Friday, November 7, 2014

Cory Conacher Autograph Card

Cory Conacher is currently suiting up for his 4th NHL team in three NHL seasons, or at least he was, until the New York Islanders scratched him last night. And won. Against the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

There's a reason why he went undrafted, and when he started off brilliantly with the Tampa Bay Lightning, some attributed it to his diminutive stature, standing at just 5'8''; at that time, his name rang a bell, and I looked him up to find he did, indeed have the hockey genes and pedigree I expected, being a relative of three Hall Of Fame players, Charlie, Roy, and Lionel Conacher. He also tore up the AHL, playing in their 2012 All-Star Game (and has 114 points in 118 games at that level).

He's also an underdog because his diabetes is so severe that he has a permanent insulin pump attached to his hip whenever he's not playing. You're kind of supposed to root for him.

But he fell out of favor in Tampa, who traded him to the Ottawa Senators (for Ben Bishop, and because they already had Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner). Who put him on waivers, where the Buffalo Sabres - the worst team in the league last year - took a chance on him before letting him walk.

And yet there was hope on Long Island, as he started the season playing alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the first line... until gradually taking the route to the press box.

Hockey culture is big on pride and hiding your injuries, but if it's his disease that's causing him to have ''down'' moments, he should be open about it and not be uselessly criticized. It's a lot better for a player to be seen as ''useful for 60 games a year'', rather than ''a nuisance for 30''.

I'll take a guy with lot of heart on my middle-six forwards before one who produces the equal amount of points but shows up in only a third of the games. In just over two NHL seasons, I'm still not sure where I'd classify Conacher, though. I want to put him in the ''heart-and-soul'' category, what with battling health issues, and his size, and his never having been drafted, I want him to be that character guy, but I honestly don't know.

I pulled a lot of his cards last year and got this card of his in a group break a few months ago:
It's from Panini's 2013-14 Contenders collection, a Rookie Ticket autograph card (it's #269 in the set), showing him with the Sens' white (away) uniform. It's signed on-card in blue sharpie.

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