Saturday, October 25, 2014

Vincent Damphousse Autographed Card

Tonight, as a nice gesture of solidarity in honour of the two soldiers slain in separate events in Canada this week, the Montréal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs will band together via video link and observe a simultaneous minute of silence followed by showing the national anthems sung in Ottawa.

I figured I could do my part by featuring a player who had a distinguished career in two of those cities, Vincent Damphousse. I had previously featured Damphousse in 2011 with cards of his with the Habs, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks I'd sent him at the spa facilities he owns; I hadn't sent one of him with the Leafs because I already had this one:
It's from Upper Deck's 1990-91 Series 1 set (card #224) that he signed for me (in thin black sharpie) in the early-to-mid-1990s when he was dating one of my mom's friends... and several other women.

As far as skills go, Damphousse was a heck of a talent. He scored 38 goals or more four times (reaching 40 in 1993-94), hit the 50-assist mark six times (with a high of 61 in 1989-90), reached the 90-point mark four times (with a high of 97 in 1992-93) and the 80-point plateau another two times, including an 89-point season in 1991-92. He played in 4 All-Star Games (1991, 1992, 2001 and 2002) and was the Game MVP at the 1991 on the strength of 4 goals, tying an NHL record.

As far as being a team player, he captained the Habs from 1996 until 1999, and won the Stanley Cup with the team in 1993. He was also on Team Canada at the 1996 World Cup, a depth center behind Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Eric Lindros and Steve Yzerman. Also centers on that team but usually playing out of position were Joe Sakic, Trevor Linden, Keith Primeau, Rod Brind'Amour and Adam Graves.

When he was with the Habs, though - and especially after he got the captaincy - something started bothering me about his play. Despite finishing 4th in Selke voting in 1995-96, I noticed every time he would move on the opposing team's center or defenseman when they had the puck, he would slash them with his stick, right above their gloves, essentially trying to injure their wrists. It wasn't very sportsmanlike, and was probably the main reason why he garnered 559 penalty minutes in 519 games in Montréal. But on a team with historically gentlemanly captains such as Jean Béliveau, Henri Richard, Émile 'Butch' Bouchard and Guy Carbonneau (and, later, Saku Koivu and Brian Gionta), I deemed it unacceptable.

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