Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pascal Leclaire Autograph Card

For the life of me, I can't understand why people even think there's a doubt that Craig Anderson will be the #1 goalie for the Ottawa Senators this year, ahead of Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond. I see it in every pre-season preview magazine, it's all over the sports blogs, people have no respect for a #1 goalie who has proven time and time again to be among the league's top-10, and who two years ago was leading the Vezina race by a landslide before getting injured.

And it's not the first time a Sens goalie doesn't get his dues; Ron Tugnutt led the league with a GAA under 2.00 (1.79 in 1998-99) and has similar stats in the playoffs (1.98 and .917 save percentage in 1996-97) and he's still considered a career backup; Patrick Lalime, as previously mentioned, was top-10 in Vezina voting twice, and had amazing playoff statistics as well:
2001-02: 1.39 GAA, .946 save %, 4 shutouts in 12 games
2002-03: 1.82 GAA, .924 save % in 18 games
2003-04: 1.96 GAA in 7 games
One goalie who doesn't factor in this conversation is Pascal Leclaire, a very talented netminder who just fell into some injury trouble with the Sens and never got to show he could do the job as well as the others. Upon retiring at age 29 because of recurring hip problems, he became a player agent, a position he still holds to this day.

Here he is looking good and natural in the Sens' white (away) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2012-13 Fleer Retro set (card #96-PL of the 1996-97 Skybox Autographics throwback design sub-set):
He has suited up for Team Canada twice and won silver both times, starting as the #1 guy at the 2002 World Juniors where he posted a 1.80 GAA with two shutouts in 5 games, as well as at the 2008 World Championships where he had a 2.00 GAA, one shutout and a .925 save percentage in 4 games.

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