Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pierre-Marc Bouchard Jersey Card

The curious case of Pierre-Marc Bouchard... drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (8th overall) of the 2002 NHL draft (ahead of Cam Ward, Alexander Semin, Keith Ballard and Duncan Keith, among others) after winning Top Prospect honours in both the QMJHL and CHL, Bouchard was expected to be the same type of player Mike Ribeiro turned out to be: an adept playmaker with great deking hands who can lead his team in scoring once in a while.

Combined with Mikko Koivu, he was supposed to be the beginning of the Wild's change from a defense-oriented team to more of an offensive threat.

Unfortunately, it took him until the 2006-07 season to reach the 20-goal barrier, and until 2007-08 to gather more than 60 points (63, off 13 goals and 50 assists). And just when it looked like he was getting there, he had a sub-par season in 2008-09 (16 goals, 30 assists, 46 points in 71 games) before suffering a concussion in the very first game of the 2009-10 season - from which he has yet to recover. He only started skating again - lightly - this week.

Very few players come back from a year-long injury to reach elite levels; it's even rarer when it comes to concussion victims. But he claims he's 90% recovered, we'll just have to wait and see.

This beautiful card (#U-PB) is from Fleer's 2006-07 Fleer Ultra set, the Ultra Uniformity sub-set. It sports a gorgeous dark green patch, probably from the jersey's waist line. I used to not like the Wild's jersey colours, I found them ''un-hockey-like'', but I've gotten used to them and find them ok now.

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