Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Marc Denis: Two Autographed Cards

One thing we know about the Columbus Blue Jackets is that they're really good, extremely balanced, and deep at almost every position. We can add that they have a shrewd GM in Jarmo Kekalainen who is as good at signing reasonable contracts with his RFAs as he is good at winning trades, and that's without mentioning that as head scout for the Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues, he had the best eye for talent in the league, as he was responsible for the drafting of such stars and sleeper picks as Marian Hossa, Ray Emery, Martin Havlat, Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, David Perron and David Backes. I predict the Jackets will finish second in the Metropolitan Division this year and should, legitimately, be looked at to win their first playoff series in team history.

Another hockey expert I like to link to the Blue Jackets is their former #1 goalie Marc Denis, who is now the hockey analyst for TV station RDS. In my opinion, he's the best in the business. Sure, he has to say that every Carey Price save is a work of art because his network happens to own part of the Montréal Canadiens, but he is also always insightful, particularly when it comes to the tactical side of the game, as well as defensive positioning and goaltending. It helps that he was the goalie coach for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens at the turn of the decade.

Stylistically, like every Quebecer in his (and my) age range, he was a pure butterfly stopper, emulating Patrick Roy. The initial King of Butterfly Saves, Hall Of Famer Tony Esposito, once said of Denis: "(He) has one of the brightest futures in the game. He has shown the ability to dominate a contest." The year after that quote, Denis appeared in 77 games for the Jackets, setting an NHL record for most minutes played with 4511.

He signed two cards (in black sharpie) from his days in Columbus for me last season, both showing him wearing their then-home white uniform; first, here is card #33 from Upper Deck's 2000-01 Heroes set, showing him receiving shots during a pre-game warmup:
And finally, here is card #68 from UD's 2000-01 Ice set, an amazing see-through plastic card that this scan does not do justice to:
Of course, the back has the reverse of that picture to go with statistics; notice how the signature doesn't penetrate his body:
Year in and year out, Ice and Artifacts are the best-looking and most spectacular cards on the market. I have had this card for years, and I still get happy just looking at it - the autograph just adds to my pleasure.

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