Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Tomas Plekanec Autographed Card

Tomas Plekanec, one of the players I respected the most during his playing days, has lived through his share of bittersweet - mostly bitter - moments in 2018.

First, he was traded to forever rivals Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline last year, then re-signed by the Montréal Canadiens - playing his 1000th NHL game at home at the Bell Centre - only to see his contract be annulled/bought out a month into the season.

"Pleky" had always been a leader with the team, taking his licks more often than deserved, whether it be waiting his turn behind Chris Higgins, Michael Ryder and many others to get a chance to make his mark offensively, to constantly being asked to carry struggling wingers back to productive times to being passed over twice for the captaincy (while carrying the title for the Czech Republic internationally, usually on teams that included Jaromir Jagr), then suffering the insult of being a healthy scratch to start the year.

He had immersed himself in Montréal so well that despite his wife (Lucie Plekancová Vondráčková) being a superstar singer and actress in the Europe, their two children's first language was French.

He twice led the Habs in scoring, both times so much ahead of everyone else, it was ridiculous:
2009-10, via HockeyDB
2010-11, via HockeyDB

And most of the time, he was also far ahead in plus/minuses as well, despite always playing against the opposition's top lines and starting in the defensive zone, even in his rookie season:
via HockeyReference
Honestly, objectively, he should have retired with at least one Selke Trophy, despite his career overlapping the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews.

It's not over yet, either, as he signed on to play with Jagr for Rytiri Kladno but accepted a loan to Champions League team HC Kometa Brno when it was clear Jagr was injured long-term.

He knew he was one of my favourite players and many times sent me unrequested autographed cards, such as this 2008-09 Series 1 card (#96 in the set, signed in blue sharpie) by Upper Deck:
I'm fairly certain I'd have even more of those if I didn't move every other year like the average Montrealer.

Hats off, Mr. Plekanec, and congratulations on a solid NHL career. 2018 wasn't easy for you, but you handled it with class, once again setting an example for the rest of us to follow. You will be missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment