Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Darcy Tucker Autograph Card

If you've been following my blog of late, you'll have noticed I crossed off #12 off my Habs Numbers Project with Yvan Cournoyer and Mike Keane; another option would have been Darcy Tucker.

Except it's hard to identify him as a member of the Montréal Canadiens even though the team drafted him in the sixth round (151st overall) in 1993. For starters, he wore #42 for his first two seasons with the team, the first of which only lasted 3 games (and a minus-1 as lone stat to show for it), while the second one saw him reach 20 points on 7 goals and 13 assist, and a whopping 110 penalty minutes in 73 games; don't let those numbers fool you, though: those were mostly harassment-type penalties that proved costly to his team, and he rarely took on the responsibility of extinguishing the fires he set.

When he did switch over to #12 in 1997-98, he played 39 games with the team, with just a goal and five assists, before getting shipped to the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he played for parts of three seasons. He had his first (of six) 20-goal seasons in Tampa, 21 in 82 games for 43 points... and a minus-34 to go with it.

The Lightning then traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team of goons that fit his style - and both protected him and allowed him to gain the courage to step up himself - with Mike Johnson going the other way. He played seven and a half years in Toronto, where he was a fan favourite, along with other hard-checking forwards Shayne Corson and Tie Domi.

The Leafs offered him a 4-year, $12M deal prior to the 2007-08 season, and bought him out after just one year; his $1M annual cap hit went off the books last June, six years later. All told, he played 947 NHL games, and contributed with 476 points and 1410 penalty minutes. He was a minus player on every team, finishing with a minus-86 in total, plus another minus-6 in the playoffs.

But I do have this card of his time in Montréal, from Pinnacle Brands' 1997-98 Be A Player set (card #119), an insert card signed in thin black sharpie:

On it, he's wearing the team's classic red (then away) uniform, hair flowing without a helmet, most likely during a pre-game warm-up.

He sells autographed items on his website: $50-75 for an 8x10 picture, and $350 for a jersey. All Leafs.

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