As the Leafs headed to Minnesota on Wednesday night to face the Wild we look back to this photo of Leaf Ian Turnbull surrounded by Minnesota North Stars at Maple Leaf Gardens. While the Wild have had a home in Minnesota since 1997 the original North Stars franchise actually became the Dallas Stars in 1993 after 26 seasons in Minnesota.
From the 1978/79 season to 1980/81 the Leafs and North Stars were Adams Division rivals and would later become Norris Division rivals until 1992-93. And you can tell by Turnbull’s intense glare and pursed lips that it was heated at times. The player he has a hold on is Al MacAdam, who in 1997 would become coach of the Leafs former AHL affiliate the St. John’s Maple Leafs.
The defensive pairing of Turnbull and Borje Salming was one of the more accomplished d-pairings in the NHL and the end of the 1976/77 season would see Turnbull set the Leafs record for points in a season by a defenseman with 79 and Salming close behind with 78 points. In February of that same season Turnbull also established the record for most goals in one game by a defenseman in the NHL with five goals in a 9-1 win over Detroit.