Sunday, November 4, 2012

Martin Biron Autographed Card

I think he could have been a decent, consistent #1 goalie in the NHL, but unfortunately for Martin Biron, he was with the Buffalo Sabres overlapping both the Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller eras, two of the best goalies of their generations (Hasek, in my opinion, trailing only Patrick Roy in the 90s - well ahead of Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph - and Miller in a top-5 that includes Henrik Lundqvist, Miikka Kiprusoff, Roberto Luongo and one of Tomas Vokoun or José Theodore for his own decade).

As a matter of fact, the Sabres had so much faith in Biron that they made him the 16th overall pick in 1995, in the first round despite having Hasek already in nets. The only goalie chosen before him was Jean-Sébastien Giguère. Both were nominated as the CHL's Goalie Of The Year in 1995 - Biron won.

In his first few years in Buffalo, Biron wore #00 - the same he wore in juniors, as can be attested by this card, #16 in Classic's 1995-96 Hockey Draft 95 set where he's sporting the Beauport Harfangs' black (away) jersey; however, a glitch in the NHL's statistics software forced a rule that limited jersey numbers to be between 1 and 98 (Wayne Gretzky's 99 was retired league-wide), at which point Biron switched to #43, which he still holds.

Apart from the numbers thing, Biron might also be remembered for his performance against my hometown Montréal Canadiens in 2007-08, when he dominated Carey Price in winning the series 4-1, never making less than 30 saves per game. His Philadelphia Flyers may have lost in the Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but his performance against the Habs was the most dominating of that year's playoffs.

After a brief stint with the New York Islanders, he moved on to be Lundqvist's backup with the New York Rangers, a position he still holds today. Or would, if there were a season.

I got him to sign this card in blue sharpie in the late 90s when he appeared at a hockey school where I was teaching. We played a scrimmage against one another that finished 15-12 for my team; as far as NHL players go, Patrick Lebeau scored 5 goals on him, while Benoit Hogue and Sylvain Turgeon each scored 3 on me.

I had a huge stash of this exact card (still do, actually, probably 35 or 40 of them), and had originally planned on getting more signed, but in the end I chickened out and was too shy to ask for more than a couple.

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