Friday, August 2, 2013

Jan Bulis Autographed Team Postcard

I'm finally ready to knock off another card on my Habs Numbers Project, with #38, Jan Bulis:
A star player in Juniors for the Barrie Colts, Bulis was chosen 43th overall (in the late second round) by the Washington Capitals in 1996, ahead of Pierre Dagenais (46th), Colin White (49th), Zdeno Chara (56th), Oleg Kvasha (65th), Jon Sim (70th), Arron Asham (71th), Mark Parrish (79th), Toni Lydman (89th), Éric Bélanger (96th), Michal Rozsival (105th), Andreas Dackell (136th), Robert Esche (139th), Dan Hinote (167th), Pavel Kubina (179th), Willie Mitchell (199th), Tomas Kaberle (204th) and Sami Salo (239th).

In all honesty and quite objectively, he's had as good a career as anyone on that list not playing defense, though he never became the point-per-game player the Caps had hoped for when they drafted him. The Montréal Canadiens, however, after having acquired him along with Richard Zednik for Dainius Zubrus and Trevor Linden, taught him the finer points of playing well in his own zone and winning important defensive face-offs, and he became a decent two-way, third-line center for years, first for the Habs, then with the Vancouver Canucks, before making the move to Russia, where he's a 0.75 point/game forward who usually scores more than he gets assists.

I met him during the 2002-03 season, at a team event, during which he signed my team postcard in blue sharpie. He was a nice fellow, though a bit on the reserved side. He is seen here wearing the Habs' white (then-home) uniform, awaiting a pass from a a teammate.

He has represented the Czech Republic twice, both times in 2006, winning bronze at the Torino Olympics and silver at the Riga World Championships, though he has recorded no points in 17 senior team games (on teams stacked with talent such as Tomas Plekanec, Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang, Martin Straka, Martin Erat, Milan Hejduk, Ales Hemsky and Vaclav Prospal, mind you).

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