Saturday, February 25, 2017

Nikolai Khabibulin Autograph Card

(team and product links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)

The Phoenix Coyotes are no more, and perhaps soon neither will the Arizona Coyotes...

Honestly, that saga has been a shit show for the better part of a decade now, and it's time to put it to rest. To help put the final nail in its coffin, I've decided to make a list of the best players at each position for the franchise.

On defense, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Teppo Numminen are pretty much no-brainers. At forward, Jeremy Roenick is the clear choice at center, and Shane Doan is the obvious captain and right winger. I'd want to add Keith Tkachuk at left wing - the position he's played most in the NHL - but the team records have him listed as a center... He's a winger. Done.

Keith Yandle could have also made the cut on defense.

In nets, there is only one choice: Nikolai Khabibulin.

The Hall Of Fame is much stricter for goalies, with many of the deserving ones only getting in decades after they should have been (Rogatien Vachon), while forwards (Eric Lindros, Mats Sundin) and defensemen (Larry Murphy) get in as semi-stars.

Khabibulin may not have had the most consistent career, with three seasons with save percentages below .900 and four with a GAA above 3.00, but he has a Stanley Cup on his resume that the Tampa Bay Lightning would not have won without him, particularly in the Final against the Calgary Flames. He also has two Olympic medals (gold in 1992, bronze in 2002) and was named the tournament's top goalie in 2002; he also won gold at the 1992 World Juniors.

He has appeared in four All-Star Games, twice representing the Yotes and twice as well for the Bolts. He was also the IHL MVP in 1999-2000. He even somewhat revived his career with the Edmonton Oilers after his stint with the Chicago Blackhawks didn't end on the best note.

My rules for Greatness being stricter then the Hall's, he wouldn't make the cut in my book; but any organization that includes Murphy and Mike Gartner definitely should have room for the likes of Khabibulin and José Theodore.

Here he is wearing the Coyotes' "peyote" white (home) uniform, on the gold variant of the signed insert version of card #108 from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set:
He signed it in thin black sharpie. That may have been my favourite uniform of theirs, with the current one a distant second.

No comments:

Post a Comment