Friday, May 2, 2014

Alex Tanguay: 6 Autographed Cards (Part 2)

           (continued from the previous post)

Ironically, Alex Tanguay's trade request led him to the one place he always thought would be uncomfortable playing in: for the Montréal Canadiens. Growing up a Québec Nordiques fan - like myself - he had learned to hate the Habs; additionally, when the Nordiques left for Colorado, the Habs being the last French-Canadian team standing meant there was added pressure for French-Canadians to do well in their uniform, and it wasn't something he wanted to contemplate thinking about in his early years in the NHL, though by 2008 he was ready to give it a shot.

He arrived right at the team's Centennial season, where expectations were high: the fans were promised no less than a Stanley Cup. Starting on the second line, then falling to injury, Tanguay would be combined with superstars Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu on the top line for the last while of Guy Carbonneau's coaching term, becoming one of the best-producing lines in the league over those few weeks. Tanguay even finished 4th in team scoring despite only appearing in 50 games.

But because the season didn't end with a Cup, most of the veterans were let go and a total of 13 players were replaced in the off-season, Tanguay being one of them. Still I now have four cards to show for my Habs Numbers Project, starting with these three in the team's white (away) uniform, all of them - of course - with the commemorative Centennial patches on the shoulders:
All of them are action shots and manufactured by Upper Deck. The card on the left is from the beautiful (though less than in other seasons) 2008-09 Ice set (card #3); the one in the middle, card #491, is from the 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee set (a cool foil variant); and the card on the right is from the 2009-10 Victory set (card #107).

Also from UD's 2009-10 Victory, this card from the Stars Of The Game sub-set (#SG30) shows him wearing the Habs' classic red (home) uniform (with the Centennial patches):
After a one-season stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tanguay went back to the Calgary Flames for three seasons, before they sent him back to the Colorado Avalanche in his third career draft-day trade.

I had sent him these six cards and a fan letter on March 11th, 2014 (care of the Avs), and received all of them back, signed in black sharpie with jersey numbers tagged at the end (sometimes 13, sometimes 40, not always matching the number on the card!) on Wednesday, April 23rd (2014) - a cool 50-day return. They're all beautiful cards, and I'm glad I got to feature him in the uniforms I mostly watched him play in - as well as scratch #13 off my Habs Numbers Project.

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