Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Zach Fucale Autographed Team Canada Card

For the 16th time, Team Canada has won the Spengler Cup, now in its 93rd iteration. Originally created in 1923 by Dr. Carl Spengler as a means to promote teams from German-speaking countries in the aftermath of World War I, it is hosted each year by the HC Davos team, who have won it 15 times themselves and ended as runner-up another 25 times, by far the most of any participating club.

This year's Canadian team was a little too strong for its competitors, however, as GM Sean Burke, assistant-HM Shane Doan, head coach Craig MacTavish and assistant-coach Paul Coffey put together a roster comprised of former NHLers Kris Versteeg, Zach Boychuk, David Desharnais, Paul Postma, Josh Jooris, Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Fehr, Scottie Upshall, Daniel Winnik, Ben Maxwell,Chris DiDomenico, Alex Grant, Patrick Wiercioch and Andrew MacDonald, AHLers Adam Tambellini, Justin Danforth (alternate captain and point-per-game player on his current Finnish team), Blair Riley, (former LHJMQ captain) Éric Faille, Kevin Clark, squad captain Maxim Noreau and Nick Ross, NCAA alumni Dion Knelsen, Ian Mitchell and former ECHLer Mathew Maione.

They faced off against teams that had at most one or two former NHLers, including runner-up HC Oceláři Třinec (4th in the Czech Extraliga), hosts HC Davos (4th in Swiss National League standings), HC TPS Turku (11th in Finnish League standings), Salavat Yulaev Ufa (6th in their Conference in the KHL) and HC Ambrì-Piotta (10th in Switzerland).

It's no wonder the tournament's All-Star Team was comprised of three members of the winning team as well as Matt D'Agostini, the Canadian star forward of Ambri-Piotta, but it was a surprise that the team's biggest star ended up being - for the second straight year and third time in four years - goalie Zach Fucale, who signed an AHL deal with the Syracuse Crunch last summer and has spent moft of the season keeping the Orlando Solar Bears afloat in the ECHL - he has an 8-8-2 record and 2.60 GAA, but his 4 shutouts and .920 save percentage give a pretty clear idea of how much they need him. He's top-3 in save percentage and top-10 in goals-against average.

He had originally been drafted by his hometown Montréal Canadiens in the second round (36th overall) in 2013, but with Carey Price firmly in place but mostly struggling to save face for the 2014-15 season, the team didn't give the youngster the necessary attention to have him progress to an NHL-level netminder, so the Vegas Golden Knights were able to pry him away from the organization in 2018.

He allowed only a single goal in three total starts, including shutouts in the semi-final and the final, showing once more he loves the pressure of "money" games. He had also won a title in 2016 on the strength of a 4-0-0 record in four games with a 2.00 goals-against average and a save percentage of .934. Last season, he appeared in four games and riding a 3-0-1 record to a second-place finish, with a 1.47 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in the tournament, stopping 80 of 86 shots. He is now 10-0-1 in three appearances at the Spengler Cup.

He had also backstopped the Canadian team at the 2015 World Juniors, helping his country win its first gold medal in five years when he went 5-0-0 in five appearances with two shutouts, a 1.20 GAA and a .939 save percentage. The team had finished fourth the previous year, which is where card #139 from Upper Deck's 2014-15 Team Canada Juniors comes in:
It shows him wearing Team Canada's red (away) uniform with the Hockey Canada logo in front, which is technically barred from Olympic status because it represents a National Federation, and not a country. Zachary signed it in blue sharpie, adding #33 at the end instead of the #31 he's wearing int he picture, which makes me think he signed it while in the minors in the Habs' organization, so I want to say between 2016 and 2018.

I want to wish him continued success.

No comments:

Post a Comment