Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Don Beaupre Autographed Card

Going into the All-Star break, the Washington Capitals are leading the NHL with 73 points ahead of defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks, offensive powerhouse Dallas Stars, regular-season juggernaut St. Louis Blues, the prefectly-balanced Los Angeles Kings and the rising Florida Panthers, with games in hand on everybody, ranging from 2 (Kings) to 7 (Hawks!).

They are currently on pace for 130 points, which would not only shatter their team record of 121 (reached in 2009-10, though they were ousted in the first round that year by Jaroslav Halak and the Montréal Canadiens), but they're also on pace to break the Detroit Red Wings' 124 points from 2005-06, which marks the highest total since the season-long 2004-05 lockout.

Alex Ovechkin remains a scoring machine, Nicklas Backstrom remains an elite set-up man, Braden Holtby is the early favourite to win the Vezina Trophy (ahead, in my opinion, of Corey Crawford and Roberto Luongo), and head coach Barry Trotz looks like he's in full control of the situation.

Speaking of All-Stars and goalies, here's a card I uncovered recently when going through old stuff, actually looking for old textbooks full of songs as I was preparing for my first-ever all-French show on January 15th:
That's Don Beaupre, of course, the two-time All-Star, who was wearing Cooper equipment instead of the Vaughn gear he'd wear a few years later. It's card #307 from Pro Set's inaugural 1990-91 Series 1 collection, which he signed in thick blue sharpie, which pinpoints this to probably just before I stopped paying attention to hockey for a few years, so probably November 18th, 1995, as his Ottawa Senators lost to Patrick Roy and the Habs, two weeks before the infamous trade that burried the Canadiens for over a decade and was the final nail in the coffin of my rooting for them, following the trades of Guy Carbonneau, Chris Nilan, Éric Desjardins, John LeClair, and Donald Brashear, and the naming of Vincent Damphousse as captain (terrific player, not a guy you want to have as a leader).

But I digress. Beaupre was a fine goaltender, often found in the top-5 in many categories, notably goals-against average and shutouts, in which he led the league (with 5) in 1990-91, while with the Caps. He played parts of six seasons in Washington D.C., for 269 regular-season games and 36 more in the playoffs, but spent eight and a half seasons with the Minnesota North Stars (316 regular-season games and 34 in the postseason), so he was a big part of two different teams.

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