Friday, January 6, 2017

Mariusz Czerkawski Jersey Card

If you didn't know anything about hockey and read about Mariusz Czerkawski's career on Wikipedia or something of that ilk 100 years from now, you'd think he was Brett Hull.

We're talking about the first Polish player to play in the NHL, a guy who, when playing for his national team, accumulated 39 points (27 goals, 12 assists) in 25 Juniors-level games and 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in in 36 mens' teams games, despite often being the only NHLer on the roster, more often than not playing against teams made up entirely of stars and semi-stars. He was doing it by himself.

And if, again, you didn't know anything about hockey and read up on the NHL, some teams would would appear as more important than the others, namely the Original Six, and perhaps the 1980s dynasties Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders. Well, Czerkawski played for both the Oil and the Isles, as well as three Original Six teams: the Montréal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. If you didn't have the context that we do - how they all sucked at the end of the 1990s and early 00s - you'd think he may be the link, the one common thread, between great and historical teams.

And he had two 30-goal seasons, and two more over the 25 mark - in the Dead Puck Era. Heck, his All-Star game participation, in the midst of a 70-point season, was probably fully warranted, seeing as he led the Isles with nearly 30 points more than the team's second-best scorer and the fact that the goalie they used the most that year was Kevin Weekes, with 32 games played (Roberto Luongo followed with 24, and Félix Potvin appeared in 22; Luongo had the best save percentage of them all at .904).

Those of us who followed the latter stages of his career, however, feel he fizzled greatly at the end, putting a damper on a relatively fine career, not unlike Sergei Berezin or Sergei Samsonov.

Here is a card showing him wearing the Habs' white (then-home) uniform, which is #14 of Pacific's 2003-04 Exclusive collection and Authentic Game-Worn Jerseys sub-set:
The back is even super-specific as to where the blue game-worn jersey swatch is from:
It's from his days with the Isles, with a matching picture on the back! That's what I call attention to detail!

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