Sunday, April 3, 2011

Raffi Torres: 3 Autographed Cards

This could be the season where we find out whether Raffi Torres is cursed by the Hockey Gods or if he will find - like Marian Hossa before him, last season - solace in hockey's Holy Grail by season's end.

Indeed, championships have eluded Torres so far, from a bronze medal at the World Juniors (2001) to a Calder Cup final in each of his two AHL seasons (but no wins), culminating in the heart-breaking 7-game loss his Edmonton Oilers suffered at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

After relatively quiet stints with the Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets, he is back on a contender with this season's Vancouver Canucks, the odds-on favourite so far. On a personal level, he looks like he'll score at least 15 goals this season, the fifth time he will have reached that number. His best season was in 2005-06, when he collected 27 goals to go along with his 14 assists, good for 41 points in 82 games; he followed that in the afore-mentioned Cup run by going 4-7-11 in 22 playoff games.

I sent Mr. Torres these three cards and a fan letter, care of the Canucks, on December 3rd, 2010 and got them all back, signed in blue sharpie, on April 1st, 2011. He added his jersey number (14) at the end. All three show him in the Oilers' white ''home'' jerseys from the few years right before Reebok came in and ruined the Edmonton team's look.

The card in the middle is from Upper Deck's 2006-07 Victory set (card #82), and the one on the right is from the 2006-07 Upper Deck Series 1 collection (card #81). But the stand-out piece among those three is without question the card on the left, this one:
It's card #121 in Upper Deck's terrific 2006-07 Ovation set, which I also touched upon here in a post on Pascal Leclaire. The ink smudged a bit because of both the card's foil material but also because of the three-dimensional feel they gave it through its unusual texture. When I got these gorgeous cards, I never thought I'd get one autographed, let alone two (so far).

All that being said, I wish Mr. Torres the best of luck in... turning his luck around come June.

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