Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keith Tkachuk: 2 Autographed Cards

Upon learning this morning that Keith Tkachuk had decided to retire at season's end - and with the Greatest Hockey Legends blog debating whether he should be inducted in the Hall Of Fame or not - it wasn't very difficult finding my subject this morning.

Although I agree with Greatest Hockey Legends that he should not make the cut, based on the fact that he has never led a team to any significant victory (only twice was he on a team that made it past the second round, and only once made it to the Conference Finals while blowing 3-1 series leads on three separate occasions), but he could be counted on for close to 50 goals and 200 PIMs per year in his heyday and will retire as the fourth player in NHL history with 1000 points and 2200 PIMs and as the fourth-highest scoring American.

The thing is, he was a very good player, but not an impact player, on par with, say, Eric Lindros, Trevor Linden and a few others. The Hall is for the true Elite players, the consistent, durable players that warrant immortality - like Jaromir Jagr, Dominik Hasek and Joe Sakic, not a sometimes-team-leader like Vincent Damphousse.

Sure he played in 4 Olympics, but only managed to score 3 goals in 23 games... ouch.

It's my opinion, but my main tie-breaking thought when pondering this was the following: a lot of people have questioned Cam Neely's induction, saying it trivialized the Hall; in my opinion, Neely deserves it more than Tkachuk, so the point is moot.

Ironically, both of these cards were signed around the same time: the card on the right, a 1995-96 Be A Player by Upper Deck (#S215, the same set that didn't name the teams the players played on, nor showed their logos), the Ice Wars insert sub-set, came signed in the pack, in thin black sharpie; the other card, a beautiful 1994-95 Upper Deck (card #145) whose backside depicts him in the Winnipeg Jets' dark jersey, as opposed to the white, home one in front of both cards, was signed during the 1996 World Cup final, held in Montréal at the Molson Centre. I was looking for many players' autographs, but Tkachuk was one of the few Americans who bothered to do so (in blue sharpie), and he gets my full respect for that.

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