Friday, April 16, 2010

José Théodore Autograph Card

Some people are good at delivering fast, witty one-liners, and others... not so much. José Théodore is among the latter. However, one thing he excels at is stopping a small, vulcanized rubber puck shot at roughly 100 mph from entering a 4'-by-6' enclosure with a net. Most years.

But what most people are talking about is the pseudo-feud between him and the Montréal Canadiens' most consistent player Tomas Plekanec, where Plekanec commented that playing against Théodore wasn't as difficult as playing against Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur, prompting Théo's response, saying ''Tomas who? Jagr? Oh, Plekanec...'' except Jagr's first name, of course, is Jaromir. And they look nothing alike, even when biking together.

But when Théo concentrates on doing what he does best - as he did last night, stopping 35 of 38 Habs shots - he becomes a factor in a game, a streak, or even a series. As a Hab, he stole 2 playoff series by himself, to add to his regular-season success (3 times the team's MVP and Molson Cup recipient, a Hart, a Vezina and a Crozier trophy as league MVP, best goalie and best save percentage, respectively).

Upon being traded to the Colorado Avalanche, despite taking a while to settle in his new environment, he pretty much single-handedly stole another playoff series in 2007-08, after posting a 2.4 GAA and .910% season. And now, as the regular starter for the Washington Capitals, he went 20-0-3 in his last 23 regular season starts before his 35-save effort last night.

I think we can call him an elite goaltender. I like him a lot - I just hope the Habs beat the Caps. But if they can't, sure, I wish Théo and the Caps a Cup. In the East, it's quite simple: I don't want either the Penguins (not a fan), Devils (they've had their share), Bruins (natural rivals), Sabres (they've never won it - let the streak continue!), or Flyers (not without Emery) to win, so this series will eliminate one of my two favourite options in the East, while Ottawa... well, at least they're not the other 5.

This beautiful ''Gold'' insert card from In The Game's 2000-01 Be A Player Signature Series (card #195) sees Théodore in full action, moving to the right for what is likely one of his signature spectacular saves - he always produced highlight-reel material, even in so-so seasons. The signature is relatively clear, in black sharpie, right on the card (you can see he goes over the allotted white section and onto the gold foil), and he ended it with his trademark '60', his jersey number.

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