Friday, April 25, 2014

Scott Mellanby: 6 Autographed Cards (Part 2)

         (continued from the previous post)

When 1992-93 came to an end and he had ''only'' registered 15 goals and 32 points (147 penalty minutes) in 69 games, Scott Mellanby was left unprotected for the expansion draft and quickly chosen by the Florida Panthers, with whom he had an immediate impact.

He scored the very first goal in team history, still shares the team record for most assists in a single game (4), and made hockey folklore by killing a rat in the team's locker room, prompting a craze known as ''rat trick'', where fans would throw plastic rats on the ice every time the team scored a goal.

He had two 30-goal and one 27-goal seasons with the Panthers, and was considered an elite power forward in the NHL in the mid-to-late 1990s.

After leading the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, he was named its captain in 1997, a position he held until 2001, when he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, with whom he did post a 26-goal, 57-point season (with 176 penalty minutes) in 2002-03.

His last team was the Atlanta Thrashers, with whom he had two 12-goal seasons and was their captain for his entire run with the team.

All told, he played in 1431 regular-season NHL games, captained two teams, scored 364 goals, assisted on 476 others (good for 840 points), with nearly 2500 PIMs. Plus a 24-29-53 production (and 220 PIMs) in 134 playoff games that resulted in 3 Cup Finals.

These cards show him with the Panthers:

On the left, from Pinnacle Brands' 1993-94 Score (card #503), we see him wearing their white (home) uniform, in his usual position near the opposing goalie's crease; on the right, from Pinnacle Brands' 1994-95 Score (card #102), he's wearing their red (away) uniform with the alternate captain's 'A' stitched on his chest, fighting for puck possession with the New York Islanders' Pierre Turgeon.

I had sent Mellanby a fan letter and these six cards on February 2nd, 2014 - care of the Montréal Canadiens, where he is the Director of Player Personnel - and received them back on April 25th (2014), 81 days later, signed in (a fading) black sharpie. A tremendous return from a player I have always respected, though as a Habs and Colorado Avalanche fan, he was always on the wrong side to openly cheer for!

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