Saturday, November 9, 2019

Ruslan Fedotenko: Two Autographed Cards

I didn't realize how many autographed cards of Ruslan Fedotenko's until I went in my as-yet-unfeatured cards to try to plan my posts from the next couple of months (while leaving some leeway to "news of the day"-type stories). You'd think he was my favourite player ever or that we shared a birthday. Upon verification, not only do we not, but I'm four months older than he is, and he retired four years ago. I feel old.

Fedotenko had two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers, and between them spent time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. Today, I will focus on the Ukrainian hockey star's time in Tampa, connecting with the Bolts' two wins in Sweden this weekend, a two-game series against the Buffalo Sabres that may have re-launched their season... and sent Buffalo's down the drain.

He was acquired for a first-round pick that became Joni Pitkanen, a serviceable defenseman who played ion over 500 NHL games and suited up for Team Finland internationally, but made the risk worthwhile by leading the team in game-winning goals with 6 in his first season, and then again a year and a half later when he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 7 of the 2004 Final. As a matter of fact, he scored both goals in a 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames - the team I was rooting for to win.

This is what the Lightning's away jerseys looked like at the time, as attested from card #305 from Pacific's 2003-04 Pacific set:
And here is their white jersey from the same period, on card #572 from In The Game's 2003-04 In The Game Action collection:
He signed both in blue sharpie, which to me dates it around 2012 or 2013. He tagged them with his jersey number - 17 - at the end; of note, his preferred number was 26, but Martin St-Louis had first dibs on that one in Tampa.

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