Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three Curtis Sanford Autographed Cards

For most of his career, Curtis Sanford went by the nickname ''The Sandman''; when the Vancouver Canucks got him to change it to ''The Big C.S.'' - which doesn't even make sense considering his 5'10'', 190-lb frame - it's like he became more and more prone to injury, which is ironic in itself, considering he went undrafted and got his big break playing for the St. Louis Blues when their 3 other goalies (Brent Johnson, Fred Brathwaite, and Reinhard Divis) all fell to injury in the 2002-03 season.

He played well enough to earn the #1 goalie spot for a while, though, at times playing better than Patrick Lalime, at times sharing duties with Manny Legace. He was even named the NHL's Player Of The Week for the week of November 14th, 2005. But injuries became a recurring theme, and the Blues let him go to free agency; as is often the case with Blues netminders, he was relegated to backup duty when the Canucks signed him, but filled in admirably each time Roberto Luongo went down, including stopping 35 of 36 shots (good for a second star nod) in his first win for Vancouver.

Unfortunately, the acquisitions of Jason LaBarbera and Andrew Raycroft by the Canucks pretty much showed him the door, and he signed with the Montréal Canadiens' organization for the 2009-10 season, who sent him to their AHL affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs to start the season, one thinks before they settled on which goalie to trade between Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price, with GM Bob Gainey leaning towards sending Halak away.

Well, Price choked got unlucky breaks, Halak got hot enough to not only save the Habs' season but played like a playoff MVP, and Sanford again battled through injuries in mid-season, enabling youngster Cédric Desjardins to play enough (and well enough) to go to the AHL All Star game.

With his luck, Sanford should go ahead and get himself a black cat and start walking under ladders, because it can't get much worse!

These three cards were sent with a fan letter to the Bulldogs' home arena (Copps Coliseum) on March 20th, and received back this morning, May 25th, signed with a black sharpie that is on the brink of dying and with his jersey number (#1) at the end, despite his number being 41 with the Canucks.

The card on the top-left is his rookie card from the 2002-03 Topps Total set by Topps (card #438, from a pack I purchased at a dollar store back in the day!), wearing the Blues' white uniform, getting ready for action coming his way. The card on the bottom also sees him in his Blues whites, this time catching the puck in his glove to freeze play on a beautiful, horizontal 2006-07 Upper Deck Series 1 card (#170), while the card on the top-right sees him sporting the horrible blue/green Canucks home jerseys reminiscent of their first NHL jerseys - I strongly prefer the late-80s black jerseys and the stylized-skate logo; it's taken from Upper Deck's 2008-09 Series 1 set.

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