Sunday, December 20, 2009

Autographed Scott Young Card

I wasn't a fan of my hometown Montréal Canadiens growing up - it was too easy: they were everywhere, they were always winning, everyone knew at least one of them in person, and too many people loved them, not just here, but all over the continent; to this day, in any given arena where they're the visiting team, you'll see a strong contingent of Habs fans supporting the winning-est team in the sport's history.

No, I was a fan of the Québec Nordiques. Blue to the Habs' red, Quebecers to the Habs' Canadians, the new kid in town rather than the establishment, the underdog instead of the favourite. After the Stastnys and Goulet came Sakic, Sundin, Nolan and Stéphane Fiset - a new generation ready for prime time, a high-scoring machine built through both five years of mediocrity and some of the best trades of the past 25 years.

Not quite part of the elite of that squad but a key piece nonetheless was Scott Young, the team's second-line right winger and point man on the power play. His shot was as accurate as it was hard, and his passing skills could also be used at that position, while also giving prime powerplay time to the other offensive weapons on the team (Joe Sakic, Owen Nolan, Mike Ricci, Mats Sundin, Wendel Clark) while giving either Leschyshyn or Duchesne a well-deserved break if they'd been on the ice as the other team's penalty was called.

He was the most important 'not-quite-star' player on that team, which is what I told him when I met him (he wasn't too impressed despite acknowledging that I meant well). In 5 years with the organization, three times he scored 20 goals or more, but only once reached 30, winning the Stanley Cup when the team moved to Denver in 1995-96; he had already won it as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990-91. He was traded entering his final year under contract, as all parties knew he'd be on his way out anyway, looking for greener pastures with a more prominent role elsewhere - and it sort of happened with the St. Louis Blues, although it did take him until his third year there to score 40 goals.

This was signed during those St. Louis years, but I couldn't resist having him sign a Nordiques card - and this one is my favourite of him in that uniform because of the back of the card: the most beautiful jersey in the game - and the Château Frontenac as the backdrop - a terrific sight. It's signed in black sharpie - one that seemed to be on the verge of dying.

This card was from the 1993-94 Leaf series (card # 108), made by the same company that used to produce Donruss cards, before they were acquired by Pinnacle Brands in the mid-90s (Score, Pinnacle) and Panini recently.

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