September 27, 2015

Jamie Hislop

The Stastny brothers dominated the National Hockey League unlike anything ever seen before or since. Three world class brothers playing on the same line - the only extended such set-up in NHL history.

Peter and Anton arrived in 1980-81, and had spectacular seasons. Peter set NHL scoring records for a rookie with 70 assists and 109 points. Anton scored a very impressive 39 goals and 85 points. But older brother Marian did not come for another year.

So who played right wing with the two Stastny brothers in that first year?

Jamie Hislop, a former 30 goal scorer in the WHA, got a long look on the top line. But his numbers were not nearly as spectacular. Nineteen goals and 41 points in 50 games - very respectable numbers but not on par with his linemates.

"The thing is, we don't have anybody really capable of playing with these guys," said Hislop. "In fact, there aren't many in the NHL who could."

Some took Hislop's comments as critical of the brothers not passing him the puck.

Anton defended themselves against the accusation by stating "If Jamie is there, if I have time, it is easy. If I can see where I am passing, I can make behind-the-back and through-the-leg passes, everything. But if I play with my both of my brothers, then I do not even half to see. We have practiced together for 10 months a year for many years. With Jamie, I must see him. With my brothers, I know.

Hislop was traded to Calgary after 50 games that season, in exchange for goaltender Dan Bouchard. It was a strong move by Quebec, who shored up their goaltending.

Hislop, who was always noted for being one of the NHL's fittest athletes, would go on to play three average seasons with the Flames before an eye injury ended his career. In a game against the New York Islanders an Anders Kallur errant stick clipped him right in the eyeball. He would attempt a comeback but would only last nine games.

That's when doctors forced him to retire.

"It wasn't a real big shock," he said. "I could tell my vision hadn't improved. I played a lot of squash and hockey in the summer, but the problems were still there. There's still quite a bit of weakness in my retina. The actual holes in my eye were sealed, but there are weak areas around it that could pop out with any contact."

"The doctor told me it shouldn't affect me in my everyday life - as long as I'm not stupid and take up boxing or something like that."

Hislop never did take up boxing. For four years after hockey Hislop was a teacher, using his bachelor of physical education he earned while starring at the University of New Hampshire before he turned pro. He later returned to the Flames in a variety of coaching and management positions. He later scouted for the Minnesota Wild.

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