Saturday, June 7, 2014

Brendan Gallagher Autographed Unused (Cancelled) Game Ticket

I touched upon a subject last Thursday that I thought I should provide closure on, and I figured showcasing this gem of an item might do so, if only to not have that paragraph seem gratuitous. And because I think it's good to get personal on blogs sometimes. I write about how I admire certain people, certain teams, how I know a few players or musicians or comedians personally, how (and where) I meet others; I had opened up about just about everything that was relatively superficial to anyone on the outside, and I thought it'd be cool to delve a bit into something more tangible, albeit - in this case - ultimately unsuccessful.

I was spending a lot of time with a lady lately, both in person and in my head. Among other things, we attended two Montréal Canadiens games together this year. It didn't pan out, and she thought it best if we remained on friendly terms, because we did get along in many respects; I'm still trying to figure out where she would (have) fit in the grand scheme of my life, but I'm kind of realizing it probably would not (and will not) work in the medium-to-long term, because while our tastes are similar, our characters just aren't. It happens, and you can't become friends with everyone you meet.

Where it gets interesting for this blog - rather than my ''more personal'' one - is our common love for hockey in general, and the Habs in particular; her favourite player is Brendan Gallagher, so I thought I could try a couple of things for her. The first thing I did was write him for a TTM request with some custom cards, which I did in the first half of March - there hasn't been a reply yet.

Then, I used one of my contacts to have this specific piece signed:
It is a ticket from a cancelled pre-season game between the Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils from the locked-out 2012-13 season - in other words, an official team ticket from a game that never happened. Back then, Gallagher wore #73, but when Michael Ryder came back with the team, he gave it up and switched to 11.

I had purchased the unsigned ticket off Ebay (from a seller I knew) and given it to someone in the Habs' organization to have it autographed.

This item should have been sent to her, but instead was sent back to me, and I received it on Thursday. I'm still planning on giving it to her in the future, but it'd be too awkward to do it now, I just need to let the moment pass. All things come in due time.

There is good reason to like Gallagher. He has always proved naysayers wrong, from the WHL's Vancouver Giants merely selecting him in the 9th round to all NHL teams passing on him 5 times in 2010 (he was drafted 147th overall by the Habs) after proving his character by scoring 81 points as a Junior, which he followed with a 91-point season. In his final year in Juniors, he helped Team Canada to a bronze medal at the World Juniors, scored 7 points in his first game back with the Giants, assumed team captaincy and registered 41 goals and 77 points in just 54 games. He finished his WHL career as the Giants' all-time leader in goals and points, ahead of Adam Courchaine and Evander Kane.

He only spent half a season in the AHL, playing 36 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs (10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points and 61 penalty minutes) during the NHL lock-out, graduating to the Habs as soon as NHL play resumed - and finishing among the Calder trophy finalists in the process.

Through a year and a half of NHL play, it has become clear that he may not have a shot that makes him a consistent 30-plus goal scorer, but he has the drive and determination to will himself to score between 20 and 30 regularly and once or twice probably flirt with 35, mostly off rebounds. Every single goalie in the league knows exactly what he smells like from his being in their face and in their crease all the time; he is probably a league leader in receiving cross-checks in the back. And the more he gets under his opponents' skin, the happier he gets.

We'll love him as long as he stays in town, but he's the type of player that gets a ridiculous contract offer (double or triple that of others in his statistics range) from another team the minute he hits free agency, and is given a letter to wear on his chest immediately, à la Brian Gionta, Martin Lapointe, and Chris Drury, just because the example he provides for his teammates is worth what he can't make up for in raw talent.

In the meantime, he's the sparkplug on the right wing that head coach Michel Therrien uses to wake a sleeping line up... and it works every time.

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