Monday, December 20, 2010

Tomas Plekanec: 3 Autographed Cards

What a terrific Holiday Season it's turning out to be... first my childhood inspiration Sergio Momesso wrote back, then Trevor Linden - the only Canuck I cared about in the 80s and 90s apart from Petri Skriko and Tony Tanti, whose names I thought were amazing. And today - four returns, starting with this one, Tomas Plekanec. I had sent a fan letter along with these three cards care of the Bell Centre on November 19th, a terrific, swift return from one of the league's best all-around players.

Indeed, The Turtleneck-Wearing One (a team staple in the 80s that he's the only one keeping alive) has steadily accumulated 20-plus goals in four consecutive seasons while collecting tons of assists from his highlight-reel near-impossible passes, most often while shutting down the opposing team's top line. It's why, even in games where he won't make the scoresheet, he won't be in the minuses despite playing over 22 minutes. I don't think the Montréal Canadiens have had a player of his skill set understand the subtleties of the game as well as he had since a certain Jacques Lemaire in the late 70s and early 80s. The only year in which his production dipped in his career was the season during which neither of his then-wingers - Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn - managed to get get the puck in the net at the same pace as usual. The nifty passes were still there, along with the defensive prowess, but the assists didn't add up, explaining why it's also the only season where he scored more (20) than assisted (19).

I love these cards. As usual, I tried to pick different jerseys and managed to do so with the classic home and away Habs uniforms. Also, for the card on the left, notice he's wearing jersey #35 (despite signing #14 on the card!), the number he wore for his first three seasons, a time during which he and fellow youngster Chris Higgins were more or less battling for the same position (top line, penalty-kill, powerplay), and the other kid got the better breaks; I still have my Plekanec #35 jersey - I've been a fan of his for a while! That card is from Fleer's 2007-08 Fleer Ultra set (card #98), ''secretly'' made by Upper Deck: there is mention on the card and back of it being made at the ''UDC plant, Las Vegas'' complete with its address, but the full name doesn't appear anywhere.

The card in the middle, where's he's sporting the team's red jersey, is from Upper Deck's 2010-11 Victory set (card #103), a beautiful, ultra-glossy set. I got a box of these and barely got any quality inserts, but the base cards made up for it.

The card of the right, where his slap shot is testing his stick's strength to its limits, is from Panini's 2010-11 Score set (card #271), a beautiful set that pays tribute to the brand's very first set (from 1990-91).

All three cards were signed in black sharpie and have his jersey number (#14) added on. You might notice it's a tad different from the AHL insert card I wrote about last year, but that's pretty normal: he has worked his signature into a 'professional autograph'. There are many similarities, the way he writes his first name, for one, ending it in a twirl. His last name is just longer, and where he used to favor the 'K' in it, he now keeps it subtle.

Here's hoping he finally gets a Selke trophy nod this year.

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