Saturday, March 15, 2014

David Booth: 3 Autographed Cards

Continuing with my involuntary theme of consecutive Florida Panthers cards comes these three cards I got in the mail on Friday, March 14th 2014 from David Booth, now with the Vancouver Canucks. I had written Mr. Booth a fan letter with these three cards on January 31st, 2012, care of the Canucks, which makes this a 774-day round trip, perhaps my longest return so far (I only started counting the days between sending and receiving recently):
The Panthers' second-round pick (53rd overall) in the 2004 draft, he would have been eligible for the previous year's draft if he'd abandoned his college hockey career, but since he didn't, was allowed to play for his full 4 seasons for the Michigan State University Spartans, where he accumulated a total of 105 points in 134 games.

As a 6-foot and 212-pound left winger who isn't afraid of playing in traffic, he is considered a power forward, though he might be a tad on the small side for that (the ideal power forward stands between 6'2'' and 6'4'' to crash the net defended by a goalie who now averages 6'3'' and is protected by defensemen who weigh over 220 pounds and who are now allowed to play a rougher game than when play resumed after the 2004-05 lockout). Perhaps because of his size, he was only able to play one full 82-game season thus far, scoring 23 goals and tallying 17 assists for 40 points in 2010-11, finishing third in team scoring, 9 points behind leader Stephen Weiss.

And that's the thing when people talk about his statistics: he has over 100 NHL goals and over 200 points but has played over 400 games to get there. But 300 of those games were with the Panthers, far from an offensive powerhouse. Basement dwellers, actually, more often than not.

Fast, smart, with a decent finishing touch but also a pretty good ability to check the opposition, he is definitely a first-liner on a bad team; he would be an ideal second-liner on a playoff-quality team, and a luxury third-liner with powerplay and penalty-killing time on a stacked Stanley Cup contender like the Chicago Blackhawks or Anaheim Ducks (though possibly a first-liner on the stacked-at-center Pittsburgh Penguins). With the Canucks, he should be Ryan Kesler's shadow/pretend twin, jumping on the ice at exactly the same time; not only are their skills and playing styles compatible and complementary, they've played together on and off since they were 12 years old.

Internationally, he has represented Team USA three times, winning gold at both the 2002 U-18 World Championships and the 2004 World Juniors, and a sixth-place finish at the 2008 World Championships in Québec City (where I saw Ilya Kovalchuk and Team Russia beat Team Canada 5-4 - in overtime no less! - in the Final).

Let's now look at the cards, first featuring the Panthers' white (away) uniform:
The card on the left is from Upper Deck's 2008-09 Power Play set (card #131), the beautiful blue background providing a nice contrast with the uniform; the card on the right is from UD's 2008-09 Victory set (card #114), showing him in a game against my hometown Montréal Canadiens.

And from Panini's 2010-11 Score (card #217 in the set), one where he's wearing their black (home) uniform:
All of them are signed in (fading) black sharpie.

I would have wanted to send him at least one of him wearing the Canucks' uniform, but he had yet to have one published.

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