Saturday, October 12, 2019

Doug Wilson: Two Autographed Cards

Doug Wilson was one of the better defensemen of the 1980s, winning the Norris Trophy for the 1981-82 season in the era of Denis Potvin, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Larry Robinson, Rod Langway, Borje Salming and Mark Howe, and earning top-five votes until 1989-90 in the era of Bourque, Al MacInnis, Coffey, Phil Housley, Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios and Al Iafrate.

And yet, no Hall of Fame nod on his resume so far, and no Stanley Cup.

Both may change eventually, as he's a better HoF candidate than many recent additions (Eric Lindros in general, Larry Murphy in particular at the same position), and he has been one of the NHL's best General Managers for the past 10-15 years, keeping the San Jose Sharks into contention year in and year out, rotating veterans out and bringing new blood in, usually all on affordable contracts that fit well under the cap.

And yet, this season seems like he's suddenly realizing Peter DeBoer doesn't have what it takes o coach this team over the hump and all of his moves seem panic-based, from re-signing Erik Karlsson to a maximum-term deal near the maximum salary (on a team that was already dangerously close to the cap if it wanted to keep everyone) to specifically saying he wouldn't sign former captain/current free agent and career leader in most offensive categories Patrick Marleau on September 4th to, well, signing him on October 8th when the team was 0-4 to start the season.

He could have easily saved face and said nothing in September, or even just take a "let's wait and see" approach. As someone who really doesn't like the team in teal, I was glad this blew up in their face, I'm just sad that it comes at the expense of a player I respected in his time - and the team's very first captain, to boot, which is ironic considering the Sharks' captain history since Wilson's been in the GM chair:
2003-04: Mike Ricci
2005-09: Marleau
2009-10: Rob Blake, playing on a one-year deal (Marleau still on the team)
2010-14: Joe Thornton (Marleau still on the team)
2015-19: Joe Pavelski (Thornton still on the team, Marleau leaves as UFA in 2017-18)
2019-20: Logan Couture (Thornton still on the team, Marleau back) 
It's like he gives his coaches too much leeway - or doesn't give the title the decorum it deserves.

Here he is the way most fans my age will always remember him, wearing the Chicago Blackhawks' classic red (then-away) uniform, on card #52 from Pro Set's 1991-92 Series 1 set:
And here he is wearing the Sharks' best white (then-home) uniform, their first, on card #551 from Score's 1991-92 Series 2 (High Numbers) collection:
He signed both in blue sharpie last year.

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