Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peter Popovic Autograph Card

I figured it was time to get back to my Habs Numbers Project... I have a few cards waiting in the wings, and I wanted to cross off #34 with Peter Popovic.

The 93rd pick of the 1988 draft, Popovic waited until after the Montréal Canadiens had won a Stanley Cup (1993) before leaving Sweden to cross the ocean,.and was one of the team's best shut-down defenders during his time in town.

In five seasons with the Habs, he was +24 despite only registering 7 goals and 55 points. He won the Jacques-Beauchamp trophy as the unsung hero of the 1995-96 season.

After the Habs traded him because of a contract dispute, he spent one season each with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, never loving another North American city as much as Montréal.

He has played for Tre Kronor (Team Sweden) at the World Juniors, the World Championships, and the World Cup - who always recognized his defensive abilities - and is now an associate coach with the team, a position he has held since 2011.

The Hockey Hall Of Fame had this to say about him:
Peter Popovic was one of those gigantic defensemen that could fall down in his own zone and still cover as much ice as two little defenders still on their skates. He was never flashy on the skill front, but he was always useful at bottling up the perimeter of his own crease.
 True that at 6'6'' and 230 pounds, he was a huge physical presence that was more than useful in the clutch-and-grab era...

This card, #6 in the set, is from packs of Pinnacle 1996-97 Be A Player, by Pinnacle Brands, and came already signed in black sharpie:

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