Friday, January 22, 2010

Mike Richards Jersey Card

Mike Richards, this year, is a case I've been wrestling with: so talented, captain of his team (the Philadelphia Flyers), but also guilty of one of the dirtiest hits in the NHL this season - and it's been a season riddled with cheap shots all over. I can deal with his teammate Chris Pronger being talented and vicious, but it's been hard to imagine Richards being made from the same mold. Oh well, the Broad Street Bullies are, indeed, back. He's made the Canadian Olympic team, and he'll join Pronger there, and we'll see how he fares. I don't know how to judge this Olympic team, either; it has enough talent to win the gold, but also the intangibles to finish 5th behind the Russians, Swedes, Finns and Slovaks. Mind you, I have the same hesitations about the Russian and Swedish teams.

Here's a card from when he was just a rookie behind a talented offensive cast with the Flyers- full of promise, far from the scrutiny and pressure he's under now. The year was 2005-06, the set was Fleer's Fleer Ultra, and the sub-set was Rookie Uniformity, where players pose for the camera on the ice and, seemingly, the jerseys worn are introduced on the card, at the time an inventive way to offer player memorabilia before anyone else, even if it's never actually been used in a meaningful setting. The thought process, at the time, was: if autographed cards have barely been in the athlete's hands, why would collectors complain about a jersey that was at least worn for a couple of minutes by the player. Times change, I guess.

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