Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Matt Duchene Jersey Card

With his Olympic gold medal in Sochi, and now the gold medal from the World Championships in Prague over the weekend, Matt Duchene is now one Stanley Cup away from joining Sidney Crosby in the Triple Gold Club...

He is also a gold medal winner from the 2012 Spengler Cup, the 2008 U-18 championship and 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (Junior U-18) as well as the 2008 U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Not bad, eh?

I was impressed by his performance at the Worlds this year, seeing as he was the third-line center (behind tournament MVP Jason Spezza and captain Crosby), still scoring 4 goals and 12 points in 10 games, getting his points but melting in the team-first mentality along with his Colorado Avalanche teammates Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly and Tyson Barrie.

I'd featured Duchene twice before, once with the Avs' white (away) jersey, and once in the pretty blue (alternate) one, so here he is in the burgundy (home) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1 set (card #GJ-MD of the UD Game Jersey sub-set:

Like the other two, it incorporates a burgundy game-worn jersey swatch - but this time it really matches the picture.

As was the case with many of the Avalanche's young stars, Duchene had an off year statistically, with merely 55 points in 70 games - although his 21 goals were in the vicinity of what can be expected of him, he's just usually stronger on the assists front.

Pundits have tried explaining the situation with ''pretend-fancy stats'', but I, for one, don't buy it: the Avs aren't a team that shoots blindly at the other net 40 times per game; they possess the puck and make plays through deft passes, not an over-abundance of shots. It's an anomaly in today's ''pray for a deflection'' NHL, but it's the closest thing to hockey one can play in 2015. The Avs just lacked a #3 and #4 defenseman to move the puck forward and may have missed André Benoit's contribution on that front - and the competition within the division improved greatly.

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