unlikely town of Camrose, Alberta. Camrose hosts an annual tournament for the Viking Cup and they invited a Finnish team to participate. Bowman, who was the guest of honor, had a scare when Edmonton Oilers GM Glen Sather appeared to look at Virtu. Sather, while impressed, decided to save Virtu for his third or fourth round pick. Bowman acted quickly on draft day and snapped up the all-round defenseman earlier.

Virta played another season in Finland before joining the Sabres. For four full seasons he prowled the Sabres' blueline before getting his Finnish armed forces call up. By this time Virta had soured on Bowman's coaching style and insisted he would not return after his mandatory service unless there was a change behind the bench.

Hannu Virta stayed in Europe after his military service. He played mainly with TPS Turku and the Finish National team. The Finnish team captured gold in the 1987 European Hockey League, the 1993 European Cup and the World Championship in 1995. Until his retirement he was a five- time Finnish Hockey League All-Star.

Last edited by Rob Scuderi: 12-17-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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