Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Dave Poulin Autographed Card

It feels like I haven't featured a player from the Philadelphia Flyers in a long time, so why not go big and feature a former captain who took his team to the 1985 and 1987 Stanley Cup Finals and 1989 Prince-Of-Wales Conference Final, Dave Poulin?

Poulin hails from Timmins, in Northeastern Ontario, a bilingual town not far from the province of Québec not too far from the  mining town Rouyn-Noranda. It's the birthplace of many international artists - notably Shania Twain, Maurice LaMarche, and Lights - as well as athletes "Baz" Bastien, Bill Barilko, Les Costello, Hall Of Famer Murray Costello, Shean Donovan, Réal Chevrefils, Rick Lessard, Frank Mahovlich, Pete Mahovlich, Jim Mair, "Doc" Prentice, Steve Shields, Steve Sullivan, Eric Vail, Walter Tkaczuk, and Olympic gold medalist Kathy Kreiner.

From there he spent four seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and upon not being drafted by an NHL team took off to Sweden to play for Rögle BK. Their head coach Ted Sater being a scout for the Flyers, he insisted they offer him a contract, and after being called up from the AHL's Maine Mariners (where he had 16 points in 16 games), he scored two goals in a 6-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which cemented his place on the NHL roster.

He spent his rookie season on the team's first line alongside Tim Kerr and Brian Propp, finishing with 76 points in 73 games, finishing fourth in the Calder Trophy race for rookie of the year behind winner Tom Barrasso (also the Vezina winner), Steve Yzerman (87 points) and Sylvain Turgeon (40 goals).

By his second full season in 1984-85, he was named team captain, due to the fact that he was already 26 at the time and already a strong two-way player who gave maximum effort. When Paul Holmgren took over from Mike Keenan as head coach, Poulin's responsibilities shifted from producing points to shutting down opponents, which is why he went from a point-per-game player to a 35-point man in just one year.

GM Bobby Clarke then dealt him to the Boston Bruins, where he was reunited with Propp to help lead the team to the Cup Final in 1990; it would be his third Finals defeat at the hands of the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers.

After three more years in Boston (which came with a King Clancy Award) came two with the Washington Capitals, then he was off to coach Notre Dame into relevance, before accepting a VP role with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the request of Brian Burke.

Because none of the last nine words of the previous paragraph ever work out, he ended up losing that job in 2014 and has since been an analyst for TSN - a much more respected career path.

It was while at the employ of TSN in 2016 or 2017 that he signed this card for me in black sharpie:
That's card #100 from O-Pee-Chee's 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee set, showing him watching the puck against the New Jersey Devils, captain's "C" prominent, with a perfect view of the Flyers' classic 1980s orange (away) uniform. This reminds me of my childhood so much I can practically taste the cherry-flavoured 7up.

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