Friday, January 24, 2014

Jacques Lemaire Jersey Card

Part 6 of 7 of my trade with Kyle; after Georges Laraque, Marcel Dionne, Simon Gagné, Jeremy Roenick and Mike Ribeiro... here's Hall Of Famer Jacques Lemaire! It won't count in my Habs Numbers Project, though, because I already have autographed cards of a #25, Vincent Damphousse.

But there is no question Lemaire was a bigger figure in hockey history. First off, he made it into the Hall in 1984, and was among the three best centermen in the whole NHL in the 1970s, with Phil Esposito and Jean Ratelle. He centered the most potent line of the decade with 60-goal men on each wing in Guy Lafleur and Steve Shutt, with whom he won no less than 8 Stanley Cups as a player and two more as assistant GM (1986 and 1993); he is one of only five players in NHL history to score two Cup-winning goals. He also spent his entire playing career with the Montréal Canadiens, which is cool.

Then there's his coaching career. He is widely regarded as one of the best coaches of all time, probably behind Scotty Bowman, but likely on par with Toe Blake. While he only won one Cup as head coach (1994-95, with the New Jersey Devils), his neutral-zone trap redefined hockey and is still in use in today's NHL. He won the Jack Adams trophy twice, was an assistant coach on an Olympic gold-winning Team Canada in 2010, and only had three seasons under .500 (usually flirting with a .600 record or better), two of them being the two inaugural of the then-expansion team Minnesota Wild.

He definitely helped deflate the myth that great players cannot make great coaches (also see: Blake, Toe).

All these reasons are why I was more than happy to get my hands on this 2013-14 Series 1 card by Upper Deck (from the UD Game Jersey sub-set, card #GJ-JL), showing him wearing the Habs' mythical red (then-away) jersey:
The swatch, however, is white, but look at that mesh closely, really from an old, warm, knit jersey. Like the Dionne card, it bears a beyond-the-grave guarantee by UD CEO Richard P. McWilliam that the memorabilia is authentic:

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