Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rodney A. Grant Autograph Card

As 2,000 veterans make their way to Standing Rock to hopefully alleviate some of the pressure at the pipeline protest site, where members of over 300 Native American and Aboriginal tribes and a few courageous others who defy the local government's threat of daily $1000 fines for standing alongside people trying to protect not just their land but also their entire region's water supply, I thought I could take a moment to feature character actor Rodney A. Grant - a member of the Omaha tribe of Nebraska - who is perhaps more known for his portrayal of Wind In His Hair in the 1990 Kevin Costner epic Dances With Wolves and legendary warrior Crazy Horse in the 1991 TV movie Son Of The Morning Star.

He also had bit parts in Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), The Jack Bull (1999), Ghosts Of Mars (2001) and both iterations of Ghenghis Khan (1992 and 2010). On television, he was a regular on Hawkeye (1994-95) and had guest spots on Due South, Two and Stargate SG-1.

However, for the purpose of this post, I'll show him from his tiny part in the 1999 flop Wild Wild West starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek and Kenneth Branagh, with card #A-13 from Fleer/Skybox's 1999 Wild Wild West collection (and Autograph Series sub-set), with a close-up of his face and an on-card signature in thin (fading) black sharpie:
 I got this card in a re-pack of "Celebrity" cards.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Cliff Floyd Autograph Card

Last year, I traded for this Cliff Floyd card (for three football jersey cards) but stashed it away for no good reason:
It's card #SCA-CF from Topps' 2015 Stadium Club collection and Certified Autograph Issue sub-set.

I fell upon it when unpacking from my eleven-day Canadian tour (seven days in B.C. - Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria - and four in the Ottawa region) last weekend and decided I should feature it right away, as it shows him wearing the Montréal Expos' final away (grey) uniform, swinging and hitting a ball.

Floyd had two stints with the Expos (1993-1996, plus an awful 15-game showing in 2002 where he had a .208 batting average) but had his best seasons with the Florida Marlins, including his two 20/20 summers and three straight seasons where he batted over .300; that includes his All-Star Game season in 2001, where he hit 31 home runs, his second-highest career total.

He hit 34 homers with the New York Mets in 2005. He has also briefly suited up for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres. He appeared in one World Series game with the Rays in 2008, with one hit in three at-bats.

He only suited up for more than 125 games in four of his 17 MLB seasons, suffering a multitude of injuries throughout his career.

Nowadays, he is a baseball analyst on TV and Sirius XM Radio.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Charles Hudon: Two Autographed Cards

The Montréal Canadiens and their prized prospect Charles Hudon got some bad news earlier today, when it was announced he had suffered a broken sternum in practice. He seemed to finally be ready to take over a permanent spot on the team, with 2 assists in 3 games at the NHL level and 14 points in 15 AHL games with the St. John's IceCaps, after three seasons in the minors that started with a Rookie Of The Year trophy and two second-place finishes among the team's top points producers.

Back when he was a teenager, he was a mainstay on Team Canada, as can be attested by these two cards that he signed last year from Upper Deck's 2014 Team Canada Juniors/Women set:
On the left is card #52 in the series, showing him wearing his country's white (home) uniform from the 2011 U-18 World Championship, while the card on the right is #108 in the collection, showing him in the red (away) uniform, from the 2014 World Juniors.

He autographed both in blue sharpie, adding both of his jersey numbers, 16 and 10 respectively, at the end. 10 has been his usual number for most of his career, but seeing as the Habs retired it for Guy Lafleur, Hudon currently wears #54 in the NHL.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Yann Sauvé Autograph card

I thought I'd check off #47 from my Canucks Numbers Project by featuring defenseman Yann Sauvé, a Montréal-born, Rigaud-raised player currently suiting up for the KHL's Croatian team, Zagreb Medvescak, with fellow Quebecers Francis Paré (undrafted 29-year-old former Detroit Red Wings prospect), Alexandre Giroux (former member of the Washington Capitals), fellow former Vancouver Canucks prospect Alexandre Bolduc, and Samson Mahbod (a player I'd never heard of before who has toiled in Junior A and the ECHL), as well as former NHLers Mike Glumac (St. Louis Blues, never returned my TTM request), Gilbert Brulé (Columbus Blue Jackets, never returned my TTM request), Bobby Butler (Ottawa Senators), Brandon McMillan (Anaheim Ducks), Lucas Lessio (Phoenix Coyotes), and goalies Drew MacIntyre (Buffalo Sabres) and Michael Garnett (Atlanta Thrashers).

You'd think the team would have a decent shot if you underestimated the KHL's talent level, but it stands at 13-17-0 for second-to-last in its division.

But back to Sauvé, a former Canucks second round pick (41st overall in 2008). He claims to have modeled his play after that of Mike Komisarek, which led many to see him as a failure for a high draft pick (he had also been a first-overall pick at the Juniors level), which is usually reserved for offensive-minded players.

Before playing in a single professional game, following the Canucks' young defensemen's streak of bad luck (R.I.P. Luc Bourdon), he was hit by a car, suffering through a two-month-long concussion.

He played in the AHL and ECHL before deciding to move overseas last summer, although he holds the ECHL's All-Star Game hardest shot record at nearly 100 miles per hour.

Here he is wearing the Canucks' retro stick-in-the-rink uniform, on card #SS-YS from Panini's 2013-14 Score set and Signature sub-set:
It features an on-sticker blue-sharpied autograph with his number tagged at the end.

Not many Montrealers remember him, but those who do do so because he was sent down to the AHL by the Canucks on the day that he was to play at the Bell Centre for the first time, in front of dozens of his friends and family in the stands.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Geoff Courtnall Autograph Card

I spent a week in Vancouver, which is why I've been absent of this blog for a while...

That got me thinking of former Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals star Geoff Courtnall, who was near the point-per-game mark for most of the middle of his career - seven of eight years between 1987-88 and 1994-95, as a matter of fact.

He retired with 367 goals, 432 assists and 799 points in 1048 regular-season NHL games and another 39 goals, 70 assists and 109 points in 156 playoff games (including a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and a Final with the Canucks in 1994) - not bad for a kid who went undrafted and posted just 26 points in 74 games with the AHL's Hershey Bears in 1983-84...

Post-retirement, after a rough neck injury, the two-time member of the St. Louis Blues has opened up about his father's suicide when he and brother Russ - also a former NHLer - were still kids, and is a leading voice in getting the conversation about mental illness and depression out in the open, particularly in Canada.

He is also dating singer Sarah McLachlan, as both got through their respective divorces after long-term marriages; McLachlan even sold her Whistler ski resort home to remain on the West Coast with Courtnall. Apparently, their sex life makes the news in English-speaking Canada.

Here he is wearing the Canucks' best (black, away) uniform, from In The Game's 2012-13 Decades - The 1990s set and Autograph sub-set:
 It's card #A-GCO in the series, which he signed in fading black sharpie.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Otis Nixon Autographed Card

What I remember the most about Otis Nixon was that he was so tall and lanky that a baseball bat would seem tiny and short when he was at the plate. Oh, and that he led the National League in stolen bases in 1991 while with the Atlanta Braves. That's on the field.

Off it, he... had issues. Most notably with cocaine, as he was arrested for possession and sent to rehab in 1987, then tested positive for it in 1991 and was suspended, missing the 1991 World Series in the process. He was also arrested with crack in 2013. And he "contributed to the delinquency of a minor" in 2015. And a "misdemeanor sexual battery" case in 2004.


Oddy enough, despite never hitting for .300, he was on the ballot for the 2005 Hall of Fame class and received a grand total of 0 votes.

I found it fitting.

Here he is from his days with the Montréal Expos, on card #451 from Score's 1989 Score set, which he signed in blue sharpie:
It shows him wearing the team's classic away - powder blue - uniform. Still, I can think of no more suitable representative of #35 for my Expos Numbers Project.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Anze Kopitar Jersey Card

I hinted last year at the sheer amount of Anze Kopitar jersey cards I own, and that I had to use pretty much any occasion to feature one so I can store it away in my Kopitar binder, but any news concerning the Los Angeles Kings has been pretty bad this year, and the team's new captain is no exception, missing his second straight game tonight due to what seems like an arm injury.

The Kings are currently down to their third goalie, Peter Budaj, after both Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff have fallen in the crease, pulling their groins. Marian Gaborik is also sidelined, although that is a more natural occurrence, as the star sniper and former Minnesota Wild captain hasn't played a full season since 2011-12.

Here is last year's Selke and Lady Byng winner wearing L.A.'s black uniform, on card #FR-AK from Upper Deck's 2009-10 Ice set and Frozen Fabrics sub-set:
It features a white game-worn jersey swatch.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Jocelyn Thibault Jersey Card

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Montréal Canadiens tonight, and I thought I could I'd feature a goalie who has played for both teams, Jocelyn Thibault.

A Montréal native, Thibault had a so-so career in Juniors that was rich in controversy, including accusations that his father issued his head coaches threats if they didn't play the diminutive goalie enough; all those efforts may have worked, however, as the Québec Nordiques made him the 10th overall pick in 1993, ahead of such players as Brendan Witt (11th), and All-Stars Kenny Jonsson (12th), Adam Deadmarsh (14th), Jason Allison (17th), Finnish legend Saku Koivu (21st), Todd Bertuzzi (23rd), Janne Niinimaa (36th), Bryan McCabe (40th), Éric Dazé (90th), Miroslav Satan (111th), Tommy Salo (118th), Patrick Lalime (156th), Manny Legace (188th), Pavol Demitra (227th), and Kimmo Timonen (250th).

The Nordiques really wanted to hand Thibault the net, often playing him ahead of Stéphane Fiset although Fiset was better and readier; plans changed a bit when the team moved to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995, and even more so when the Habs made Patrick Roy available on the trade market following an infamous game against the Detroit Red Wings.

At the time, Avs GM Pierre Lacroix went back to an offer previous Habs GM Serge Savard had made him a couple of months earlier, (Roy for Fiset and power forward Owen Nolan), but new (and newbie) GM Réjean Houle insisted on receiving Thibault as well as two forwards who would become disappointing, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Oh, and Houle threw in Habs captain Mike Keane in there as well, to avoid a controversy with his refusal to learn French to appease the team's fanbase.

So instead of trading the best goalie in the world for another #1 netminder and an All-Star winger, Houle gave away said best goalie as well as his captain and top penalty-killer for an unproven kid in nets and two wingers who wouldn't close out the decade with the team.

Poor Thibault, who had tremendously huge pads to fill with his frail 5'11", 170-pound frame - and never could. As a matter of fact, it's only when he was traded out of Montréal's pressure-cooker to the Hawks that he finally met the expectations that had been put on him, earning an All-Star Game nod in an 8-shutout season in  2002-03; indeed, he has more shutouts with the Hawks (28, in parts of six seasons) than all other teams he played for combined (11 with five teams over parts of 10 seasons).

It's fitting, then, that I first feature him wearing the Hawks' red (then-away) uniform, on card #10 of Pacific's 2001-02 Atomic collection and Authentic Game-Worn Jerseys sub-set:
It features a white game-worn jersey swatch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Marian Hossa Jersey Card

Marian Hossa is on a bit of a tear these days, with 4 goals in 5 games as the Chicago Blackhawks have put their early-season woes behind them, riding a five-game winning streak.

Hossa seemingly woke up from a year-long slumber after scoring his 500th career goal two weeks ago.

The future Hall Of Famer is one of the best two-way players of his generation; although he has been in the shadow of Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron, he and Tomas Plekanec round out the top-5 in my opinion.

Here he is wearing the Atlanta Thrashers' blue uniform, on card #J-MH from Upper Deck's 2007-08 Series 1 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It features a red/burgundy game-worn jersey swatch from the Thrashers' old Florida Panthers-like uniform (the oft-maligned alternate uniform with the numbers in front hadn't yet been designed at that point):
The Team Slovakia regular suited up for World Cup finalists Team Europe last September.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ed Beers Autographed Card

The Calgary Flames aren't doing so well under head coach Glen Gulutzan, certainly not any better than under Bob Hartley the last couple of years.

How bad is it? Well, last night, they suffered their 26th consecutive loss in Anaheim, dating back to when the Anaheim Ducks were known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim...

What do they need?

Better goaltending from Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, sure. Better defensive play as a whole. More effort. More grind. More classic Flames hockey, where even the star players show some grit, following in the footsteps of Willi Plett, Theo Fleury, Joel Otto and Jarome Iginla.

They might even need to build a time machine and bring back the 1983-85 version of Ed Beers, pre-back injury, the guy who put up 36- and 28-goal seasons for the Flames and posted 210 career points in 250 games.

Beers was like a more fragile Cam Neely, who would hang around in the slot getting cross-checked in the back, accumulating goals and retaliatory penalties in roughly the same amount, except Beers did it for three seasons to Neely's near-decade.

Here he is on card #24 from Topps' 1984-85 Topps set, showing him wearing the Flames' classic red (then-away) uniform, which he signed in blue sharpie:
This card checks off #27 in my Flames Numbers Project.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Benoît Brunet Autograph Card

Benoît Brunet was a superstar in Juniors, with seasons of 70, 110 and 143 points for the LHJMQ's Hul Olympiques, leading to the Montréal Canadiens selecting him 27th overall at the 1986 NHL draft. He also did well with their AHL affiliate Sherbrooke Canadiens, posting a league-leading 76 assists (as well as 41 goals and 117 points alongside Stéphan Lebeau, tearing the league's defenses apart) in 1988-89.

As the affiliate became the Fredericton Canadiens, he would spend some time going back-and-forth between the minors and the parent club, posting 20 goals and 27 assists for 47 points in 30 AHL games in 1990-91 and 1991-92, before earning a permanent spot in Montréal during the Stanley Cup-winning 1992-93 season.

The fact that the Habs were loaded up front (Vincent Damphousse, Brian Bellows, Kirk Muller, Lebeau, Denis Savard, John LeClair) meant he had to become a checking-line specialist, which he did; he was usually good for 25-30 points in 50-60 games, but back injuries would always force him out of at least a quarter of every season. And it got worse as the years went on.

He retired following a painful 2001-02 that saw him play for the Canadiens, the Dallas Stars, the AHL's Utah Grizzlies and the Ottawa Senators.

He then went into broadcasting, working for RDS's Canadiens broadcasts, climbing the ranks from between-periods talking head to full-time colour commentator and analyst, which he was hugely criticized for.

As a matter of fact, when he lost his job, this appeared in one of Montréal's four major newspapers (the sentiment made its way to all four):
Brunet had a terrible habit of defending the more primitive aspects of the game, forever leaning on the old cliches about guys standing up for each other, following the code and playing rough’n’tough. Often, his real-men-must-play-like-real-men comments would’ve fit right in on Coach’s Corner and that’s a bizarre concept when you think how unpopular Don Cherry is with francophone hockey fans.
But Brunet probably sealed his fate the night Zdeno Chara nearly sent Max Pacioretty to another world, crushing him into a stanchion at the Bell Centre. With Patch lying on the ice motionless, Brunet blathered on about how this is a contact sport – as if that justified everything – and that he’d played with Chara and he was convinced the giant defenseman would never deliberately hurt anyone. It was an embarrassing moment for hockey on RDS.
RDS announced Friday that former NHL goalie Marc Denis, who has worked for the network for two years, will take-over from Brunet, to do the colour on the Canadiens games alongside ace play-by-play man Pierre Houde. Brunet is not leaving RDS. The former Habs forward will still appear in the intermission panel moderated by Alain Crête and will be on the pre-game show Hockey 360.
You want to know the real reason Brunet lost his plum gig? Because TVA Sports, a rival channel run by Quebecor, is coming this fall and for the first time in its existence, RDS is going to face some real competition. And that’s good news. It means that RDS will at last have to field an A-list product, something it hasn’t done up to now with its Habs broadcasts. Giving Brunet the boot was a good first step. Now how about getting some semi-decent sound from the rink on the broadcasts? That’s one of the main reasons I usually watch on CBC, if the Habs game is available.
There's a lot of bullshit in there, including relying on penny-pinching Quebecor to raise the level of the game - it was never going to, and it hasn't. It cheapened it and brought it back decades, as was expected knowing how they run everything else they own, from TVA to their shitty tabloids to their reality shows and how they all converge into a mass-multi-platform constant infomercial of themselves, made up of people who have no grasp of any notions pertaining to communications - or even the fucking language, for that matter.

But I digress.

People tend to forget, but Brunet was better at playing hockey than he was at talking about it. Even I had pretty much forgotten about his past exploits in Juniors and in the minors before writing this piece, instead mostly remembering he missed 216 games due to injuries.

Here he is wearing the Habs' white (then-home) uniform, on the signed insert (gold variant) of card #70 from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set:
He signed it in thin black sharpie and added his uniform number (17) at the end.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dave Poulin Autograph Card

One thing that's cool about players from the 1980s and early 1990s is that they were entirely relatable to me; most of them were my parents' age, and most started playing seriously when I was born, or when I was a child.

Such was the case for former Philadelphia Flyers captain Dave Poulin, who was born the same year as my Mom and started playing College Hockey for the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish the year I was born, then went on to star in the NHL during all of my formative years.

Undrafted after his four seasons at Notre Dame, Poulin had a busy 1982-83, playing in Sweden for Division 1 team Rögle Bandyklubb (a.k.a. Rögle BK) for head coach Ted Sator, who moonlighted as the Flyers' power skating instructor and Swedish league scout, and upon the season's end promptly recommended him to his "other" employer, who opted to have him start with the AHL's Maine Mariners, where he was a point-per-game player (7 goals, 9 assists for 16 points in 16 games), earning him a call-up with the parent team to end the season, playing the final two regular-season games (scoring two goals) and three playoff games (posting 4 points), skating alongside future Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler and future star player Ilka Sinisalo.

The next season, he would line up with Tim Kerr and Brian Propp on perhaps the best two-way line in the entire league. Another Flyers playoff defeat signaled the end of an era with the team, and their captain and leader Bobby Clarke retired and was named GM, and fiery Mike Keenan was made head coach, meaning Poulin was thrust into a leadership role wearing the "C" on his chest at just 25 years old, in his second full season.

On a team that featured award-winning goaltending (Pelle Lindbergh first, and upon his death, Ron Hextall), Poulin was chosen to represent the team at the All-Star Game in three straight seasons, with a Selke Trophy win to end the 1986-87 season, after posting a +47 rating. The Flyers went to their second Stanley Cup Final in three years that season, but lost to the Edmonton Oilers.

After a disappointing 1988-89 and early 1989-90, the Flyers tore down their nucleus and traded Poulin to the Boston Bruins (for super-pest Ken Linseman), where he was reunited with Propp, leading the Bs to the Cup Final... which they lost to the Oilers.

In his final season with Boston, in 1992-93, he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his charitable work. He then spent two seasons with his former rivals, the Washington Capitals, retiring after the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season to become head coach at his alma mater, Notre Dame, for a full decade, with 19 of his players getting drafted by NHL teams.

My favourite quote of his is this one:
It's important as an athlete to know your limits and play within yourself. However, it's best to play at the upper limits. Everyone has limitations – it's how far you push the top end of them that makes you distinctly different and successful.
Here's a card of his from his final season, so with the Caps:
It's the signed insert version of card #124 from Upper Deck's 1994-95 Be A Player set, an NHLPA-only licensed product, which is why they do not name the team he plays for nor shows their logo, though it's clear he's wearing their classic red (then-away) uniform. He signed it in black sharpie and tagged his Caps jersey number (9) at the end.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Philippe Cornet Autograph Jersey Card

As I had predicted when I wrote about Philippe Cornet a year and a half ago, the Québec-born left winger has resorted to pursuing his hockey career in Europe; he currently has 4 goals and 6 penalty minutes in 6 games with the Finnish League's Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho, who stand in fourth place (out of 15 teams).

He spent last season playing with the Stavanger Oilers in Norway, scoring 23 goals with 22 assists for 45 points in 50 games, leading his team to the GET-ligaen championship.

I used to pull cards of his in nearly every set by Panini a couple of years ago, including this one, which looks great:
That's card #123 from the 2012-13 Prime collection, numbered 75/249 and part of the Prime Rookies sub-set. It features no less than four event-worn jersey swatches and an on-card signature in blue sharpie, along with a mention that it is his Rookie Card.

The gold-plated foil everywhere on the card makes me think Donald Trump designed it, which would explain why border-crossing Cornet has been exiled to Europe.

It shows him wearing the Edmonton Oilers' classic blue (now-home) uniform. The Oilers are doing great this year, finally fulfilling all the promises their fans had been hearing for the past decade. All it took was Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

6-Pack Break: 2016-17 Upper Deck Tim Hortons

And so my friends, with great regret, I must pass on the sad information that I have purchased the last six packs of Upper Deck's 2016-17 Tim Hortons Collector's Series in my area.

My inserts have started repeating themselves, what with doubles of Erik Karlsson's and Henrik Sedin's Local Leaders cards (Sedin's actually a triple now):
In terms of Game Day Action cards, I got another one of Sidney Crosby and a new one of Jamie Benn:
And for the Pure Gold cards, I got a second John Tavares and a first Sean Monahan:

Which brings my set collection to:

As far as the whole collection goes, here's where I'm currently at:

1: Tim Horton
2: Duncan Keith (x2)
3: Roberto Luongo
6: Joe Pavelski
9: Matt Duchene
10: Corey Perry (x2)
11: Anze Kopitar
19: Jonathan Toews
22: Daniel Sedin
23: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
24: Filip Forsberg
26: Blake Wheeler (x2)
27: Alex Galchenyuk
30: Henrik Lundqvist (x2)
31: Carey Price
33: Henrik Sedin
34: Dustin Byfuglien (x2)
36: Cory Schneider
38: Boone Jenner
39: Tuukka Rask
50: Johnny Gaudreau
54: Adam Henrique
57: Rasmus Ristolainen (x2)
65: Erik Karlsson (x3)
66: Marc-André Fleury
67: Max Pacioretty
68: Jaromir Jagr
69: Mike Hoffman
70: Braden Holtby
71: Evgeni Malkin
72: Artemi Panarin
73: Dylan Larkin
80: Sam Reinhart
82: Connor Hellebuyck
83: Ben Bishop
88: Patrick Kane (x2)
90: Evander Kane
92: Evgeny Kuznetsov
94: Jason Spezza (x2)
95: Jordan Eberle
97: Connor McDavid (x2)
CC-5: Dylan Larkin
FF-7: Erik Karlsson
PP-1: Johnny Gaudreau
PP-8: Henrik Lundqvist
PG-3: Sean Monahan
PG-7: Jordan Eberle (x2)
PG-11: John Tavares (x2)
LL-2: Taylor Hall
LL-3: Max Pacioretty
LL-4: Erik Karlsson (x2)
LL-5: Tyler Bozak
LL-6: Henrik Sedin (x3)
GDA-3: Johnny Gaudreau
GDA-5: Jamie Benn
GDA-7: Connor McDavid
GDA-9: Erik Karlsson (x2)
GDA-10: Sidney Crosby (x2)
GDA-13: Ryan Miller
GDA-14: Alex Ovechkin

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Jay Bouwmeester Swatch Card

St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester dressed for his 1000th NHL game tonight, most of which he was an impactful player in. Unfortunately, the Blues lost 5-0 against the New York Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist was phenomenal in netting the shutout.

J-Bo made the news late this summer when he replaced Duncan Keith on Team Canada's World Cup roster, ahead of the likes of Mark Giordano, P.K. Subban and Kristopher Letang; however, the former third-overall draft pick (2002, Florida Panthers) and usual defensive partner of Alex Pietrangelo did fine, winning a fifth title with his national team, which now reads like a Hall Of Famer's checklist: World Championship gold (2003 and 2004), Olympic gold (2014) and World Cup (2004 and 2016). Oh, and World Championship silver (2008), and three World Juniors medals (silver in 2000 and 2001, bronze in 2002).

Sure, he could have been a more physical player and reached elite status and won a Norris trophy like Chris Pronger, but he may not have played in 737 consecutive games had he done so - and may even be permanently concussed like Pronger is instead of playing in his 1000th game.

The only thing he needs now is playoff success; he hadn't played a single postseason game until 2013, and has barely suited up for 38 in total. The main reason for that is he played on disappointing, low-level teams such as the early-00s Panthers and the post-Cup run Calgary Flames.

Speaking of which, here he is wearing the Flames' white (away) uniform, on card #96 from Panini's 2011-12 Titanium set and Game-Worn Gear sub-set:
It features a beautiful black game-worn swatch.