Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lyle Odelein Autograph Card

My friends and I still refer to a goal scored by a defenseman after an end-to-end rush as a... Lyle Odelein goal.

Sure, these days, it's more likely it'll happen from P.K. Subban's stick, and our parents fill us up with tales of how Bobby Orr invented those types of rushes (then our grandparents correct them and say Doug Harvey did so a decade before him), but that's also how Odelein scored his first - and what seems now like his lone - NHL goal for the Montréal Canadiens.

He wasn't awful by any stretch of the imagination, but his talents were more of the stay-at-home type, blocking shots, and he had a knack for sacrificing himself and taking on fights when he really shouldn't have had to, except the Habs then, just like now, lacked an actual enforcer (pretty much since the day the Anaheim Mighty Ducks chose Todd Ewen in the expansion draft). He finished his NHL career with 2316 penalty minutes, good for the 29th spot of all time.

Odelein was part of the Habs' record 24th Stanley Cup-winning team (1993), also the last time a Canadian team won the Cup. GM Réjean Houle traded him to the New Jersey Devils in 1996, though (for Stéphane Richer), which is why this 1997-98 Be A Player signed insert card (card #17, signed in black sharpie) by Pinnacle Brands features him wearing their red (away) uniform; he's also sporting the assistant captain's 'A', which he also wore in Montréal. He was the Columbus Blue Jackets' first captain.

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