Thursday, September 7, 2017

Mike Ridley Autographed Card

Ealier today, I wrote that I thought the Washington Capitals would finish third in the Metropolitan Division, which leads me to card #320 from Pro Set's 1990-91 Series 1 set:
Once again, I loved this set. A nice, big action picture, huge borders that matched the team's uniform's colours, the player's position and jersey number on the front of the card... this was the height of card sophistication, in my book. Unfortunately, Pro Set made too many error on them, then they made too many of them, all the other manufacturers followed suit, and for a white they worth less than the money you'd get by taking them to a recycling plant, because (yes, kids) there was a time when they paid you to do that.

Still, it's a beauty, and Mike Ridley's black-sharpied signature on it, complete with his uniform number (17) tagged at the end, just adds to it.

Although Ridley was never drafted and spent some time in Tier II Juniors and the Canadian Collegiate system, he made an impact the second he was invited to a New York Rangers training camp, instantly becoming the team's second-line center and contributing 65 points, finishing fourth in Calder voting although he garnered 20 more points than the second-place Wendel Clark; Gary Suter is the one who won the Rookie Of The Year award that year. He followed that with 14 points in 16 playoff games, and a Stanley Cup Final may have been in the cards had it not been for Patrick Roy's heroics single-handedly winning the Montréal Canadiens the Cup.

Midway through his sophomore season, the Rangers sent him to the Washington Capitals, where he would shine for seven and a half years, accumulating 547 points in 588 games, including a 41-goal season in 1988-89.

He followed that up with a short tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where head coach Pat Burns didn't like smooth and skilled players, preferring brawn, and he was promptly shipped to the Vancouver Canucks for rugged veteran Sergio Momesso. It was Ridley who scored the Canucks' first goal at General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena).

Although his time in Vancouver was synonymous with herniated disks and back pain, he still managed to put 26 goals, 47 assists and 73 points on the scorecard in 112 games with the team, and 4 more points in 4 games with their AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose when giving it a final go in 1997-98.

Throughout his career, he garnered Selke and Lady Byng votes, proving his two-way gentlemanly play was respected by everyone in the game.

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