(Born on January 26, 1957) -- Dale McCourt was a good player during much of his career. Somehow, though, good wasn’t quite good enough.
The center was a great junior hockey player by any definition. He had at least 126 points in three straight seasons, playing less than 70 games. That helped make him the first overall draft choice in 1977, going to the Detroit Red Wings.
McCourt wasted no time making an impact. He had 72 points in 76 games in his rookie season. He worked his way up to 86 points in 1980-81, and was still around a point a game early in the next season.
Then the forward was traded to the Sabres in the huge swap that sent Danny Gare and Jim Schoenfeld to Detroit. McCourt’s production slipped under a point per game in his almost two full seasons in Buffalo, as the numbers stopped going up.
The Sabres released him in the fall of 1983, and he landed with Toronto for the rest of that season. Then it was on to Switzerland, where McCourt stayed eight years. He was such a star there that his uniform number was retired when he finished play in the 1991-92 season.
--- Budd Bailey