Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Simon Gagné Autographed Card

Today we tip our hats to one of the most prolific scorers of the Dead Puck Era, Simon Gagné, who retired yesterday after taking a leave of absence from the Boston Bruins midway through last season to be by his father's side, as he was dying of cancer. He'd actually earned a contract from the Bruins after coming to training camp on a PTO, a feat that only a couple of players achieve each year.

The two-time NHL All-Star had reached the Conference Finals twice with the Philadelphia Flyers and once with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and earned a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012. Factoring in the Bruins and Tampa's then-uniforms, he only played for black-suited teams in his 14-season career.

He reached the 40-goal plateau in both 2005-06 and 2006-07 and has suited up for Team Canada on five separate occasions, winning two gold medals (2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup) and two silvers (1999 World Juniors and 2005 World Championships), and was also on the hugely disappointing 2006 Olympic squad that failed to medal in Italy.

As he was taking a break from competition last year, he did show up at a few events and LHJMQ games at the Colisée Pepsi (home of the Québec Remparts, his former Juniors team) late last season, where he signed this card:
It's #270 from Upper Deck's 1999-2000 Series 2 collection, showing him in the Flyers' classic black uniform, which he signed in thin blue sharpie.

To me, this will always be the way I remember him; the Flyers are the one team I'll always associate him with, despite liking the Kings and his winning the Cup in L.A. It's fitting that his most memorable moments to me are from the 2010 playoffs, where he almost single-handedly orchestrated the Flyers' historical comeback, as they were trailing the Bruins 3-0 and won the series in 7 games; he'd missed the first three games due to injury, scored the overtime game-winner in Game 4 keeping his team alive, scored two goals in Game 5, had the assist on Mike Richards' game-winner in Game 6, and scored the winning goal himself in Game 7.

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