Friday, April 2, 2010

Stéphane Fiset Autographed Card

As a young boy/young goalie entering my teens in the late 80s, it was all about Patrick Roy. No other NHL goalie could touch him, in my book, and those who won awards (say, like Ed Belfour's Vezina as a rookie, or Mike Vernon stealing the Stanley Cup on the Forum ice in 1989) were all just stealing Roy's trophies.

Only two goalies didn't have that effect, and both times it was because they'd been spectacular in international play for Team Canada in tournaments I'd paid close attention to - Sean Burke (1988 Calgary Olympics, then with the New Jersey Devils), and Stéphane Fiset (1990 World Juniors, then with the Québec Nordiques).

I hadn't paid much attention to the 1989 World Juniors, so I didn't witness Fiset being pulled in a 7-1 loss to the Soviet Union, but I saw every single game of the 1990 version where he was named Top Goalie and won gold. And he belonged to the Victoriaville Tigres, the same team Roy had been on. And then he played with the Nordiques, my favourite team. It was all working out.

Except the Nordiques were terrible. As a matter of fact, despite having played 6 games in 1989-90 and 3 more in 1990-91, Fiset didn't get his first win until the 1991-92 season, eventually going 7-10-2 in 23 games. And by the time they were good enough, they seemed to favour an even younger draftee, Jocelyn Thibault, a skinny pimple-faced teenager with yellow equipment from his junior team.

And then the team became good and both goalies shared net duties, and the team moved to Colorado. As luck would have it, near mid-season, Fiset had the best statistics in the NHL - leader in wins, save percentage, and goals-against average. It was looking great. The Avs even decided they'd trade Thibault away - only it was for Roy, the best goalie in the world. Fiset played backup for the rest of the year and earned a Stanley Cup in the process. A few days later, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

He spent parts of 6 seasons with the Kings, his ice time decreasing with every passing season, first sharing duties with Jamie Storr, then being surpassed by Félix Potvin. Eventually, as he had spent the entire campaign in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs, he was traded to the Montréal Canadiens, playing in only 2 games with his hometown team before retiring.

He still ranks among my favourite goalies of the 90s, though. This card (#452), from Upper Deck's sleek 1991-92 Upper Deck (High Numbers) set, features Fiset coming into contact with the Canadiens' Lyle Odelein and was signed in person in slick blue sharpie, outside the RDS studios (which are conveniently situated near my house), as he was a guest on a hockey-related show.


  1. Mike Vernon stealing the Cup in Montreal? Oh my goodness, they were beat clean, something like 9-1. At least that's how I remember it.LOL....Hey S, that was kinda funny eh? Actually I hated Vernon with a passion....

  2. That glove hand came in handy in the 89 playoffs though, I remember all those spectacular saves against the Campbell Conference opponents on the way to the Cup Final, I was shocked (and happy) when MacInnis won the Conn Smythe.

    Apart from that season, though, I was never a fan nor impressed by his play, especially not in Detroit.

    Why did you hate him? 'Cause he stole Wamsley's job?

  3. I think I hated him bc aside from the 89 Cup win he let a lot of soft goals. He would have a lot more success but never seemed to win the big games. The stats show he did but for a kid from Calgary he sucked...LOL...