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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feb 22--Pat Lafontaine

Pat Lafontaine

Selected by New York Islanders round 1 #3 overall 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
Joined N.Y. Islanders for balance of 1983-84 season after competing in 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
Lafontaine was the next generation of Islanders greats. He was the guy expected to take the torch from Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier and company. He was the top player in the post-championship era on Long Island.
But it wasn't until a 1991 trade to Buffalo in exchange for Pierre Turgeon that Lafontaine blossomed into one of the greatest players in the league. Finding a unique chemistry with Alexander Mogilny. Lafontaine erupted with 46 goals and 93 points in just 57 games in 1991-92. In his second season, 1992-93, he challenged Mario Lemieux for the NHL scoring title when he tallied 53 goals and 148 points. Mogilny shared the league lead in goal scoring with an amazing 76!
Reconstructive knee surgery caused Lafontaine to miss much of the 1993-94 and half of the 1994-95 season. When he did return, he was honored as the Bill Masterton trophy winner for his dedication and perseverance to the game.  But in 1996-97 tragedy struck again. Pat only played in 13 contests as he was sidelined with post-concussion syndrome. Lafontaine wanted to play despite not having clearance from the Sabres doctors. Lafontaine demanded to be traded to a team who had doctors that would clear him to play. On September 29, 1997 he was traded to the New York Rangers.
Lafontaine made his return, but was always one hit away from having to retire for his own good. After 67 games which saw Lafontaine score 23 goals and 62 points, Lafontaine collided with one of his old teammates, and suffered his 5th serious concussion.
In June of 2003, LaFontaine was selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Received these at two different IP signings. The RC in thin black marker was at the NHL SloPitch tourney while the two blue sharpie ones obtained at Don Koharski's business during the 90's.

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