Saturday, February 21, 2015

Éric Desjardins Autograph Card

I saw the news items about Éric Desjardins being inducted into the Philadelphia Flyers Hall Of Fame - but it didn't compute until I had already written this post on Janne Laukkanen last night.

Desjardins is a bizarre case for Montréal Canadiens fans, because even though he was a big part of the team (alternate captain, a key member of the 1993 Stanley Cup-winning team with a hat trick in the Finals against the Los Angeles Kings, a member of Team Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup), he himself identifies more with the Flyers, which is normal considering he spent 11 years there, with some success, twice finishing in the top-5 in Norris Trophy votes, and twice on the NHL's Second All-Star Team, captaining the team for nearly a hundred games.

And yet, while they should, many Flyers fans and bloggers don't remember just how great he was. We're talking about their #1 defenseman, a powerplay quarterback with a hard, low shot perfect for deflection and rebounds, and a near-perfect penalty killer. With the Flyers, he made the Canadian team twice more - at the 1996 World Cup and 1998 Olympics. He even won the team's ''best defenseman award'' a record 7 times - the only other multiple winner is Mark Howe, who merely earned it 4 times.

He played in three All-Star Games - once representing the Habs (1992), and twice the Flyers (1996 and 2000). He was also an impact player when the playoffs came around, as can be attested from the following statistics when he made deep runs:
1992-93: 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points in 20 games
1994-95: 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points in 15 games
1996-97: 2 goals, 8 assists, 10 points in 19 games
1999-00: 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points in 18 games
He has also posted over 40 points six different times, with a high of 55 in 1999-2000. He was part of one of the two trades that shaped the Flyers for a decade - the first one being the Eric Lindros trade - coming from the Habs along with the preeminent powerforward of his era (John LeClair) and sniper Gilbert Dionne for Mark Recchi and the pick that became Martin Hohenberger.

And while I do have a card of his with the Habs that was signed in person, I thought it'd be fair to showcase him solely with the Flyers for today, showing him in their white (home) uniform from my youth, from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set (card #253, the 'Gold' variant of the signed insert series, with an on-card black sharpie autograph and his jersey number, 37, tagged at the end):
For most of his tenure in Philadelphia, he was an alternate captain, so I'm happy this card shows that.

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