Friday, August 1, 2014

Tomas Plekanec Jersey Card

Regular readers know how much I like and respect Tomáš Plekanec, one of the five best two-way centers in the world. He would be one of my two choices for next Montréal Canadiens captain, with Andrei Markov, another one of my favourites, for three to five years, assuming they retire with the team and that P.K. Subban is ready to take on the mantle afterwards (I think he will be).

Both Markov (Team Russia) and Plekanec (Czech Republic) have worn the 'C' internationally, and both have worn the 'A' in Montréal.  Plekanec has captained the Czech team at the World Championships as well as the last Olympics, usually forming a formidable duo with Jaromir Jagr. He has won gold at the World Juniors (2001) and silver (2006) and bronze at the World Championships (2011 and 2012).

Always counted upon to play against the opposition's top line because he is so responsible defensively, Plekanec also usually gets to take most of his face-offs in his defense end. Regardless, he is as consistent as they come, flirting with or reaching the 70-point mark when playing with top-level talent (still while shutting down the opposition, manning the first penalty-killing unit and obtaining sparse powerplay minutes), but will also get 50-60 points playing with mid-level and grinder-type players, usually veterans the coach wants to reward for their valiant efforts, à la Brian Gionta, Travis Moen and Brandon Prust.

He's often unfairly targeted as ''not a point-per-game player'' in Montréal by folks who don't know the game and don't see everything else he brings to the team, and rarely praised for his contributions when playing with guys who, frankly, don't belong in a top-6, but as far as 1-A centers in the NHL go, I place him ahead of Brad Richards, Ryan Kesler, and pretty much everyone not named Sidney Crosby or Jason Spezza; it could even be argued Spezza's defensive faults rank him below Plekanec on many experts' lists...

And so it is with a happy face that I post this 2013-14 SP Game-Used Edition card (#AF-TP of the Authentic Fabrics sub-set) by Upper Deck, showing him wearing the Habs' classic red (home) uniform, but with (my pet peeve) a not-matching white swatch:
Plekanec made the news this week when Brad Marchand said he hated him. Plekanec responded yesterday.

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