Thursday, April 6, 2017

Steve Konowalchuk Autograph Card

The Washington Capitals have clinched the Presidents' Trophy for the second consecutive season, but getting out of the Metropolitan Division won't be a cakewalk, seeing as it's home to three of the top five teams in the league - points-wise, at least, although the division's basement-dwellers were among the worst in the league - but it must be pointed out that one of those will be eliminated when the Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hopefully, the Jackets make it through.

The Caps really are a force, having the most offensive depth in the league (Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, André Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Daniel Winnik, and Jay Beagle), the best goalie in the game in Braden Holtby, a very reliable defense that operates without a superstar (John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik, trade deadline acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk, Nate Schmidt, John Erskine and Taylor Chorney), and one of the best coaching minds in the league in Barry Trotz.

Here's an error card of former Cap two-way center Steve Konowalchuk (spelled "Konowalchuk"), showing him with the team's turn-of-the-millennium dark blue (away) uniform with the Capitol building logo, which is the signed silver version insert of card #13 from In The Game's 2000-01 Be A Player Signature Series set, autographed on-card in thin black sharpie:
When he first joined the Caps, who had drafted him 58th overall in 1991, he was slotted behind Dale Hunter, Dave Poulin, Michal Pivonka and Joé Juneau but climbed the ranks steadily, earning his teammates' respect enough to serve as captain (2001-03) until he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. He could be depended upon for 40-some points each season in the era between the first two Gary Bettman-led lockouts (from 1995-96 until 2003-04).

He earned enough league-wide respect to not only be selected as a depth player for Team USA's 1996 World Cup run, but even to suit up in a game and help it earn the win. He also played in the 2000 (5th-place finish) and 2002 (7th place) World Championships.

Following his playing career, he spent time with the Avs in player development roles and two seasons as an assistant coach before becoming the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds head coach in 2011-12; the team lost in the Finals last season and boasts an even better record (46-20-0, for a .681 win percentage) this year.

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