Thursday, December 24, 2009

Saku Koivu And Chris Higgins Jersey Card

My, my how thing change rapidly in sports!

First, let's put this card in context: it's card #WC-KH from Upper Deck's 2008-09 SPX Hockey series; 2008-09 was the beginning of the 15-month span the NHL called ''The Canadiens' Centennial Year'', and to commemorate the 'event', Upper Deck also released a special 'Habs Centennial' set - so they're aware of the team's history, and have a few 'ins' in the team's present.

This card features, on the left, the team's longest-serving captain ever, Saku Koivu, and a red piece of his home jersey. It was widely known that the 2008-09 season was Koivu's final contract year; whether he'd come back or not was a mystery. On the right of the card, with a white patch from the team's away jersey, is Chris Higgins, sporting his alternate captain's A - he'd worn it before, but the summer before the 2008-09 campaign was when he was given the A permanently; from the day he was drafted, he was viewed by the team as the potential next captain. This card, basically, cemented that idea; it was a ''passing of the torch'' thing, full of symbolism.

A year later, Koivu went to the Anaheim Ducks over the summer, and Higgins was traded to the New York Rangers for, essentially, Scott Gomez. The other two drafted-to-be-captains, Mike Komisarek (free agent, to Toronto) and Kyle Chipchura (traded for a sixth-rounder) are also gone; local hero Guillaume Latendresse was traded to Minnesota a few weeks ago and last year's Player With Heart Maxim Lapierre, another local boy, is but a shadow of himself; the team actually has no captain this season.

History was made for the Centennial Season, just not the history that had been planned upon.

''Passing of the torch'', indeed.

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