Saturday, May 3, 2014

Vincent Riendeau: 6 Autographed Items

Here's another superb return this week:
Undrafted, Vincent Riendeau was signed as a free agent by the Montréal Canadiens at the end of his Juniors career, and posted fantastic numbers over two seasons with their AHL affiliate Sherbrooke Canadiens. Unfortunately, he kind of blew his audition with the big club, letting 5 goals pass him by in less than two periods of play; he was traded to the St. Louis Blues the summer before the 1988-89 season with Sergio Momesso, for Jocelyn Lemieux, Darrell May, and the draft pick chosen to select Patrice Brisebois.

He played three full seasons with the Blues, each year playing more, from 32 to 43 to 44 games, and improving his win/loss ratio each time as well - from 11-15-5 to 17-19-5 to 29-9-6 - as the team grew more and more competitive, but they decided it was time to give Curtis Joseph the net, which prompted his trade to division rivals Detroit Red Wings (for defenseman Rick Zombo), where he spent parts of three seasons before a trade to the Boston Bruins, where he spent a year and a half.

Then followed six turbulent, eventful years playing in Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Russia (as the first Canadian professional ever signed to a contract), the North American minor-league system in IHL and the WCHL. All told, he played 15 pro seasons before the Toronto Maple Leafs hired him as the goaltending coach to improve the game of one... Curtis Joseph.

From that point on, he became a goaltending consultant, both for pro teams and for amateur players (visit his traveling hockey school's website here, with one session even reserved for women!), and was the Hamilton Bulldogs' goalie coach this season - and one could argue that Dustin Tokarski, Robert Mayer and Devan Dubnyk were the lone positives on their roster this year.

I had sent him these 5 cards and a fan letter, care of the Bulldogs, on March 26th, 2014, and got all of them back, signed in black sharpie - even the fan letter, with a note that roughly translates to ''Best regards'' - on May 1st (2014) - last Thursday, for a 35-day return.

Here's a more detailed look at the cards, first with a couple of cards with the Blues' classic 1980s-1990s blue (away) uniform:
Both are from Pinnacle Brands, with the card on the left (showing him likely in a pre-game warm-up) from the 1991-92 Score (French Canadian Edition) set (card #23), and the card on the right from the 1990-91 Score collection (card #107).

With the same uniform, there's also this 1991-92 Pro Set card (#213 in the set) from Pro Set:
I got two of these, so one of them could be up for trade
And another Pinnacle Brands card, this time showing him with the Wings, from the 1992-93 Score set (card #396):
Notice how he wears a Jofa helmet instead of a mask? I used the exact same one...

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