Thursday, August 13, 2020

Kirk Muller: Two Autographed Cards

Montréal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien was admitted to the hospital for chest pains last night and will miss the remainder of the first round against the Philadelphia Flyers; associate coach Kirk Muller will officially take over in the interim, but in reality he and assistant-coaches Domninic Ducharme and Luke Richardson will each take on some of Julien's duties.

Muller has won the Stanley Cup as a player with the Canadiens, in 1993. In those playoffs, head coach Jacques Demers also missed time after going to the hospital with chest pains (he actually suffered a heart attack); Demers' replacement was Jacques Lemaire, also a former Cup winner with Montréal.

The player who scored the 1993 Cup-winning goal on the Los Angeles Kings' Kelly Hrudey was... Muller.

Having served as the New Jersey Devils' captain before getting traded to Montréal, Captain Kirk also served in that capacity with the Habs during the 1994-95 season, despite that role usually falling to a French-speaker; he'll now assume a role - interim head coach - that also usually goes to members of the clan who invented poutine. If the team wins the Cup this season, he'll forever be in contention for the sought-after position that gets more media coverage than both the Canadian and Québec Premiers, despite his linguistic limitations.

Here he is wearing the team,s white (then-home) uniform, on card #614 from Score's 1991-92 Bilingual Canadian Edition High Numbers (Series 2) set, featuring rookies and players who were traded between when the first series was printed and late January, right before the trade deadline:
And here he is wearing the Habs' retro uniform with the team's logo on the right arm where modern jersey numbers can be found, for the NHL's 75 anniversary (the commemorative patch is visible on his chest):
That's card #3 from Score's 1991-92 Pinnacle set, a crudely designed collection with the advantage of featuring many pictures: two on the front (a headshot and an action pic), but also a different one on the back, in the team's current red (then-away) uniform, with Muller's #11 clearly visible on the arm:
That's a perk a card nerd like myself can get behind that makes it worth the extra costs of a "premium" set like Pinnacle was... when "premium" meant $4 a pack instead of 79 cents, way off from the $100 for 3-6 cards we have nowadays.

I had tried to write Muller a couple of times without replies when I bumped into him after a Habs game and he signed these for me in blue sharpie, with his #11 tagged at the end.

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