Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Claude Larose Autographed Card

In a long-awaited new installment of my Habs Numbers Project, here stands the first of two representatives of #11 (edit: Ryan Walter is now also online), Claude Larose:
It's card #69 from Parkhurst's 1995-96 Parkhurst Reprints set, the third such set by the revived card brand, this time hypothesizing how a 1966-67 set would have looked like. He signed it in person, in thin blue sharpie, with a very clear signature.

A French-Canadian from Hearst, Ontario, Larose was a heavy power forward who made his mark for most of the 1960s and 1970s with three teams - the Montréal Canadiens, Minnesota North Stars and St. Louis Blues - including two separate stints with the Habs that led to seeing his name engraved on the Stanley Cup five times in ten seasons.

He reached the 25-goal mark with each team, with a high of 29 with the Blues in 1976-77, his penultimate season. He reached the 20-goal mark six times and totaled 226 (along with 257 assists, 483 points and 887 penalty minutes) in 943 regular-season games, and another 14-18-32 and 143 PIMs in 97 playoff games.

He had a knack for making his linemates better, as Ralph Backstrom had his best years alongside Larose, and Danny Gare won the Calder Trophy by his side with the North Stars.

He claims to hold a Canadiens record by scoring 9 goals in 3 games, the first being a 4-goal outing alongside Frank and Pete Mahovlich, the second being a hat trick skating with Jacques Lemaire and Steve Shutt, and the third a two-goal performance in what would eventually be Guy Lafleur's spot with #25 and #22.

His son, Guy Larose, played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins - all Habs rivals - in the 1990s. Claude has been a scout with the Carolina Hurricanes since their days as the Hartford Whalers.

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