Friday, November 5, 2010

Tony Tanti and the hot start of '83

His record still lives to see another year. The record does not have the lustre of Brodeur's 100 plus shutouts or Gretzky's 51 consecutive game streak but in Canuck-land it's still something to talk about. Daniel Sedin came close this season with points in nine straight games to start the year.
In 1983/84 a 20 year old Tony Tanti had arguably the best start in Canuck history. He scored at least a point in his first eleven games scoring 13 goals and 23 points, this included a streak of scoring at least a goal in each of his first seven. As October, 1983 drew to a close Tanti was actually ahead of Wayne Gretzky in goals with 13 battling Rick Vaive's 14 for the goal scoring lead. The Great One was a mere three points up on Tanti for the point scoring lead.
It's interesting to look at past seasons by segments, especially the high-flying '80s. Many players would have stretches of scoring that were astronomical even by standards of teh mid-80s. Gretzky's next 11 games in 1983/84 were simply mind-numbing. From Oct.29 through Nov. 20 of that season, Tanti would score 7 goals and 10 points in 10 games. Not bad, but not enough to stay in the scoring race, especially with what Gretzky was doing. In his next 11 games, he had games of 8 and 7 points and three of 5 points.

At this point in the season, Gretzky had played 22 games tallying 27 goals, 39 assists and 66 points. Tanti now had a still impressive 20 goals and 33 points after 21 games. He would however come back down to earth soon thereafter with 8 goals and 18 points in his next 17 games.
By the halfway point in the season, Gretzky had taken full control of the scoring race. He was on a pace for almost 230 points and only missing 6 games due to injury may have kept him from his greatest season.

Gretzky scored as 45 goals in his last 35 games, as many as Tanti had for the entire season. It would seem that Tanti woke a sleeping giant in late October by giving Wayner an early run for his money.

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