Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Mike McKenna Autographed Card

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the New Jersey Devils would finish tied for fourth/fifth in the Metropolitan Division in 2019-20).

Granted, I do not have many Devils-themed collectibles, and I didn't want to feature a retired player who just spent a single season with them (well... a retired star player, anyway), but I did manage to find one player worth talking about, the journeyman of journeymen goaltenders, Mike McKenna.

You might recall McKenna if the 15 NHL organizations he passed through was the one you cheered for, of if you followed the ECHL after the season-long 2004-05 lockout, or if you read his wife's tweets explaining the hardships that come with being traded and/or claimed on waivers many times per season, or his bittersweet - mostly sweet - retirement announcement this summer.

He's played in Springfield (IL), Las Vegas, Norfolk, (Vegas again), Milwaukee, Omaha, Portland (ME), (Norfolk again), Tampa Bay, Lowell, Albany, New Jersey, Binghamton, Peoria, Springfield (MA), Columbus, (Portland again), Arizona (Portland again), (Springfield MA again), Syracuse, Texas (Austin), Dallas, Belleville, Ottawa, sat on the bench in Vancouver, was assigned to but didn't play in Utica, played in Philadelphia, and Lehigh Valley.

That last stretch was pretty insane: three different organizations in four days, six teams in the same week, when the Ottawa Senators re-assigned him to the Belleville Baby Sens, traded him to the Vancouver Canucks, who assigned him after two games backing up Jacob Markstrom to the Utica Comets, only to have the Philadelphia Flyers snatch him on waivers, have him play a game, then send him down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

It was during his time in Ottawa that he signed card #51 from Panini's 2010-11 All Goalies set in blue sharpie, tagging his jersey number with the Devils (40) at the end:
That was one of his finest masks; in Philly, not taking any chances, he ust had an all-black one. In case.

I respect McKenna a lot. I believe had I continued playing after getting traded from Laval to Halifax in Juniors, I would have had the same kind of trajectory, probably without the ECHL and AHL All-Star titles he has, though.

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