Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Charlie Huddy: 7 Autographed Items (Part 1)

Oh, what a return today!
One of only seven members of all five Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup-winning teams, Charlie Huddy was a key player on all those teams, counted on to support Paul Coffey as a point-producing defender, but also assist Kevin Lowe in making sure the opposition didn't score against them, which explains his ridiculous plus/minus differentials (consecutive seasons of +62, +50 and +50 are particularly impressive).

Like many of the Oilers' stars, he eventually made his way towards Wayne Gretzky with the Los Angeles Kings, and was especially noteworthy in their 1993 Cup run (stopped short by the Montréal Canadiens in the Finals) in a shut-down role (Alexei Zhitnik, Darryl Sydor and Rob Blake had most of the powerplay and ''offensive'' minutes), notably against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When the Habs traded away Patrick Roy in 1995, it had the effect of a cold shower on all things hockey-related for me. The Colorado Avalanche and, to a much lesser extent, the Oilers, were all I was interested in, and even then, mostly only come playoff time, until 2002. Coupled with my own fledgling career as a third-string goalie in the LHJMQ at the time and getting traded to the team with the best goaltending around the Holidays - causing me to ''retire'' and focus on music and film instead - I just needed time off from being a puck junkie.

Because of that, I did not witness Huddy in the twilight of his career, either with the St. Louis Blues nor the Buffalo Sabres, who were in the Habs' division and would have been easy to go see play a few times.

Regardless, my memories of him with the Oilers and Kings are clear enough to bring back tears of joy at times. And so it's an honor to have received these 6 cards and index card I'd sent him on March 3rd, 2014 along with a fan letter, care of the Winnipeg Jets where he is an assistant coach, signed in black sharpie with his jersey number (22) incorporated into the 'Y' at the end of his name - and that it only took 37 days.

First, here he is with the Oilers, in their white (home) uniform, from Pinnacle Brands' 1990-91 Score (card #199):
And with their blue (away) uniform:
The card of the left is from Topps' 1986-87 O-Pee-Chee set (card #211), while the one on the right is from Upper Deck's 1990-91 Series 1 set (card #341).

                                         (continued in the following post)

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