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McDonald's scoring duel with The Great One set a franchise mark that has stood the test of time

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The facilitator isn't in the least amazed his triggerman's total has stood the test of time.

"No,'' Guy Chouinard is saying from his home in Quebec City. "Not at all. A good-to-great year, after all, is 40 goals.

"So to score 66 … that's a career highlight. I'm not surprised nobody (in Flames' togs) has beaten it.

"We all say that records are there to be broken but certain records, well, seem almost unapproachable, somehow."

Centreman Chouinard and his moustachioed right winger enjoyed a splendid syncopation that season, 1982-83, No. 9's first full year as a Flame; a kinetic collaboration along Gretzky-Kurri, Hull-Oates or Trottier-Bossy lines.

"People,'' McDonald says in praise, "don't realize what a phenomenal passer Guy Chouinard was."

In this neck of the woods, that total of 66 goals is the equivalent of DiMaggio's 66-game hit streak, Ripken's 2,632-game streak, Wilt's 100-point night or Glenn Hall's 506 straight starts in goal.

Out there. Distant. Unattainable.

Consider that no one has inched to within so close as 12 goals - Gary Roberts, 53, '91-92 - since.

McDonald's offensive explosion netted him an end-of-season second All-Star Team selection and the Bill Masterton Trophy.

With 45 goals he actually flew off to Uniondale, N.Y. and the '83 All-Star Game one tally in front of The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky would storm back, as was his wont, and out-duel his northern rival 71-66 but, hey, as the Hanna Sniper himself said: "No shame in finishing second to No. 99."

"That year,'' McDonald recalls, "was so much fun. Honestly, I can't describe it. One of those times when you felt, every single time you went on the ice, you were going to score.

"And our powerplay … every time the ref's hand went up you could feel the bench charge."

McDonald had already put up three 40-plus goal seasons while in Toronto toiling for the Maple Leafs, but '82-83's output would be the high-water-mark in a Hall of Fame career.

For Chouinard, who finished with a team-topping 59 helpers that season, McDonald's release - flicking his wrists like snapping a wet towel in a strong wind - was key to putting up

"One thing Lanny did extremely well,'' he says, "as everybody knows, was shoot the puck.

"He should be an example to all kids growing up who want to be pro players that quickness, the release on your shot, is so important. Yes, he had a hard shot. But he got rid of it so fast and he didn't mind shooting from all over the place as long as he was hitting the net.

"It was one of those years that even though the other team knew where Lanny liked to set up, the puck would find him.

"And our powerplay. We had Lanny and Kent Nilsson, Paul Reinhart behind and I was playing the point also. So we had great players to move the puck and Lanny was always able to find a way to get open for a second.

"And that's the only thing he needed to score a goal - a second.

"When you consider his talent, his ability to score goals and everything he else he meant to the team, a fantastic man to play with.

"Great fun."

For the full listing of our 37 for 37 moments and links to past stories, check out:

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