Monday, November 13, 2017

Shawn McEachern Autograph card

Shawn McEachern had an interesting career, twice scoring over 30 goals per season (31 in 1998-99 and 32 in 2000-01), twice coming close (28 goals in 1992-93 and 29 in 1999-2000), and suiting up for two stints each with the Pittsburgh Penguins (the team that drafted him 110th overall in 1987) and his hometown Boston Bruins.

His history with the Pens alone is worth looking into, as it took him four years to join the team after being drafted, playing with the Boston College Terriers for three years then Team USA at the 1992 Olympics (a fourth-place finish in Albertville), but after he scored his 28 goals, Pittsburgh sent him to the Los Angeles Kings for Marty McSorley in August 1994, only to trade back for him the following February, with Tomas Sandstrom, in exchange for... McSorley and Jim Paek.

That being said, as a Montrealer who was looking for other options to satisfy my hockey cravings other than via the Montréal Canadiens, it's his six seasons with the Ottawa Senators that defines the speedster for me: 142 goals, 162 assists and 304 points in 454 games right in the Dead Puck Era, on a team that would regularly finish with over 100 points per season (before the loser points came into effect).

The turn-of-the-millennium Sens were serious contenders, flying high with their skill during the season, but usually falling flat come playoff time, when the bullying Toronto Maple Leafs would just play dirty and knock them out, in more ways than one.

McEachern represented that team extremely well and was an accurate reflection of it: quick, opportune, and mostly getting the job done by giving his best effort. But something was missing - that finishing touch. As quick as McEachern was, as many goals as he's scored - 256 in the NHL, all told - his signature play was taking the puck in the neutral zone and zoom past a defender with a clear path to the goalie, sometimes on a two-on-one, as most of the team was made up of equally-fast and skilled players with good offensive instincts; except it didn't matter, because McEachern was going too fast for his own puck control ability, and he'd get tunnel vision, not seeing his teammate, not seeing any other move than to shoot right at the goalie. Sometimes it'd go in, and sometimes a rebound would go to a teammate, but the deeper in the postseason it got, the more the opposing goalies would just pull it in, stop play and erase the menace.

He was like the 1990s' Russ Courtnall that way, and where Courtnall was a member of Team Canada's 1991 Canada Cup victory, McEachern was on the American squad that won the inaugural 1996 World Cup.

And now he'll be immortalized as #15 in my Sens Numbers Project, with the silver signed insert version of card #248 from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set:
It shows him wearing the Sens' best-looking, original garbs, sporting the alternate captain's "A".

No comments:

Post a Comment