Monday, March 15, 2010

Chris Phillips Autograph Card

Granted, expectations were high when the Ottawa Senators picked Chris Phillips with the first overall choice in the 1996 NHL draft - you expect that pick to have an immediate impact on your team.

To his credit, though, he wasn't a bust like Alexandre Daigle or Alexei Yashin, and, apart from maybe Daniel Brière (Phoenix Coyotes, 24th pick), he's as solid as anyone else chosen in the first and second rounds that year, although reigning Norris winner Zdeno Chara was picked in the third round. And it wasn't exactly a weak year either, a whole bunch of guys ended up playing in the NHL, but apart from Chara, there weren't any NHL hardware winners, just occasional All Stars (Tomas Kaberle), good second-liners (Jean-Pierre Dumont) and tremendous role players (Steve Bégin).

And Phillips is right up there with the best of them. With the departures of Chara and Wade Redden, he is now counted upon the best on the team's top shut-down pair with Anton Volchenkov; he can also fill in on the point on the second powerplay unit and sees most of the ice time shorthanded.

He has represented Canada four times - twice winning gold at the World Juniors (1996 and 1997), and twice obtaining silver at the World Championships (2005 and 2009). He's 4 in 4, so if I were Hockey Canada, I'd keep inviting him...

This card (#007) was found in a pack of In the Game's 2001-02 Be A Player Signature Series cards, signed in black directly on the card; Phillips even went a little over the allotted space. It generally sells between $10 and $20.

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