Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mathieu Garon Autographed Card

The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a bit of a roll, one that has them fighting the Washington Capitals not just for top spot in the Metropolitan Division but also the entire NHL, which would give the defending Stanley Cup champions home ice advantage for the entire playoffs.

GM Jim Rutherford also decided to keep Marc-André Fleury as a backup to Matt Murray at the trade deadline, which gives the Pens one of just two tandems league-wide consisting of a pair of #1 goalies, joining the Los Angeles Kings (with Ben Bishop and Jonathan Quick) in that regard.

One goalie who has played with both of these contenders is Mathieu Garon, who has also played with other teams currently atop the league standings, such as the Montréal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets. He did win the Cup with Pittsburgh, however.

He retired after a bizarre season with the Omsk Avangard of the KHL, one during which he played for a full week with a stick made for the wrong hand, because Reebok (his sponsor brand) doesn't deliver to Russia and a trip to Latvia was already in the books for the team.

Nowadays, he lives in Tampa, works for the Bolts and gives kids goaltending lessons on the side. Although he was only a #1 for two seasons, he is quite possibly the best goalie from the 1996 NHL draft, slightly ahead of Robert Esche.

He signed this card for me in blue sharpie when he was with the Bolts, so I would say around 2011-12:
It's the foil insert version of card #185 from Upper Deck's 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee set, showing him wearing the Pens' alternate light blue "retro" jersey.

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