Thursday, December 12, 2019

Bob Boughner: Two Autographed Cards

Yesterday's shock wave resonates again today, as I feature the San Jose Sharks' new interim head coach, former NHL bruising defenseman Bob Boughner. Boughner was already behind the San Jose bench as an assistant-coach for the second time when he was chosen for the impossible task of righting the Sharks' ship.

In my preseason predictions, I had them a point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers as the third and last representative of the weak Pacific Division to make the playoffs only because of the depth of the line-up up-front and the two-headed monster of Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns on defense.

But the goaltending has been an even bigger back-breaker than last year, posting the same pedestrian statistics while the middle of the offensive line-up hasn't been able to generate the scoring they had last year.

Judging from his time coaching the Florida Panthers, I'm not certain Boughner will add more goals for to his team's bottom line, but if he can make them harder to play against in their own end and perhaps give away fewer prime scoring chances, and maybe a few of those 4-3 games can swing the other way.

He's also probably a good coach for the younger guys, as can be attested by his resume in Juniors: twice the OHL's Coach Of The Year, once the entire CHL's Coach Of The year, two consecutive Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires and total domination as Team Canada's head coach at the 2009 U-18 (Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament).

Whether he got that by using old-school tactics to guide his players or he got them there through positive reinforcement remains to be seen, as a few examples of mind games and physical and verbal abuse have come to light of late, but that's also something we have to keep an eye out for nowadays.

What we do have, however, undeniably, is his career as a player. The statistic that stands out the most are his 1382 penalty minutes in 630 games, of course, and only two seasons with more than 10 points. What old-school heads will enjoy is that he was a career +27 despite playing on poor teams, such as the Buffalo Sabres, the expansion Nashville Predators, the turn-of-the-millennium Pittsburgh Penguins, the pre-Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames, the always-disappointing Carolina Hurricanes and the post-Patrick Roy/late-30s Joe Sakic-era Colorado Avalanche.

He also wore the alternate captain's "A" in Pittsburgh and the captain's "C" in Calgary (with Craig Conroy) before Jarome Iginla took the mantle.

He clearly thinks the game well and is respected for his leadership.

I wrote to him nearly a decade ago via the Spitfires - which he still owns in part - and he signed cards (in blue sharpie) that represent him in his better seasons, starting with card #160 from Upper Deck's 1999-2000 Victory set, after a 13-point season with the Preds, wearing the team's white (then-home) uniform:
And here he is during his 17-point seasons, the "A" prominent on the Flames' white (home) uniform, on card #9 from In The Game's 2003-04 In The Game Action set:
H added his uniform number (6) at the end of each signature, which means he's a perfect addition to  my Flames Numbers Project.

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