Thursday, February 12, 2015

Antoine Roussel Autograph Card

Well, the jury (and comments section lynch mob) was out on Antoine Roussel following his cross-check to the throat of Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, and it seems the NHL's Department of Player Safety (headed by former tough guys Stéphane Quintal and Chris Pronger) believed both sides of the argument to be true: that Roussel was indeed protecting himself from what he felt was an attack from McQuaid, but that he also shouldn't have hit him that way, going as far as to suggest he should have kept his arms and stick extended in a protective manner instead of delivering a blow with it. He got two games' worth of suspension time, which took into consideration both that he was a repeat offender, but that his first offense only merited a fine. I should point out that he was also ejected from the game in question, which more or less makes this a three-game suspension of sorts.

Roussel's slowly building a reputation for questionable and borderline dirty hits, which is really too bad because he's actually becoming a very good and useful overall player at the same time. Hopefully he'll be able to Jack Bauer his way into getting opponents to fear he'll be dirty without actually crossing that line, just enough to give him extra seconds to make a play.

He had 14 goals, 15 assists, 29 points and 209 penalty minutes in 81 games last season, and already had 11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points and ''only'' 112 PIMs in 54 games this year, on a deeper Dallas Stars roster that no loner relies exclusively on Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Valeri Nichushkin to produce offensively with the arrivals of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky (albeit going through a disappointing season) and some help from the defensemen contributing offensively, although their play in their own zone has been a struggle.

Kari Lehtonen's play has been uneven in the new year, but consistency has been pretty much the only thing keeping him away from talks of being one of the top 10 goalies in the world throughout his career - well, that and injuries in his first few seasons. Had he been as steady as the offense, the Stars would definitely be in a playoff position as we speak.

But back to the 6-foot, 200-pound power forward who plays for Team France on the international stage, and who made the All-Star Team at last year's World Championships thanks to 11 points (6 of them goals) in just 8 games on an 8th-place team. He also has 17 points in 22 games overall while representing his home country, one which traditionally had trouble scoring in these types of tournaments. He just turned 25, and may have a 30-goal season or two in him if he can keep his antics in check (he was on pace for 15-20 this year, depending on when you did the math).

And so here is my first of probably many posts on the Bruising Frenchman (trademark pending), featuring him wearing the Dallas Stars' current, beautiful green (home) uniform, from Panini's 2013-14 Contenders set, signed on-card in blue sharpie:
One small gripe about the product: in a day and age when even autograph cards are super-thick, Panini opted to go super-thin on the ones from these Rookie Ticket (also part of the Dual Rookie Class sub-set) cards, which might be a reason why the top-right corner is a little damaged on the back and was that way when I opened the pack. The cards are beautiful and all, but for the $80 price tag one expects them to come in mint condition at the very least.

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