Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jeff Beukeboom Autograph Card

Last weekend, I wrote about perhaps my favourite alternate jersey in sports, the New York Rangers' Statue Of Liberty third jersey from the end of the 1990s. In 1998-99, however, they got greedy and went for a White Liberty uniform, which didn't work nearly as well:
That's Jeff Beukeboom, who I featured as a member of the Edmonton Oilers earlier this fall, hinting that I'd talk about his career with the Rangers later. Now is the time. The card is from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set, a signed insert of card #242 in the set, with a thin black-sharpied autograph.

Mostly partnered with Brian Leetch, Beukeboom was the defensive anchor that allowed Leetch to act as a rover - or fourth forward if you will - because it was understood that #23 would be able to hold off the opposition through his physical presence and stable positioning, and either stop plays by himself or stall them enough for Leetch to have enough time to skate back with his tremendous speed.

They complemented each other so well, most teams went out of their way to try to copy the ''one up front, one out back'' philosophy after over a decade of mostly-similar pairings of defenders who would either attack or defend - not necessarily both at the same time.

His physical play led to his having a few concussions - both directly (out of the contacts he initiated), and indirectly, notably from a sucker-punch by then-Los Angeles Kings forward Matt Johnson in 1998-99, which left him so fragile that the next hit he received, although benign by comparison to what he had withstood in his career, would not only force him to retire, but with lingering post-concussion symptoms that lasted for more than two years.

He has four Stanley Cups to his name, three with the Oilers and the 1994 one in New York. He has been an assistant coach in the OHL and AHL in the past decade.

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