Monday, November 23, 2015

Craig Anderson: 2 Autographed Cards

At this point, many of you realize Craig Anderson is one of my favourite active goalies, because he gets the job done with little fanfare, steadily rocking along on underdog teams and quietly pulling back-to-back shutouts just to bring his stats line back to normal (.921 save percentage, 2.61 GAA, a fifth-in-the-league 508 total saves despite ranking 18th with ''just'' 15 games played) after a sub-par couple of games (and that 7-goal outing against the Nashville Predators especially) had scared off those who just look at the standings but never watch the games.

Anderson's not a nobody: he finished fourth in Vezina voting twice; he outplayed Carey Price both times they faced each other in postseason play (last year, and two years prior to that), and he suited up for Team USA at the World Championships twice (2006 and 2008). But the fact that he plays for a small-town Ottawa Senators team often leaves the goalies playing in the bigger markets (Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Quick, Steve Mason) getting more air time than he does.

Speaking of Team USA, here's one of two cards he signed for me in blue sharpie after one (dominating) game versus the Montréal Canadiens during the last playoffs:
It's card #155 from In The Game's 2011-12 Between The Pipes set (part of the Stars And Stripes sub-set), showing a close-up of him and his mask - though it's a picture of him with the Sens, not actually the American team.

Which brings us to card #348 from Panini's 2013-14 Score set, where he's displaying his full mastery of the butterfly move with a save with his left pad, wearing the Senators' red (home) uniform:
This one will be my first entry of Anderson's in my Sens Numbers Project, rocking #41.

He has terrific leg-rebound control; that was a move I used to love doing myself, either sending the puck away to the corners where my defensemen would recuperate it, or if there wasn't any traffic in front of the net and I wanted to show off a bit, I'd kick-pass it the other way to a defenseman who was back-checking so he could send the play back into the offensive zone right away.

As I've mentioned before, I also (mostly) wore Brian's equipment, and I liked to keep my glove hand lower than most goalies do nowadays, because moving it upwards quickly is more natural than sending it down, so I'd keep it just above parallel to the ice, say at 30-35 degrees, which means that on plays where it was shot low, that picture is pretty much what I looked like - except with a Vaughn blocker and Victoriaville stick. And a full-cage Jofa helmet instead of a mask.

Anderson has two more years past this season as the Sens' #1 goalie; currently standing at 34 years old, he should be exiting his prime by then and might be ready, mentally, to mentor the Sens' next budding star in nets, which looks right now to possibly be Matt O'Connor.

No comments:

Post a Comment