Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dustin Brown Autograph Card

One player who has been amazing so far in these Olympics is Dustin Brown, for Team U.S.A. The speedy Los Angeles Kings' captain - the youngest captain in team history and first American player to get the title - who started his NHL career on a checking line but, when paired with Anze Kopitar, became a top-flight offensive threat. If Ilya Kovalchuk joins them next year, you can only imagine the heights they will reach.

Despite being only 25 years old, Brown has already represented the U.S. seven times: twice at the World Junior Championships (2002 and 2003), four times at the World Championships (2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009, winning the bronze medal in 2004), as well as the 2010 Olympic Games.

Just like in the NHL, he scores a bit more goals than he has assists in international play.

Because he plays in L.A., casual hockey fans from traditional markets (read: the Eastern Conference, Original Six teams and Canadian clubs) rarely seem him play, but the way he has performed at these games is eye-opening. It's not just his quickness, but also his tenacity, his determination to get plays done that impress.

Team USA, to me, is the international version of the Toronto Maple Leafs (fitting that they're coached and managed by the same assholes this time around as well) - the team you love to hate, but not the one you look back to and say ''they were great adversaries'', like the Boston Bruins, but more like that arrogant prick in high school who stole your girlfriend and drove off with her in his beat-up car, only to have her dump him two blocks later and would never amount to anything else in life. Well, maybe less so: the Olympics only occur every 4 years, so, technically, 1980 isn't so far away, whereas the Stanley Cup is up for grabs every year, and 1967 is two whole generations removed...

In either case, it's too bad Dustin Brown plays for a team I'm inclined to root against, because I'd love to have him on my team.

This card (#S-DB) was found in a pack of Upper Deck's 2007-08 Be A Player packs and sees a young Brown, who has the face of a teenager, sporting the Kings' black jersey with purple stripes and shoulders - a beautiful jersey even if I personally prefer the Kings' Gretzky era uniforms better. Brown signed a Be A Player sticker (that was seemingly later apposed to the card) in black sharpie and added his number at the end, even though the '3' from his '23' isn't all that clear.

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