Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bobby Smith: 5 Autographed Cards

With these 5 cards, I will finally be up to date on my December mail - it's been a good month!

Here is Bobby Smith, the smooth-skating giant (6'4'', 210 pounds) centerman the Montréal Canadiens have never replaced since trading him back to the Minnesota North Stars in 1990. With the Habs, he had six consecutive just-about point-per-game seasons during which he was also sent to take important face offs and to shut down the opposing team's best line; skating alonside Mats Naslund from 1985-86 to 1988-89, he registered seasons of 86, 75, 93 and 83 points, twice scoring more than 30 goals.

The North Stars had chosen him first overall in the 1978 draft after he posted a 192-point season in the OHL, besting Wayne Gretzky by a whole 10 points. He won the Calder trophy as the league's best rookie (a trophy neither Gretzky nor Sidney Crosby ever won) after a 74-point 1978-79 season and improved the next three years with seasons of 83, 93 and 114 points (43 goals!) before being sent to the Habs; upon his return to Minnesota in 1990, he proceeded to bring his team to the Stanley Cup finals and reach the 1000-point milestone.

He won the Cup with the Canadiens in 1986 and reached the Finals three more times in his career. He was the Phoenix Coyotes' general manager for parts of four seasons before holding the same position with the team he owns, his hometown QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, which he now also coaches. It is tehre that I sent along these five cards and a fan letter, on November 29th, and I got them back all signed in black sharpie on December 20th. It's a tremendous record, and I'm particularly excited, as he was one of the players whose play got me interested in hockey in my youth.

The card on top left is from Score's 1990-91 Score set (card #61) and the one on top right is from the 1990-91 Pro Set set (card #160). A veteran for the Habs, he was one of several players who wore the 'A' that season, a year after Larry Robinson was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

The card on bottom-left is from the 1992-93 Score collection (card #205), as is the one in the middle, highlighting his 1,000th point (card #446). Notice how he wore the 'A' for home games. The card on bottom-right is also a milestone-celebrating card, this time from Pro Set's 1992-93 Platinum set, the Collectibles insert sub-set (card #PC13).

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