Saturday, February 22, 2014

Peter Mueller Autographed Card

As is often the case for North American teams in international tournaments, Team USA lost the bronze medal game today against Finland; it seems the ''Stanley Cup-type of championship mentality'' (where if you're not the #1 winner then third place doesn't matter) prevailed once more...

Maybe they could have used forwards who are used to the bigger international-sized rinks... players such as Peter Mueller, who has won gold in the Czech Republic (2005 U-18 tournament) and bronze in Sweden (2007 World Juniors), and has 19 points in 20 Juniors-types games for Team USA, and 4 points in 7 games at the World Championships...

Plus, he's actually playing in Europe this year for the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland (and nearly has a point-per-game there)...

But that would require some outside-the-box thinking, and risk-taking.

And Mueller definitely is a risk. The 8th-overall pick of the 2006 draft, he had a wonderful rookie season with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007-08, scoring 22 goals and totaling 54 points in 81 games, then slipping to 13 goals and 36 points the following season. After his third season wasn't looking too good, he was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche, and managed to put up 20 points in 15 games with them to finish the 2009-10 season on a good note.

He signed a two-year deal with the Avs that summer, but suffered two concussions that would impede his production, and he was released by the team prior to the lock-out. He signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers when play resumed, but like everyone else on the team not named Jonathan Huberdeau, failed to put his name on the score sheet often enough. No one wanted to sign him after that, so he opted for Switzerland this summer to perhaps revitalize his career.

I met him last season when the Panthers came to town, and expressed to him my faith in his talent. He was nice enough to sign this card for me in blue sharpie:

It's from Upper Deck's 2008-09 Victory set (card #47), showing him wearing the Coyotes' burgundy (home) uniform. I also have this card in postcard format and, had I known I was going to get it signed, I would have chosen that one over this regular-sized one, but carrying one format in a thin plastic case is easier and more convenient, which is why I went this route.

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