Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tony Amonte Jersey Card

My hometown Montréal Canadiens beat one of their most bitter rivals tonight, the Philadelphia Flyers, in a 2-1 overtime nail-biter. Sure, the Flyers aren't contending this year, but they always play extremely well against their most important rivals - the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers, and the Habs; this wasn't going to be easy, but Ray Emery was spectacular and Philly hung in there until the end.

Which seemed like the right excuse to feature this card of Tony Amonte, showing him as both a Flyer and a member of the Calgary Flames, from Upper Deck's 2005-06 Series 1 set (card #J-TA of the Game Jersey sub-set), featuring a decent-sized orange swatch and showing him in the Flyers' black uniform:
Honestly, my memories of Amonte are hazy, because right now, I'm not sure I remember him playing for the Flames. To me, he - and Jeremy Roenick for that matter - will always be the guy who played for Philly and the Chicago Blackhawks. I remember his rookie card from his days with the New York Rangers, but it was in white and black (with the third colour being either red or orange) that I mostly remember him.

And he was such a dominating player - six straight 30-goal seasons, three of them above 40 - that I have trouble fathoming he retired with ''only'' 900 points and didn't hit the millennial mark.

But mostly I remember the inaugural 1996 World Cup, and his scoring the Finals winner with less than three minutes remaining, on my birthday, at the then-Molson Centre as Team USA beat Team Canada, who had opted not to put Patrick Roy on its roster because who needs the guy who won a Stanley Cup three months ago and already has two Conn Smythes anyway (and would eventally win a third, sitting as the only NHLer ever to do so, one more than the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, and Bernard Parent, and two more than the likes of Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden, Mike Bossy, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic, Serge Savard and Steve Yzerman)?

But I digress. As it stands, Amonte is the 11th American-born NHL points leader, and 81st overall in career goals with 416. He's in the top-100 for career shorthanded goals, career game-winners, and straight-flush 100th for points. Granted, players in the early days like Newsy Lalonde and Jack Laviolette didn't play anywhere close to 80 games a year, but Amonte definitely left his mark in hockey history. I'd put him on the level of Eric Lindros and where I would have put Mats Sundin: just outside the Hall Of Fame, but definitely on a plaque of dominant/star players of the 1990s.

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