Friday, May 22, 2015

Mike Richter Jersey Card

Well, the New York Rangers have tied their series at two wins apiece against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 5-1 win that saw Rick Nash score twice, Martin Saint-Louis score once and Henrik Lundqvist stop 38 of 39 shots fired against him.

Strong goaltending being a factor in a Rangers playoff win led me to this card of Mike Richter's, from Upper Deck's 2008-09 Masterpieces set, the ''Authentic Memorabilia'' insert version of card #CC-MR of the Canvas Clippings sub-set, showing him in the Rangers' classic blue (then-away) jersey but incorporating a white swatch:
I'd featured a card from this set before, one that Rogatien Vachon signed for me by mail a couple of years ago, but these really are fine cards, with terrific texture and nice, matte finish that both signs well on and complements the jersey swatches when applicable. It's tasteful, too.

I wasn't always a fan of Richter's though. I thought he was a tad over-rated, having never won NHL hardware (save for the 1994 Stanley Cup), finishing among the Vezina finalists only once (third place in 1990-91), playing in three All-Star Games and leading the league in sub-par categories such as wins (42 in 1993-94), games played (72 in 1997-98), goals allowed in (184 in 1997-98), ties (15 in 1997-98), and losses (31 in 1999-2000).

But you've got to give credit where credit's due, and his play at the inaugural 1996 World Cup was a big reason why Team USA beat Team Canada and win top honors, getting named Tournament MVP (and best goalie) in the process, though it is important to note that Canada opted not to even invite the best goalie in the world - Patrick Roy - to play on its team. You reap what you sow.

And he was a big part of the Americans' losing bid at the 2002 Olympics, losing the final game to earn a silver medal while Canada captured gold on U.S. soil.

He finished his NHL career having played for just one team, and a nice round number of 666 regular-season games for the Original Six franchise, winning 301 of them in the pre-shootout era.

All told, he was pretty good, definitely All-Star material, but it's also fitting the he isn't in the Hall Of Fame, because he did fall a bit short of that.

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