Monday, October 15, 2012

Pat Peake Autograph Card

Pat Peake is one of the unluckiest hockey players of all time, and possibly the highest-rated, most-injured prospect of the 1990s - yes, ahead of Brett Lindros. Because of an OHL career that saw him post 317 points in 162 games with the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors / Detroit Junior Red Wings franchise, he was drafted in the first round by the Washington Capitals, 14th overall, in 1991.

The Compuware Ambassadors is a minor-league program spanning all levels (from novice to junior A) owned and supervised by Peter Karmanos, the current Carolina Hurricanes' owner who likes to promote people from inside his own organization (current-day GM has been with him since the Ambassadors' days). After failing to purchase and move two teams to Detroit, Karmanos was awarded an OHL expansion team which he named after his program., who in turn is named after his company Compuware. After a couple of years, at a moment when both teams shared the Joe Louis Arena, Karmanos renamed the team the Junior Red Wings, after their NHL counterpart; the Ambassadors program remains the same to this day. But when Karmanos purchased the NHL's Hartford Whalers, he changed his junior team's name again to become the Detroit Whalers, and then moved them to Plymouth, Michigan (better economic conditions) where they are now known as the Plymouth Whalers. To this day, the (junior) Whalers have only retired one jersey number, that of their all-time leading scorer... Pat Peake's #14.

In 1993-94, the Caps dressed Peake for 49 games, during which he scored 11 goals and added 18 assists for a respectable 29 points; in the lock-out-shortened 1994-95 season, he went 0-4-4 in 18 NHL games, but caught up in 1995-96 with 36 points in 62 games. However, more impressive was his never-ending string of injuries (quoted from this CNN/SI article):
Playing in the Ontario Hockey League in 1992-93, Peake missed three weeks of the regular season with a separated left shoulder and most of the playoffs with a fractured right ankle. As a rookie with Washington the next season, he was sidelined for 14 games with torn rib cartilage, six games with a bruised right shoulder, two games with a sore right ankle and two games with the flu. In '94-95 Peake contracted mononucleosis and played in only 18 games.
The following season Peake took a high stick to the throat and missed 10 games with what was termed "fractured thyroid cartilage." He was also scratched from five games with a sprained right knee, three games with a sprained left shoulder and one game with kidney stones. In the playoffs Peake shattered his right heel and needed extensive surgery. The mangled heel kept Peake out of the Caps' first 67 games of 1996-97. His comeback was complicated when a television fell on his right hand, breaking a bone. Peake returned to action last March 29. He played four games, then suffered a concussion in a car accident and had to sit out the rest of the year.
Peake missed the first 16 games of this season with a combination of lingering pain in the heel, flu symptoms and what he calls "anxiety about getting healthy." He dressed for a Nov. 8 game against the Oilers and got enough ice time to tear several tendons in his right ankle. He hasn't played since, but the Capitals expect him back within a month.
He actually never played pro hockey again, officially retiring in 1998.

This card is from Classic's 1991-92 Draft Picks set (of which the regular-issue card is #12), was signed in blue sharpie and is numbered 239/1100. I got it in a trade for a Petr Nedved Pro Set draft card, of which I had literally hundreds, in the early 1990s.

No comments:

Post a Comment