Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ladislav Smid Autographed Card

Ladislav Smid is a towering defenseman barely entering his prime. He has spent his entire career with the Edmonton Oilers despite having been drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks - he was part of the trade that sent Chris Pronger to the Ducks and granted them their Stanley Cup. It seems Mrs. Pronger thought Edmonton's winters were too harsh, so Chris asked out of the permafrost and said hello to California.

Smid was almost dealt to the Ottawa Senators in the failed Dany Heatley trade (the Ottawa winger refused to waive his no-trade clause to play in permafrost, and instead went to play in California), but wound up staying in Edmonton, where he is now, at 26, an important part of this great, young team.

At 6'3'' and 226 pounds, he is coming into his own, using his speed to sometimes help the offense (his 3 goals this year almost equal the 4 he'd had in his career before the season started), and his physique to play well defensively without taking too many penalties, just 42 minutes in 72 games so far. He is also a +1 as we speak.

This card is from Upper Deck's 2007-08 MVP collection (card #128), back when MVP was a stand-alone set - they've been inserted in the other UD sets these past couple of seasons, as ''bonus'' or ''inserts'', but until recently could be had in all-MVP packs. Visually, I think these are nice, the white border being pretty much an Upper Deck staple, and I like the facsimile autograph as a look.

But for the autograph collector, having a player sign next to a copy of his signature feels weird. Smid signed this card for me - the only one I had handy - in blue sharpie, at the Bell Centre earlier this season, on November 8th. The Oilers won 3-1, and he finished the night at +2. It was a weird night for me, personally, as my life seemingly started slipping from my grasp as I was watching my childhood team beat my hometown team, wearing my old Wayne Gretzky jersey, learning my ex-girlfriend - who was watching the game with me - was now seeing another guy.

Life - it's made of ups and downs.

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