Friday, December 5, 2014

Kyle Chipchura Jersey Card

Yes, the Arizona Coyotes are in panic mode.

After buying out their lone #1 center Mike Ribeiro last summer, then claiming to go through a youth movement before back-tracking and claiming veterans will help the team make the playoffs, the Coyotes saw their backup goalie Devan Dubnyk outplaying starter Mike Smith, the team is starting to hold post-game meetings, GM Don Maloney threatened to trade all of his players, including those with no-trade clauses - and he got on that by sending Rob Klinkhammer - a winger who had 20 points last season - to the Pittsburgh Penguins, then putting Kyle Chipchura (a shut-down, penalty-killing center who also had 20 points last season) on waivers earlier today.

At this point, I'm probably more confident to see the Edmonton Oilers bounce back before Arizona...

Getting rid of your ''sure things'' isn't the way to build a contender, it's a sure-fire way to tank. Within just a few months, Maloney got rid of his best offensive weapons (Ribeiro at center, and he let goal-scorer Radim Vrbata walk as well), and his penalty-killing center, because who need centers, passers and scorers, right?

Don't misunderstand me on the importance of Chipchura: he's slow for the NHL, and his 20 points last year were a career-high - an attainable goal, but far from a guarantee. What he can give you, though, is leadership (he captained Team Canada at the World Juniors and was drafted by the Montréal Canadiens in the first round on his leadership skills alone), ability in the face-off circle (i.e. ''initial possession''), and decent defensive play, particularly on the PK. And all teams need that, particularly teams who cannot replace that skill at a higher speed.

For my complete view and evaluation of his skill set, I'll refer you to this post I made in September, which I still stand by; the only thing that's changed since that post is I no longer keep contact with my ''new friend''.

But I thought the news of his being waived, and likely return to AHL play, warranted I talk about this terrific card, from In The Game's 2011-12 Heroes And Prospects set (#M-10 of the Game-Used Jersey sub-set, the ''Black'' variant):
As you can see, it contains a rare jersey swatch with a stitch from both the red and white parts of the Hamilton Bulldogs' jersey, though it shows him wearing the Portland Pirates' red (away) uniform - and the alternate captain's ''A'' sewn on his chest. Either it was a mistake, or they used an old swatch, as Chipchura hadn't played for the Bulldogs since the 2008-09 season; then again, he hadn't played in the AHL at all between that season and 2011-12, and he was only there because of the lockout, as he played in 46 of the Phoenix Coyotes' 48 games when play resumed.

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