Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nik Antropov Jersey Card

So it looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs are combining their yearly pre-playoff meltdown with a half-planned tanking to get in on the McEichel sweepstakes along with perennial bottom-feeders Carolina Hurricanes, Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers.

I, for one, hope Buffalo finishes last - which will ensure them of at least picking one of Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid, and that the Oilers or Colorado Avalanche win the lottery to get the first pick. I'd hate to see one of the two blue-chip prospects save a dwindling franchise when fans from other markets have been supporting their crappy teams through thick and thin.

The Leafs just haven't been the same since the days of Mats Sundin and Nikolai Antropov, where the two towering and tough centers plowed through the opposition and helped build the Bay Street Bullies identity that former GM Brian Burke loved so much.

Antropov was the only Leaf I liked, so I collect his cards even though he's mostly shown with a team I'd rather avoid, like here, where he's sporting their classic white (then-home) uniform, with a matching game-worn jersey swatch:

It's from Fleer's 2008-09 Fleer Ultra set (card #UA-NA of the Ultra Uniformity sub-set) by Upper Deck.

He's currently in the final season of a two-year contract with the KHL's Astana Barys club, so maybe he'll cross back to this side of the pond eventually - he is, after all, a Canadian citizen now, though he still plays for Team Kazakhstan internationally.

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