Saturday, March 1, 2014

Marc Denis Jersey Card

The second card I got from my trade with Dave is this Marc Denis jersey card:
It's from Upper Deck's 2009-10 Series 1 set (card #GJ-MD of the UD Game Jersey insert sub-set), and features a black swatch, likely from his days with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It would have been a feat to have a swatch of a jersey he'd worn with the Montréal Canadiens - with whom he is pictured here - considering he only played one period with his hometown team, giving up one goal in a 4-1 loss.

The fourth goalie (and third Québec-born goalie) chosen in the first round of the 1995 draft at the 25th spot by the Colorado Avalanche, Denis played 28 games over three years with the Avs, accumulating three shutouts, with a 2.52 GAA and .918 save percentage, but he was never going to dethrone Patrick Roy, so the team traded him for a second-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he was the go-to starter for 5 seasons.

In Columbus, he set an NHL record for minutes played with 4511 in 2002-03, as he went pretty much unopposed until Pascal Leclaire showed up. On awful Jackets teams, he was generally very good, stopping approximately 90% of shots and averaging a little over 3 goals against per game while his defense gave opponents prime scoring chances.

It was when he was sent to Tampa that things went bad for him, going 17-18-2 with a 3.19 GAA and .883 save % in 44 games (compared to Johan Holmqvist's record of 27-15-3, 2.85 and .993 in 48 games with the same team) in 2006-07.

2007-08 wasn't any better, as he went 1-5-0 in 10 games, with a 4.05 GAA and .859 save percentage, earning a demotion to their AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals (where his stats did normalize 2.91 and .910). He was bought out in the off-season and the Habs signed him as their back-up plan to Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price. He spent most of the year with the Hamilton Bulldogs, going 27-18-0 in 46 games, with a 2.46 GAA and .920 save percentage and 5 shutouts but was not re-signed, the team ready to hand the reins of their AHL net to Cédrick Desjardins who, ironically was traded to the Lightning twice after that.

Internationally, he has represented Team Canada 4 times, twice at the World Juniors (winning gold medals in both 1996 and 1997) and twice at the World Championships (gold in 2004, 4th place in 2006). His career record in both is astonishing:
Juniors: 9 games, 7-0-2, 1.43 GAA, 1 shutout
Men's: 5 games, 4-1-0, 2.51 GAA, .916%, 1 shutout
After two seasons in the AHL, though, no NHL team wanted to take a chance on him, and though the AHL and European leagues came calling, he opted to retire instead. He first turned to coaching in the LHJMQ, then moved to his current position of Habs games analyst on RDS. In my opinion, he's the best they've had in their 25+ years of existence, both in the quality of his explanations and analysis, and erudition of vocabulary.

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